A reader recently emailed me with a question: With all the construction in and around uptown, when is the Elizabeth Avenue corridor going to see its own surge?
Grubb Properties has long been one of the largest landholders in the area, with about 12 acres. The firm made its last land purchase there in 2007. With the first phase of the long-awaited streetcar line set to open this summer, it seems like the stage could be set for Elizabeth Avenue to lift off.
Grubb has long promoted plans to transform the area with major mixed-use developments, including a cinema, grocery store, offices and hundreds of apartments (You can see a video and computer simulation of those plans here, and a PDF of a site plan here).
I asked Grubb senior vice president Jonathan Nance what Grubb’s plans are now for its property.
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“We’re currently looking at both product types, office and multifamily,” said Nance. He said there is no date for when construction might start, but said Grubb believes it has identified a good site for the first phase of the planned development.
“As far as new development is concerned...we don’t have a timeline, but we are working behind the scenes,” he said. He said the firm is looking at starting one phase and then evaluating its next steps once the first part gets out of the ground. All new construction would have ground-floor retail, Nance said, and he added that Grubb is still bullish on apartments despite the city’s current boom.
Although details are still sparse, Nance indicated Grubb is dialing back the overall size of its plans.
“I think the idea is probably to scale that back some,” Nance said of the original designs.
Nance, who has worked on the Elizabeth Avenue corridor since 2002, said there is positive momentum. All of Grubb’s existing office and retail space in the area is fully leased, he said.
“It’s probably the first time since we’ve been on Elizabeth that it’s been 100 percent leased,” said Nance. He pointed to recent additions such as Passion 8, The Spoke Easy and Earl’s Grocery.
“The retail on Elizabeth Avenue has gotten very vibrant,” he said.