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Developer to break ground on Fannie Mae HQ redevelopment in Northwest on Saturday

The 10-acre site will be transformed into a mixed-use project called “City Ridge”

The former Fannie Mae headquarters at 3900 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Frontpage/Shutterstock

D.C.-based Roadside Development and North America Sekisui House (NASH), an arm of a major Japanese building company, on Dec. 1 will break ground on the 10-acre redevelopment of the former Fannie Mae headquarters site at 3900 Wisconsin Ave. NW into what the team is calling “City Ridge”—an “urban village” that will feature the District’s inaugural Wegmans.

Although the Wegmans has generated much of the anticipation around the redevelopment, all told the project will include “652 residential units, a 150-key hotel, 153,000 square feet of retail space, and 62,000 square feet of office space,” according to a release. The plan calls for constructing eight new buildings in addition to adaptively reusing the existing headquarters building, which was named a historic landmark at the development team’s request late last year. (The Colonial Revival building echoes the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia.)

The grocery store will be installed on the lowest level of the historic building, which Fannie Mae, the federal mortgage purchaser, left this year, moving to a new building downtown at the site of the old Washington Post headquarters. Roadside and NASH say this placement will require “a true feat of engineering,” as “the historic Fannie Mae building will be held up by micro piles while the existing basement is excavated eight feet” to fit the new Wegmans.

The City Ridge moniker comes from the fact that Wisconsin Avenue is a ridgeline between Rock Creek Park’s two stream valleys and Foundry Branch, the development team explains. “The ridgeline was historically a path for migratory animals” before the 19th century, it says. The property is situated across from Sidwell Friends School and north of McLean Gardens.

“The name City Ridge not only reflects the site’s geographical location at one of the highest points in the city, but brings to mind the aesthetic that makes this area of DC so special: It’s where the city meets nature,” says Richard Lake, a principal with Roadside. “City Ridge will be a neighborhood that looks to the future while respecting its key architectural elements.”

The site’s large front lawn will be opened to the public and host cultural events. The initial components of the project, including the Wegmans, are set to début by late 2021 or early 2022, followed by the housing. Roadside and NASH bought the property in 2016 for $89 million. The Washington Business Journal dubbed the acquisition the “Deal of the Year.”

Roadside also developed City Market at O, a major mixed-use development in Shaw that preserves a historic market building. A Giant grocery store occupies the market building.

Renderings of the planned development courtesy of Roadside Development/NASH