Living with Giant/Cathedral Commons Construction – Update #8

May 18, 2014

Progress continues on the South Block, which has now been turned over to the Giant. Their internal fit-out is expected to be complete by November 1st (formerly October 15th); when it is complete, the new grocery story we have all been waiting for will be opened! Fit-out work on the CVS should end by October 1st, so we may have a new drug store even sooner. And the residential loft units on Newark Street will be finished by September 1st, and will be available for move-in shortly thereafter, so we should have some new neighbors at about the same time. And at some point in there, the South Block should boast two restaurants (Raku and Barcelona Wine Bar) and second-floor fitness studios, as well as the CVS.

There will be even more new neighbors since grading work for the eight (rental) townhouses on Idaho is complete, and foundations will be poured “soon,” so they should be ready for occupancy in the same time frame. In the North Block, four floors of apartments are still expected to be ready for occupancy by December 1st. Commercial tenants announced so far for the North Block include Starbucks, two banks (SunTrust and Wells Fargo), Doc Optical, and a pet boutique. Bozzuto is still talking to un-named restaurants (both “chef-driven” and “fast casual”) about leases in the North Block. These, too, would likely open in late fall.

But it’s hard to be confident that any of this can happen until the utility work is complete. Bozzuto is still awaiting permits from DDOT for night work on Wisconsin Avenue, which will take several months once it begins. In addition, bus shelters still need to be moved, as does a Pepco vault, and other process-oriented tasks await completion. The re-opening of Idaho Avenue awaits completion of the sidewalks on the side in front of the police station and the businesses, which has not yet begun. The developer promises to maintain better communications with the businesses on Idaho.

Installation of the long-awaited traffic signal at the Wisconsin/Idaho/Ordway intersection may soon be underway, but it won’t be operable until Pepco electrifies it, and there is no schedule for that work. Similarly, infrastructure to install new streetlights will begin, but fixtures won’t be installed until the end of the construction period.

Even the pessimists among us can still hope that the whole project will be complete and fully functioning by the end of the year. The optimists can hope that the traffic and parking situation on neighborhood streets will remain manageable.

The next meeting of the Construction Management Agreement Liaison Committee is scheduled for June 4th at the Second District Police Station at 6:30 pm. The public is welcome.

Click here to view the CPCA’s full Giant/Cathedral Commons Construction page, including previous updates.