The sites include spaces currently occupied by Crossfit DC at 1365 H Street, Physicality at 1371, and Atlas Dog House at 1375.
Barracks Row Developer Eyes Project on H Street, NE
By Larry Janezich
Posted May 19, 2022
Wednesday night, Chris Martin of Martin-Diamond Properties, gave an informational presentation to the Economic Development Committee of ANC6A for a proposed retail/residential development of three adjoining sites on H Street, NE.
The sites include, spaces currently occupied by Crossfit DC at 1365 H Street, Physicality at 1371, and Atlas Dog House at 1375. Martin says the current tenants are all want to return to the location after development.
Martin told the Committee that he anticipates delivering 50 efficiency residential units, with 20% being affordable, using DC government’s new development program Inclusionary Zoning Plus. IZ+ provides for no-hassle rezoning of a development site if the developer commits to making 20% of the units affordable at 60% AMI. It provides an alternative to the PUD process which can be protracted. Last November, the developer of the Auto Zone site on H Street told the Committee he is considering using the program for development of that site.
Martin appears to be in extended negotiation with the Historic Preservation Board and sounded as though he was hoping the Committee could give an early endorsement to the concept to smooth the way through the Office of Planning bureaucracy. Committee Chair Brad Greenfield indicated that the committee would not take any action at such an early stage of the project, given that the project appears to be “a year or two years from moving forward.”
An unusual aspect of the proposal is that 1365 H Street – a former auto showroom and later an African American movie theater – is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
In 2018, Martin-Diamond acquired the last empty lot on Barracks Row (the Shakespeare Parking lot), the Shakespeare rehearsal space across the street, and the building which formerly housed Phase 1, DC’s legendary lesbian bar. Those properties are now retail spaces: Bitter Grace Boutique, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and the soon-to-open Ginza BBQ and Karaoke; and across the street, Arena Social Arts Club (currently occupied by DC Department of Health), and Kaiju Ramen & Bar, respectively.
Martin-Diamond Properties LLC, is an “urban retail specialist” headquartered in Delaware with an office in DC. It has partnered with NW1 Partners, a real estate investment advisory firm focused on small cap value-added property investments in the US, UK, and Europe. NW1 – backed by Delancey Investments – raised $175 million 2018 to invest in Washington, DC, retail outlets focusing on Millennial demographics. They purchased the Georgetown Theater building on Wisconsin Avenue and developed it into mixed use retail and residential. NW1 is headquartered in London and Chicago.