Financing in hand, Republic Properties forges ahead with first residential tower in the Portals

June 8, 2017
by admin

Article Source: Washington Business Journal

Jun 7, 2017, 4:09pm EDT

Daniel J. Sernovitz
Staff Reporter
Washington Business Journal

Republic Properties Corp. has launched the next phase of The Portals, a 373-unit apartment building that will be the first residential component of its $1 billion-plus mixed-use development in Southwest D.C.

The District-based developer recently began construction on the Portals V residential building, a $220 million project at 1331 Maryland Ave. SW slated for completion in late spring 2019. Republic Properties has retained Balfour Beatty Construction for the project, which was designed by designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, with WDG Architecture as the architect of record.

Steve Grigg, president of Republic Properties, said he wanted to develop something that would both fit in with the surrounding architecture but also stand out through its design and prominence. The building will be clad in cast stone, with a limestone color meant to fit in with the surrounding Portals and federal buildings, but with its own molded features, more glass and landscaping to set it apart.

“We set out to do a landmark building here and retained a team for it to make it happen,” Grigg said.

The Portals overall is a long-planned project with about 1.5 million square feet of office space, including — for now — the Federal Communications Commission’s headquarters. In addition to three existing office buildings, it also features the 400-room Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

The District-based Republic Properties has landed $170 million in construction debt for the residential building, with financing from CapitalSource and Parse Capital. That kind of money has gotten increasingly difficult to line up, due in part to a glut of new apartments springing up across Greater Washington, but Grigg said the strength of Portals V gave lenders confidence. The financing was arranged with the help of CBRE’s Capital markets Group.

Republic isn’t targeting a specific group of prospective renters but rather a mix including federal workers, millennials, and empty nesters. The site, clearly visible from the inbound 14th Street Bridge, is less than a mile from The Wharf, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront’s mixed-use project project which recently celebrated a new milestone ahead of its first-phase opening in October.

Republic Properties initially pitched 400 rental units in a taller, 15-story building, a request that was then trimmed to 13 stories with 290 rental units and 75 condominiums to earn the approval of the Commission of Fine Arts. All 373 of the units in the current iteration will be rentals rather than condos, with the lower nine floors featuring more traditional apartments and the top four floors featuring larger units and private elevator access. The units will range from 500 square feet to 3,400 square feet for the largest of the penthouse units.

The building, to be managed by the Bozzuto Group, will include a mix of balconies and terraces, offering views of the Jefferson Memorial, U.S. Capitol and Potomac River. There will also be a sky terrace level, offering glassed-in spaces; an infinity edge pool overlooking the Jefferson and the Tidal Basin; and a rooftop sky deck with an 1,100-foot continuous walkway around the building. A fitness facility, dog grooming rooms, interior lounges, meeting rooms and an enclosed garden are also planned.