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Washington Post: Cathedral Commons Development Gets Underway

December 19, 2012

Demolition work on the site of the future Cathedral Commons is nearly complete, signaling the end of a long-running battle to halt the large-scale mixed-use redevelopment project less than a half mile north of National Cathedral.

Workers are razing buildings — including a strip mall that once housed the 1950s era G.C. Murphy Co. department store — on the 178,236-square-foot property nearly one year after an appeals court rejected legal challenges by several neighborhood associations to stop the project. 

The development project encompasses two parcels. A two-story mixed-use building to be located at 3336 Wisconsin Ave. NW will contain a new 56,000-square-foot Giant supermarket (nearly three times larger than a previous store located on the site), 13 boutique apartments, eight townhomes, retail and two levels of below-grade parking.

A second building to be constructed at 3406 Wisconsin Ave. NW will include 124 upscale residences, street-level retail and 124 below-ground parking spaces.

Ten percent of the multi-family residences at the development will be set aside for affordable housing.

The developers say resident amenities will include a boutique hotel-style lobby, lounge areas and library, fitness center, clubroom, conference room and residential courtyards.

Cathedral Commons is a joint venture of Giant Food, the Greenbelt-based Bozzuto Development Company and Southside Investment Partners of Baltimore. The four-acre development is located on Wisconsin Avenue between Macomb Street and Idaho Avenue in the Cleveland Park-Cathedral Heights neighborhoods.

“Last month, we were extremely energized to break ground for Cathedral Commons with the Bozzuto Group,” Giant Food president Anthony Hucker said through a spokeswoman.

Demolition is scheduled to be completed by end of the year, according to Lauren Neuvel, spokeswoman for the Bozzuto Group. Construction will begin in early 2013, with the project set to open in late 2014.

The $130 million mixed-use redevelopment project has been working its way through the planning and approval process for more than 10 years. The debate over Giant’s proposed Planned Unit Development (PUD) and zoning map application was often rancorous, with neighbors, local businesses and government officials disagreeing on the size and scope of the project and its potential impact on the neighborhood.