JBG revealed more plans for the residential development it plans to build at 945 Florida Avenue NW. This is the site abutting the 965 Florida Avenue, which is slated for a Whole Foods. 945 is slated to be a multifamily building, which is not surprising, but the developer has opted to extend W Street one block from its current terminus at Florida Avenue NW to Ninth Street NW.
The W Street extension has been a long-standing goal of neighborhood planning efforts as there are currently few east-west connections between that section of Florida Avenue and Georgia Avenue. Smaller street grids make walking easier as there are fewer “superblocks” to walk around.
The new one-block extension will be privately built, owned, and maintained. It will be constructed as a woonerf, a street where automobile and pedestrian traffic share the same space. The best example of a woonerf in the area is Cady’s Alley in Georgetown.
The developer is building the project matter-of-right.
The four mixed-use buildings on Eighth Street near the 9:30 Club are about to open. The quartet is the product of prolific Washington area developer JBG, which recently released the layout of the ground-floor retail tenants. The retail spaces include small retail shops, a few restaurants, a small movie theater, and art galleries.
The Shay is a duo of apartments on the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue NW. Retailers include
- Riide – A DC-based electric bike company (9th Street)
- Serv U Liquors – A liquor store that previous stood on the development site (9th Street)
- Warby Parker – Purveyor of hip spectacles (9th Street & Florida Avenue)
- Aesop – An Australian retailer of sustainable skincare, haircare and other personal care products (800 b/o Florida Avenue)
- Chrome – A San Francisco-based bike bag purveyor (800 b/o Florida Avenue)
- Le Labo – A French perfumery (800 b/o Florida Avenue)
- Benrus – A Rhode Island-based clothing retailer (800 b/o Florida Avenue)
- Steven Alan – Casual clothing for men and women (8th Street & Florida Avenue)
- An unnamed restaurant from Tim Ma, owner of Water & Wall in Arlington and Maple Ave. in Vienna (8th Street)
- Frank & Oak – A hip, Montréal-based men’s clothing retailer (8th Street)
- Glen’s Garden Market – The second location of this DC-based grocer will also serve beer. (8th Street)
- Compass Coffee – The second location for the coffee shop that currently operates on 7th Street in Shaw (8th Street)
- Read Wall – DC-based menswear retailer selling knits, outerwear, custom suits, and neckware (8th Street)
- Lettie Gooch – A clothing boutique moving from U Street (8th Street)
- Kit and Ace – A retailer selling clothes made of a sturdier cashmere (8th Street & Florida Avenue)
JBG is still actively leasing three retail bays. The Shay’s grand opening is today from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Just north on Eighth Street at V Street, JBG has sold numerous condos at 2030 8th Street and has nearly completed the larger Atlantic Plumbing apartments on the north side of V Street. The company has released the retail layout of both buildings.
The retailers include
- Hazel (probably) – A new restaurant from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which currently owns Birch & Barley and Bluejacket (V Street)
- Declaration Pizza – A new pizza shop from the owners of Lincoln and Teddy & the Bully Bar (8th & V Streets)
- Landmark Theatre – A theater featuring independent films in six small-screen mini-theaters (V Street)
- An unnamed ramen restaurant from the people behind Daikaya in Chinatown (8th & V Streets)
- Tasty Burger – The first DC-area location of this Boston-based burger chain (8th Street)
- Bazaar Spices – The second location for this independently owned herbs and spice shop, which also sells at Union Market (8th Street)
- Cherry Blossom Creative – A graphic-design studio that will also offer original works for retail purchase (8th Street)
- Foundry Gallery – An artist-run gallery that will move from Dupont Circle (8th Street)
- Typecase Industries – A locally-based letterpress and design studio (8th Street)
- Washington Project for the Arts – The headquarters for a non-profit arts support organization (8th Street)
All shops will be open by the end of the year.
The Washington Business Journal reports that Whole Foods is slated for a new development on the parking lot at Florida and Sherman Avenues. The retailer’s arrival is typically a harbinger of soaring real estate values for surrounding neighborhoods. Whole Food is the latest iteration of potential tenants, which had before included Harris Teeter.
