Armed Forces Retirement Home redo falls through

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Washington Business Journal – by Jonathan O’Connell Staff Reporter

The Armed Forces Retirement Home has severed ties with a developer that had planned a major mixed use development aimed at bringing the home new revenue and providing new office and hotel space for nearby hospitals.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Crescent Resources LLC was selected by the home as master developer in 2007 and its plan for the site in Northwest D.C. was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission in July of last year. Crescent planned 4.1 million square feet of development, including 2,500 multifamily units, new retail with a 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and 20 acres of public park space.

But two months later, in September, negotiations collapsed and a 30-year lease that was nearly complete was tossed aside, said Chris Black, a spokeswoman for the home.

“Crescent was cutting back on what they were willing to pay and they reached a point where the negotiations just failed,” Black said. Crescent was not immediately available for comment.

Black attributed the break-up, first reported in the Washington Post, to the collapsing real estate market, saying “we thought that Crescent would be a really good partner, but the market changed.”

She said the home would instead look to partner with developers for specific parts of the project.

Founded in 1851, the home once was a vacation retreat for President Lincoln. His cottage, a national monument, recently underwent a $15 million renovation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But the home overall faces a backlog of $366 million in needed improvements and is trying to accept veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.


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