Already eyeing a retail project next door and with its sights aimed at winning the Diamond District development deal across the street, a prolific local real estate firm has a sizable mixed-use building in store just off Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
Thalhimer Realty Partners is planning a seven-story building with 148 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space at 1801 Ellen Road.
The building would occupy the majority of a 1.23-acre parcel that TRP bought earlier this year for $2 million. Scott’s Walk, a planned retail and restaurant project also from TRP, is set to rise immediately adjacent to it at 3002 and 3064 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd.
The Ellen Road building would add to the tally of thousands of new apartments in the works for Scott’s Addition and would be among the first new developments in the neighborhood in recent years to include medical office space, with 12,000 square feet set aside for such a use.
TRP principal Jason Guillot said they simply feel the area needs it.
“There is obviously a ton of residential coming online and thankfully we have plenty of breweries, restaurants and coffee shops,” Guillot said. “But if you look around the neighborhood and ask, ‘Where are the basic medical services that people need?’ it’s kind of nonexistent, and it’s for good reason. All of these people weren’t living here 10 years ago. We believe there’s a need to expand accessibility to health care in a burgeoning neighborhood like this one.”
Five levels of apartments would be above the medical office space and a two-floor, 168-spot parking deck. Half of the 148 apartments would have a study area, a design decision TRP also made for its ongoing 126-unit project at 1508 Belleville St. Guillot said the idea is to cater to tenants who work from home.
“We think the market is becoming saturated with small one-bedroom units, and the way to differentiate our properties from those built during the pre-pandemic era is to fully embrace (work-from-home) and give people the space they need,” he said.
“If we can offer people an alternative to the one or two-bedroom, and price our rents in between those two traditional options, we’re giving people more flexibility in how they choose to live and work. Just like employers are learning to adapt to a flexible workplace, housing should do the same.”
Of the 148 units, 119 would be one-bedroom units and the remaining 29 units would be two-bedrooms. 510 Architects is designing the 1801 Ellen Road project and Sekiv Solutions is the engineer.
Guillot said that city code allows buildings to be up to five stories tall with a wood frame, which would be the case on Ellen Road as the lower two levels are planned to be concrete. In recent years the cost of lumber has shot up, pushing some developers to opt for taller buildings made of other materials, but Guillot said the market is shifting.
“If it’s out of concrete or steel, you can go as high as you want, but your cost-per-unit is much higher,” he said. “Lumber’s come back down in the last six months, especially in the last 60 days. A wood-frame building, if you’re focused on cost, is still the most effective.”
Just down Arthur Ashe Boulevard to the south, TRP recently kicked off work on Novel Scott’s Addition, another seven-story mixed-use project with 272 apartments. That site also sits across from The Diamond, which is the focus of the largest of TRP’s ambitions.
The firm is one of three finalists in the city’s 67-acre Diamond District redevelopment project. TRP’s team also includes D.C.-based Republic Properties Corp., whose work includes the Washington Harbour.