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Office to Residential: Zoning Modification Could Bring 600 More Apartments to Southwest DC

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Early rendering of new plans for Waterfront Station.

The Waterfront Station development along 4th and M Streets SW has been a centerpiece of the revitalization of the neighborhood surrounding Waterfront-SEU Metro Station. However, the final phase of the development, two office buildings at 375 and 425 M Street SW (map), may not be office at all.

On Monday night, Forest City Washington shared with ANC 6D that, in two weeks, the developer will file two concurrent applications with the Zoning Commission: one to extend the planned-unit developments (PUD) for both sites, and another to request a use modification that will deliver mixed-use apartment buildings instead of office buildings at the site. The modification could result in the construction of upwards of 600 apartments.

The developers are seeking to convert the use because of an inability to obtain financing for the buildings as offices. The buildings would need to be 60 percent pre-leased to be viable for financing; as of now, no pre-lease contracts have been signed.

Preliminary designs for the modified buildings would construct apartments atop a cumulative total of 35,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 35,000 square feet of “neighborhood-serving” office space on the ground- and second floors of the two buildings. Both buildings will also have communal courtyards on the second and fourth floors; public plazas will abut both buildings along 4th Street.

Because the presentation was only to seek support for a PUD extension, the ANC 6D voted unanimously to support the extension and to request that the commission consider the extension prior to considering the modification.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/forest_city_plans_on_applying_to_change_two_buildings_at_waterfront_station/12200

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