Real Estate

The Latest on Capitol Crossing: No Eataly (For Now)

The Latest on Capitol Crossing: No Eataly (For Now)
Renderings of 200 and 250 Massachusetts Ave., NW at Capitol Crossing. Courtesy of Property Group Partners.

DC is getting three brand new blocks. That would be a big deal most places, but it’s especially significant in a city where vertical growth is capped by a federal height limit, where real estate is increasingly expensive, and whose population is climbing by almost 1,000 residents a month. Capitol Crossing, the $1.3 billion project that broke ground in 2015, will mend the divide created by I-395 between Capitol Hill to the east and downtown DC to the west, with a massive “deck”—i.e. a new section of city—constructed over the freeway.

The first of five planned buildings is now rising atop the finished portion of that deck at 200 Massachusetts Ave., NW. It’s scheduled to be complete in 2018, and will include 400,000 square feet of office space, and nearly 25,000 square feet of retail. Robert Braunohler, of Capitol Crossing’s developer Property Group Partners, has bad news for anyone still hoping DC’s first Eataly will take over the retail portion. He says a tenant has signed a letter of intent to move in—and it is not Eataly. He declined to name the tenant, but says it offers a restaurant/market concept similar to Eataly’s.

Even so, Braunohler says negotiations with Eataly are ongoing, and he doesn’t rule out Eataly signing on at some point. (The next building, 250 Massachusetts Ave., is slated to be done in 2019.)

The development’s residential component is also in flux. Housing was never going to be a major component of Capitol Crossing—the sole residential building planned for the site is relatively small, with 150 units, at least 50 of which will be affordable. The reason for such a modest amount, says Braunohler, is straight-forward: It’s incredibly expensive to engineer and construct a new section of city over a freeway, and land value is higher for retail/office use than it is for residential.

Georgetown Law—which sits up against Capitol Crossing—had an exclusive right, until last month, to expand its campus onto that section of the site and use it for student housing. Though Georgetown’s time is up, and the university has not committed to the land, Braunohler says building apartments or condos for the public there remains “up in the air.” Even if the building winds up as student housing, though, Braunohler says it will include the affordable units.

A lot of other things, though, are definitely getting built, including eco-friendly infrastructure that will supply the entirety of the site’s 2.2 million square feet. Underground water cisterns will capture and treat over 90 percent of storm runoff, then use the water for the buildings’ cooling towers. “Eco chimneys” will send  exhaust from the 1,100-car parking garage through a filtration system made of living plant material, cleaning it before it enters the atmosphere. On the surface, the system will look like a vertical garden enclosed in glass, rising above the sidewalk. These and other measures will make Capitol Crossing the city’s first “eco district.”

The whole project is expected to be done by 2022, creating 8,000 to 10,000 permanent jobs, and generating $40 million in annual property taxes.

The building on the left is currently under construction. Construction of neighboring 250 Massachusetts will begin next, and is expected to finish in 2019.


Another of the office buildings planned for the site. There is not yet a set timeline for its construction.



Capitol Crossing’s new I-395 on-ramp, off Massachusetts Avenue, expected to be done in 2017. Photos by Marisa M. Kashino.
The first building, 200 Massachusetts Ave., NW, rising over the freeway.
The second section of the “deck” over 395 in the works.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She was previously a reporter for Legal Times and the National Law Journal. She lives in Northeast DC with her husband, two dogs, and two cats.