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Ground Has Broken at Reservation 13, But There Will be No Groundbreaking

by Nena Perry-Brown

Ground Has Broken at Reservation 13, But There Will be No Groundbreaking: Figure 1
A rendering of the planned F1 and G1 buildings at Reservation 13. Click to enlarge.

Last fall, residents of Hill East, River Terrace and other adjacent neighborhoods collectively furrowed their brows in confusion after hearing that the city had pitched the Reservation 13 development to Amazon as a second headquarters location. Now, work has begun on the project, albeit much more quietly than projects of similar size have experienced as of late.

On Monday night, the president and vice president of Donatelli Development, the firm spearheading the Reservation 13 redevelopment, held a public question-and-answer session about the status of the pair of mixed-use residential buildings slated for parcels G1 and F1. The Q&A happened about an hour after the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development cancelled the groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for the site next week.

As planned, buildings G1 and F1 will deliver a respective 262 and 91 rental apartments above an approximate 12,000 and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail to the swath of land along 19th Street SE. Of the site, adjacent to the Stadium-Armory Metro station and DC Jail (map), only a small portion of the F1 parcel could be considered as part of the pitched potential Amazon campus.

The question of Amazon was at times an elephant in the room on Monday night, leading one attendee to ask whether Donatelli had offered its own incentives to Amazon to entice the company to choose DC; president Chris Donatelli assured the crowd that they did no such thing. 

Less clear, however, were the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the groundbreaking, the news of which seemed to come as a surprise to the Donatelli representatives.

"Are they going to reschedule it?" Chris asked after being told of the cancellation. "As far as I knew, that was still the date."

"Our primary focus is to minimize disruptions for the residents, clients and visitors for DC General, the DC Jail, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program and the Harriet Tubman women's facility," DMPED said in a statement. "Therefore, we decided against a groundbreaking event which could add to the disruptions."

Either way, Donatelli said that infrastructural work had already begun on the larger G1 building, with excavation expected to begin in the coming weeks. All building permits have been secured and G1 could begin delivering as early as late-2019. About one year into construction of the G1 building, construction is expected to begin on the F1 building, putting delivery of the entire project 2.5 to 3.5 years away.

Single-block extensions of Bay, Burke and C Streets SE and Massachusetts Avenue SE will also be administered by the District Department of Transportation concurrent to the building construction, with expectations that the street work could begin as early as June.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ground-has-broken-but-no-groundbreaking-for-reservation-13/13884

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