Commercial Real Estate Update: Coffee Break in NoMa

A specialty coffee shop called Pound Coffee will soon start serving office workers and commuters in the District's burgeoning NoMA -- North of Massachusetts Avenue -- neighborhood.

Khalil Ghannam, 45, plans to open his new café next month at 2nd and N Streets Northeast, just outside the New York Avenue Metro station and a few blocks from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives new headquarters.

Pound Coffee is the first glimmer of the upscale retail that planners envision for NoMa's growing white-collar workforce.

"It will be a premium coffee shop," Ghannam said of the store he plans to open. "A warm and friendly place to grab a better cup of coffee."

Ghannam, who was raised in Northern Virginia fell in love with the coffee shop culture of Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco while living on the West Coast, where he worked as a music video and television commercial producer. He hopes his new store will help bring that culture to the NoMa neighborhood.

The Capitol Retail Group and LeDroit Park Development Company are leasing the 8,000 square foot building where Ghannam will put his coffee shop. The companies are expected to announce additional retail leases in the coming months, according to the NoMa Business Improvement District.

In other NoMa development news, J Street Development and its equity partner Westbrook Partners broke ground last month on a 90,000 square foot office condominium building at 111 K Street, NE There are no announced contracts on units in that building.

And, just across First Street, at 77 K St. NE, Brookfield Properties and ING Clarion topped out construction of a 326,000 square foot office building that features a rooftop terrace with views of the U.S. Capitol. That space has not yet been leased.

* * *

Douglas Development has purchased a 19th century, storefront building in the District's East End. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, which was represented by the D.C.-based commercial brokerage firm Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers, sold the building, at 918 F St., for an undisclosed sum.

The association is moving out of the building to a new headquarters on 1331 G St. NW, in March, according to Cassidy & Pinkard.

Originally built in 1890 by the National Union Fire Insurance Company, 918 F St. was renovated by the immigration lawyers group in 2001.
-- Alejandro Lazo

By Mike Shepard  |  January 4, 2008; 4:30 PM ET  | Category:  Real Estate
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I use to have my law practice at 918 F Street, N.W. 'back in the day' [late 79 & 80] and it had one of the oldest working open elevators still run by an attendent.

It was quite an interesting building even then, including a walk-in room size safe on the 2d floor.

Posted by: brucerealtor | January 5, 2008 6:10 PM

We definately welcome a new coffee shop in Noma.I personally have been waiting for this store to taste its fresh cofee.I have been living in the area and the only place I go to is big bear which is a nice place too.

i think this neighberhood needs some restaurants to make the area more vibrant.

Posted by: monaem | January 7, 2008 6:31 PM

There is a strong rumor circulating that BECO is in the process of acquiring Washington Business Park from Ron Cohen. It is ironic that a transaction like this would occur in a stark downturn in the industrial segment. Due to the poor management of Cohen, the park has languished for years and it is possible that the market may have passed the park by. We wish BECO all the best in the future. Maybe they can perform better than the previous ownership.

Posted by: Jim | March 6, 2008 8:55 AM

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