JBG had planned to build condominiums at 14th and S streets Northwest in the District. On Tuesday, the company announced that it would instead rent the units as apartments. (Jeffrey MacMillan/For Capital Business)

If there was enough appetite for new condos, particularly units averaging only 685 square feet, maybe Washington really was recession proof. As one of the only major condo projects announced after the economic collapse, the JBG-Grosvenor development was considered a canary in the proverbial coal mine.

Well, the canary didn’t fare so well.

Tuesday JBG announced that it would rent the units as apartments and rename the project “The District,” after marketing it for more than a year as “District Condos,” following a flashy outdoor groundbreaking ceremony last October featuring local politicians. The marketing team filmed a series of videos touting local retailers nearby, including Room & Board, Whole Foods Market and the Black Cat

JBG never sold any units or even opened a sales office for the project. The company released a statement from Kai Reynolds, a principal with JBG, saying it “received a substantial amount of interest in the condominium project, but the strong fundamentals of the rental market and our confidence in the opportunity to deliver an exceptional boutique apartment building ultimately swayed our decision to deliver the project as an apartment.”

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