Foundry Lofts Blazes Trail on D.C. Riverfront

Foundry Lofts, the first apartment building to debut along the water in Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Riverfront area, is 80 percent leased in just eight months.

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Washington, D.C.—Foundry Lofts, the first apartment building to debut along the water in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Riverfront area, is 80 percent leased in just eight months. The announcement was made in late March by Forest City Enterprises Inc., the Cleveland-based developer of the rental community.

Two factors helped make Foundry Lofts the right development for this site at this time. “Number one, it’s a unique product, an authentic rehab of an old industrial loft building,” Forest City Enterprises vice president of marketing and operations Scott Villani tells MHN. “It was in the Washington Naval Yard, and was used to make all the armaments for the naval ships.”

The second factor, he adds, is the substantial demand for rental housing that exists in the submarket of Capitol Riverfront. The building is situated on a new, five-acre waterfront park called the Yards Park, directly adjacent to the new stadium that houses baseball’s Washington Nationals. In the last 24 months, this emerging neighborhood has grown substantially in popularity, Villani says.

Foundry Lofts is comprised of 170 loft apartments, among them 34 two-level penthouse apartments. Apartments feature 12 to 14-foot ceilings, exposed brick and concrete beams, hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops with glass tile backsplashes, and in-unit washers and dryers.

Common-area amenities include a tranquil yoga terrace, private sculpture courtyard with fire pit, and resident lounge with foosball and billiards. The development’s 10,000 square feet of street-level retail, including Potbelly Sandwich Shop and Kruba Thai and Sushi, provides convenience for residents. For commuters, the Navy Yard Metro is within walking distance of Foundry Lofts.

“We’re fairly accustomed to doing adaptive reuse of this kind,” Villani says. “[The project] was fairly smooth from that perspective. Through our work with adaptive reuse projects on Tobacco Row in Richmond, we’ve had a laboratory to refine loft designs.”

According to Villani, one of the most interesting features of Foundry Lofts is that the rectangular, north-south-oriented building is built with a kind of “donut hole” in the middle. “The interior corridor of Foundry Lofts encircles that,” he says. “And we made the whole interior glass, so you can look out to the interior courtyard from any part of the inside of the building.”

What is likely to be the impact of Foundry Lofts? “It’s actually bringing residents to the riverfront,” Villani says. “Until Foundry Lofts, all the current rental supply was two blocks off the riverfront, and didn’t cross M Street. This is the first opportunity for people to live on the Yards Park and on the waterfront. This is the first of many [such projects in the area], with the potential for up to 2,800 residential units in the future phases of the project.”

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