The Whole Foods is part of a proposed mixed-use development by developers MRP and JBG, the latter of which is finishing several development projects just a few blocks away.
The development proposal is far from final. Since the development involves the disposition of District-owned land, the DC Council will have to approve the deal.
Area residents have enjoyed a grocery renaissance over the past two years. A new Giant, the largest grocery store in DC, opened at 7th and P Streets in November 2013. A new Trader Joe’s opened at 14th and U Streets in March 2014.
Here’s an updated list of of LeDroit Park’s nearest grocery stores, as measured from Anna Cooper Circle.
|Giant||7th & P Streets NW||0.6|
|Whole Foods (proposed)||Florida & Sherman Avenues NW||0.7|
|Trader Joe’s||14th & U Streets NW||0.9|
|Safeway||5th & L Streets NW||0.9|
|Harris Teeter||1st & M Streets NE||1.0|
|Whole Foods||1400 blk. P Street NW||1.1|
New shops are opening just west of LeDroit Park. Prolific Washington area developer JBG is nearing completion of the four buildings it is constructing just west of Georgia Avenue. Warby Parker, Compass Coffee, and restaurants from the people behind Birch & Barley and Daikaya will open soon.
The buildings, you may recall, have been in progress for several years. The northern two buildings, Atlantic Plumbing and 2030 8th Street sit on 8th Street on either side of V Street NW. The northern building, Atlantic Plumbing, is a 375-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail and a six-screen movie theater. The smaller southern building, 2030 8th Street is a 62-unit condo building.
The WBJ summed up the retail summed up the retailers coming to Atlantic Plumbing:
- Landmark Theatre – Six-screen theater featuring independent films.
- Hazel (probably) – A new restaurant from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which currently owns Birch & Barley and Bluejacket.
- An unnamed ramen restaurant from the people behind Daikaya in Chinatown.
- Bazaar Spices – The second location for this independently owned herbs and spice shop, which also sells at Union Market.
- Cherry Blossom Creative – A graphic-design studio that will also offer original works for retail purchase.
- Foundry Gallery – An artist-run gallery that will move from Dupont Circle.
- Declaration Pizza – A new pizza shop from the owners of Lincoln and Teddy & the Bully Bar.
- Tasty Burger – The first DC-area location of this Boston-based burger chain.
- Typecase Industries – A locally-based letterpress and design studio.
- Washington Project for the Arts – The headquarters for a non-profit arts support organization.
On the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue, JBG is nearing completion of the two buildings, called the Shay, it has constructed above the Metro tunnel. Back in 2011, I documented the protracted saga to redevelop these two parcels. Though JBG had considered offering one of the buildings as condos, it has since chosen to keep both buildings as rentals, delivering a total of 336 apartments.
The WBJ reports the following retailers for the Shay:
- Warby Parker – Purveyor of hip spectacles.
- Freehand – A restaurant from Tim Ma, owner of Water & Wall in Arlington and Maple Ave. in Vienna.
- Compass Coffee – The second location for the coffee shop that currently operates on 7th Street in Shaw.
- Aesop – An Austrialian retailer of sustainable skincare, haircare and other personal care products.
- Benrus – The second U.S. locaiton of this watchmaker.
- Kit and Ace – Luxury clothing retailer.
- Read Wall – D.C.-based menswear retailer selling knits, outerwear, custom suits, and neckware.
- Steven Alan – Casual clothing for men and women.
Two— possibly three— new movie theaters are set to open within a mile of LeDroit Park by 2016. All will be located within a block or two of Florida Avenue and are easily accessible by foot, bike, and 90s bus.
Atlantic Plumbing site – 800 V Street NW- unknown screens
Prolific developer JBG is starting construction on its Atlantic Plumbing project by the 9:30 Club. The project includes two mixed-use buildings on 8th Street NW, each on opposing sides of V Street. The northern building was supposed to include an 11,000-square-foot movie theater, but a September article in the WBJ makes no mention of a theater. The building will probably open in 2015.
