Hearing Set for Wax Museum Site Development Plans

Posted May 24, 2005 at 4:17pm

Development plans for the former National Historical Wax Museum site at Fifth and K streets Northwest are close to being finalized.

On Thursday evening, a public hearing will be held about the plans for what has become known as the former Wax Museum site. Peggy Armstrong, spokeswoman for the National Capital Revitalization Corporation, said the hearing will allow the developer to share its final plans and will also give the community “one last opportunity to weigh in on the disposition of that property.”

The developer plans to transform the parcel of land, legally described as Square 515, Lot 158 of the District of Columbia, into 685 rental and home ownership units, a Safeway grocery store and yet-to-be-determined neighborhood retailers. Right now, the 3.2-acre lot near the Washington Convention Center serves as a parking lot.

“If everything is agreeable, which we expect because we’ve been working with the community, then we’ll go forward,” Armstrong said. “That’s really the final step in [the process] before the developing team” is able to start its work.

In 2004, RLA Revitalization Corp., a subsidiary of NCRC, chose the Lowe Team to develop the Mount Vernon Triangle area site. The development team is made up of Lowe Enterprises Mid-Atlantic Inc., CIM Urban Real Estate Fund LP, Bundy Development Co. and the Neighborhood Development Co.

Before choosing the Lowe Team, a deal with the Horning Brothers fell through when the development team backed out in March 2003. The Lowe Team then was one of three developers vying for the site. The other two were Market Commons Associates, led by Roadside Development LLC, and the Mount Vernon Park Partnership, led by John Akridge Cos.

The Lowe Team’s $133 million development plan for the site was initially slated to begin construction this spring. However, sources said now groundbreaking is not expected until October, as final negotiations are settled. The project timeline is estimated to take approximately 30 months from groundbreaking to completion.

Thursday’s hearing will begin at 5 p.m. at National Public Radio, 635 Massachusetts Ave. NW.