South by West

Developers plan to repurpose the former headquarters of the US Coast Guard into a mixed-use development with residential and retail called River Point. Rendering: 2100 2nd Street SW LLC

Development Plans Submitted for River Point

Several months after it was announced that the former Coast Guard headquarters building was purchased and the buyers were planning to repurpose it as a mixed-use residential and retail project called River Point, plans have been submitted by the development team to the Zoning Commission for approval under the Capital Gateway Overlay District. The project is located between the James Creek and Buzzard Point marinas at 2100 Second Street SW on Buzzard Point, about two blocks south of Audi Field.

According to the submission, the monolithic exterior will be broken up with the addition of cutouts along the V Street, First Street, and Anacostia riverfront sides of the building. A series of courtyards will be located on the third floor, including seating areas, a yoga deck, fire pit, movie screen, lawn, kitchen, and dining room. The rooftop will include a pool and pool terrace. Residential entrances will be on First and Second streets. There will be a total of 485 rental apartment units with a mix of studio, junior one-bedroom, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units, with and without dens. Due to its location adjacent to the Anacostia River, the ground floor and adjacent streets will be raised above the 100-year floodplain.

About 70,400 square feet of ground-floor retail is planned on all sides of the building. Restaurants will generally be located on the riverfront side while neighborhood-serving retail will be located on V Street. Outdoor seating would be accommodated on the riverfront and First Street sides. Retail uses being targeted include restaurants, a cafe, a pharmacy, and a grocery store.

The Anacostia Riverwalk will run along the south side of the building, connecting to Buzzard Point Park to the east and the Second Street cycle track to the west. A boardwalk, programable barges, fixed piers, a shell deck, public art, and a floating garden are planned for the area to the south of the riverfront trail.

Other Buzzard Point Development Projects

River Point is one of many projects planned in Buzzard Point. Another adaptive reuse project near River Point is 1900 Half Street SW, an office building that Douglas Development plans to convert later this year into rental apartments and ground-floor retail space. Meanwhile, Capital City Real Estate will soon build the Peninsula 88 condos across First Street from River Point. Other developers own sites in the area that are not as far along in the development process, including Akridge and MRP Realty.

The National Park Service closed the Buzzard Point Marina over a year ago and is in the planning stages of transforming the space into a public park. Pepco is building a new substation to handle the power needs for the new development coming to Southwest and the Capitol Riverfront. However, the largest project underway on Buzzard Point is Audi Field, a 19,000-seat soccer stadium for DC United. Audi Field broke ground in late February and is scheduled to deliver during the 2018 Major League Soccer season, perhaps in June.

Cotton Annex Sold

The auction of the Cotton Annex building at 300 12th St. SW by the General Services Administration (GSA) was completed in February. The winning bidder is Douglas Development with a bid of $30.3 million.

Douglas Development’s other holdings in Southwest include a set of one-story retail buildings on the 1200 block of South Capitol Street and a large office building at 1900 Half Street on Buzzard Point, the latter of which will be redeveloped as a 462-unit rental apartment building with ground-floor retail. Elsewhere in the city, the company has specialized in redeveloping historic structures or incorporating them into new development, including commercial buildings near the Verizon Center in Chinatown (now retail and office space), the Hecht warehouse in Ivy City (now apartments), and the Uline Arena in NoMa (now a flagship REI store and offices).

Quick Cotton Annex Timeline

The Cotton Annex is a six-story building constructed in 1937 for use by the US Department of Agriculture and sits on a 1.41-acre site. It is an 118,000 square-foot building with a large parking lot on the east side. The parking lot behind the building has most recently been used by the Federal Protective Service to inspect packages and trucks that visit the Ronald Reagan Building International Trade Center downtown. The Department of Agriculture vacated the building in 2007. In 2015 GSA applied for the building’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. According to the historic designation application, the building is split into an L-shaped administrative wing and a rectangular warehouse. The pending historic designation could limit how the building is repurposed, but zoning allows for mixed-use development.

GSA issued a request for qualifications in 2014 to interested entities that can provide construction and related services in an “exchange consideration” for GSA’s headquarters building at 1800 F St. NW and for up to three buildings at St. Elizabeths West for use by the Department of Homeland Security, in exchange for the Cotton Annex and GSA’s National Capital Region Regional Office Building in Federal Triangle South. This area south of the National Mall has a concentration of GSA-owned office buildings that the agency is looking to either modernize or redevelop. The proposed swap proved unsuccessful, so GSA decided to auction individual buildings, starting with the Cotton Annex.

Located a block from the Smithsonian Metro and the National Mall, just off an exit ramp from the 12th Street expressway, and within walking distance of the Portals and The Wharf, the Cotton Annex has potential for redevelopment. While it is not known what Douglas Development has planned for the Cotton Annex, their prior work offers hope that this historic building will not remain vacant for much longer.

William Rich is a blogger at Southwest … The Little Quadrant that Could (

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