Under Jair Lynch and MacFarlane, Half Street to be Replanned

With Jair Lynch in charge, Half Street will undergo a wholesale update.

Lynch, president and CEO of Jair Lynch Development Partners, is a new venture partner in the redevelopment of Half Street, one of two languishing projects immediately north of Nationals Park (the other, from Akridge, is in search of a new investor). As we reported last week, Lynch has joined MacFarlane Partners to finally move the initiative forward, buying out the team of Monument Realty and Lehman Brothers Holdings.

The Half Street site today is just a hole in the ground. By 2016, Lynch told me Wednesday, they hope to be under construction.

But first, the Monument vision will be reworked.

Half Street was originally envisioned as a “festival atmosphere” centered on Nationals Park steps away, Lynch said. The Yards was in its infancy. Whole Foods was nothing more than a dream. Today, he said, “this is a neighborhood and it just happens to have a baseball stadium.”

“This is a neighborhood first in a baseball district,” Lynch said of Capitol Riverfront circa 2014, as opposed to Capitol Riverfront 2007. “Now we have to think through that lens as we re-master plan that site and make sure we’re being responsive to the market.”

While the project is expected to remain a mix of residential, retail and hotel, Lynch said he is now considering condos in addition to apartments, tweaking unit sizes, adding green features and amenities and bringing in a “completely different retail mix.”

The Lynch-MacFarlane partnership is not new. In 2011, the two combined to acquire H Street Plaza in the 600 block of H Street NE, which is now being redeveloped as mixed-use. The two also partnered to acquire the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments at 2001 15th St. NW, and to purchase a portfolio of affordable housing developments.

“When the opportunity presented itself this summer,” Lynch said, “we were able to react, to close all cash, and to execute.”

The price was roughly $34 million for two residential, ground-level pads and one air rights hotel site. We had originally reported the price as $12.5 million, based on the deeds and information from Monument, but Lynch said the partnership “cut a check for $34 million.”

“Our intention is to get work started as soon as possible,” Lynch said.

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