A lawyer representing the developers of the proposed Far East Trade Center -- a multimillion-dollar complex planned for the east side of Seventh Street NW between G and H streets -- has assured the city and nearby property owners that the project will not leave "a huge, unfilled hole" in the middle of downtown.
The developers of the $116 million complex, which would include a hotel and retail, office, arts and cultural space, are seeking to close a public alley, bounded by Sixth, Seventh, G and H streets NW. Yesterday, the D.C. City Council's Public Works Committee recommended in a report that the council close the alley. The council, meeting as a committee of the whole, placed the request on the agenda for next week's legislative meeting.
Concerned that closing the alley might leave them without access to the rear of their buildings, some property owners near the site of the proposed trade center questioned whether the developers, North Gallery Place Associates (NGPA), would be in a financial position to complete the project.
In a letter included in the council committee's report, Timothy M. Mahoney, a lawyer with Linowes & Blocher, said that the developers would be able to complete the project. "Let me assure you that NGPA will be in a secure financial posture, with complete construction and permanent financing and substantial preleasing commitments prior to beginning excavation of the property," Mahoney wrote.
Mahoney also noted that the developers would be required to provide assurances in the form of performance bonds, which would ensure that the project be completed as scheduled or the site would be returned to its orginal condition. Mahoney said that the city would also require a performance bond because it is concerned about any impact the project might have on public facilities in the area.
In other action, the City Council added to its agenda for next week a proposed street closing requested by the developers of Techworld, a project that would cover almost two city blocks adjacent to the Washington Convention Center and include a trade center for high-technology industry, a 950-room convention hotel and underground parking.
International Developers Inc., the developers of Techworld, have requested the closing of Eighth Street NW, between I and K streets. The council's public works committee recommended that the street be closed.
The committee's report pointed out that the proposed street closing would benefit the city because the Techworld project would provide 330 construction jobs and 1,300 jobs when the project is completed.