More Duke Street Development Begins

More Duke Street Development Begins

New Whole Foods market, condos getting underway on Duke Street.

Demolition at 1700 Duke St. is about to begin. In place of what has been an eclectic mix of commercial ventures will become a 116 unit upscale condominium residential complex situated above a Whole Foods market.

To be known as The Royalton, the market will occupy the ground floor with the residences, to sell in the mid-$200,000's to high $400,000's, occupying the three upper levels. The condominiums will also have access to community and exercise rooms, according to Chris Ballard, principal at McWilliams/Ballard, sales and marketing for the property.

"The residences will be one and two bedroom. They will include features such as garage parking, 10 foot ceilings, fireplaces, and gourmet kitchens that include granite counters and maple cabinetry," Ballard said. "Sales are set to begin in the fall."

At a recent meeting of the Old Town Civic Association, Brooks A. Blake, of JBG Companies in Washington, D.C., developers of the project, noted, "We expect all the present tenants to be vacated by the end of June with demolition to start shortly after that."

Once the property is cleared, "Digging will commence in August for the new construction," Blake said. The Whole Foods enterprise, previously known as Fresh Fields, will occupy approximately 43,000 square feet, Blake verified.

"The inclusion of a grocery store will bring a much needed benefit," Ballard said. "There is no other class A food store in the area except Sutton Place."

Giant Foods, the only other large grocery store in the area, opened a store in the old Hechinger building a few miles west on Duke Street.

PARKING ON THE property will consume three stories underground, Blake explained. "Residential parking will be beneath the commercial spaces to be utilized by Whole Foods. Access to residential parking will be by key entrance," he said.

Entry to the parking areas will be from Holland Avenue. There will be one parking space per residential unit, Blake said. He also admitted that the builder had not been selected at the time of his OTCA presentation.

One concern expressed at the meeting was the impact of trucks delivering to Whole Foods. "All truck will enter from George Street with unloading taking place at the back of the building," Blake assured.

The target date for completion is November 2004, according to Blake.