The Japanese developer Sekisui House, in a partnership with DC’s Roadside Development, is paying $89 million for the main building. Roadside tells The Washington Post a mixed-use project is planned here, using and preserving the original building.
Roadside transformed the former Tenleytown Sears-turned-Hechinger-turned-Best Buy with housing atop the site. The company also owns the Van Ness buildings housing Potbelly, Wells Fargo and Parklane Cleaners.
The other properties Fannie Mae sold on November 30th are also of nearby interest: the Fannie Mae offices at 4250 Connecticut and 3939 Wisconsin. They will impact Van Ness and North Cleveland Park.
Bernstein Management is buying 4250 Connecticut for $24.8 million. Bernstein SVP Fred Underwood tells The Northwest Current, “We’re excited about it. We like that neighborhood, and … we look forward to being a part of improving it.”
And Sidwell Friends is buying 3939 Wisconsin for $8.2 million. Behind the property is The Washington Home, which Sidwell purchased last year with the intention of expanding its campus. According to The Current, Sidwell had sold the property in 1945 and “jumped at the opportunity to buy it back.”
Bernstein and Sidwell do not say what they intend for those properties but they have time to plan. Fannie Mae is leasing back all three properties until construction of its new headquarters at 15th and L Streets NW is complete, and that’s not expected to happen for another two years.
What we hope for in the meantime is that Bernstein finds a way to activate the vacant retail space at 4250 Connecticut. Our neighborhood has no shortage of ideas that could work as a temporary solution, as we discovered in our Van Ness retail survey three years ago. How about a maker space, a small business incubator, a winter farmers/crafts market, and/or a gallery/retail/practice space for local artists and musicians?