Landmark Theater – New York Avenue & N Street NE- 10 screens
Capitol Point, another JBG mixed-use project, is located on New York Avenue NE near the maddening intersection with Florida Avenue NE. The mixed-use project is slated to receive a 10-screen Landmark Theater showing foreign and independent films. The chain currently has a location downtown on E Street and one in Bethesda. This new theater is scheduled to open in 2016.
Angelika Film Center – Union Market (5th Street & Neal Place NE) – 8 screens
Soon after you pass under the railroad tracks on Florida Avenue NE, Union Market appears embedded in the background on the left. These blocks constitute a wholesale food market that is slowly being redeveloped. The new Union Market building has met great success, featuring produce, prepared foods, oysters, meats, and dairy products along with chairs and tables for the impatient. The market fare is definitely upscale and vendors never shy from the word ‘artisanal’.
The market building’s developer announced it will open an 8-screen Angelika movie theater on an adjacent lot. Angelika theaters feature foreign and independent films and, as the Post described it, “culinary offerings from former Food Network executives.” The developer expects the theater to open in 2015.
Are we over-theatered?
Another movie theater is coming to different part of the District. In the Navy Yard, developer Forest City is planning an upscale 16-screen theater near Nationals Stadium and the Navy Yard Metro. The theater, at N Place and the future 1½ Street SE (a terrible name for a street), may not open until 2016 or later.
Can’t wait until 2015? There are four existing theaters within a 2.5-mile radius of LeDroit Park as the crow flies. The Landmark E Street Cinema (1100 block of E Street NW) and the Regal Gallery Place (7th & G Streets NW) are easily accessible from the Green Line, Yellow Line, and 70s buses. To the west of us, the West End Cinema (23rd & M Streets NW) and the AMC Loews Georgetown (3111 K Street NW) are easily accessible from the G2 bus, whose eastern terminus is LeDroit Park.
|Atlantic Plumbing (??)||?||8th & V Sts NW||2015?||0.5 mi|
|Landmark – Capitol Point||10||New York Ave & N St NE||2016||0.8 mi|
|Angelika Film Ctr. – Union Mkt.||8||5th St & Neal Pl NE||2015||1.3 mi|
|Regal Gallery Place||14||7th & G Sts NW||open||1.4 mi|
|Landmark E Street Cinema||8||1100 b/o E St NW||open||1.8 mi|
|West End Cinema||3||23rd & M Sts NW||open||2.1 mi|
|AMC Loews Georgetown||14||3111 K St NW||open||2.9 mi|
|Showplace Icon Theater||16||1½ St & N Pl SE||2016||3.3 mi|
Shortly after Labor Day, construction will begin on the two JBG apartment buildings on the former WMATA sites on the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue. The project involves constructing two new apartment buildings flanking 8th Street at Florida Avenue. The project, which already received Historic Preservation Review Board approval, will include 242 apartments above 29,000 square feet of retail.
The buildings, designed by Seattle-based Miller Hull, are six-story structures— five floors of wood stick construction over concrete podiums for the garages and retail areas. This hybrid construction type is cheaper and faster to build than concrete-only highrises.
Construction is expected to take 20 months and should be completed in May 2015.
There’s some big news over on Florida Avenue by the 9:30 Club. The District has chosen the MRP-Ellis Development team to develop 1.45 acres of city-owned land at 965 Florida Avenue. The site sits on the east side of Florida Avenue at the intersection with Sherman Avenue. The MRP-Ellis proposal, dubbed The Griffith*, is a 370,000-square-foot building with 35,000 square feet of retail topped with several floors of residential.
I haven’t found the apartment unit count, but the retail component is envisioned as a market somewhat like Union Market and Eastern Market. Furthermore, The Griffith proposal extends Bryant Street from 8th Street to the intersection of Florida and Sherman Avenues. East-west connectivity is a goal of the DUKE Small Area Plan and something that the city has been seeking as that area is redeveloped.
Part of the story for this award is who didn’t win. Both MRP-Ellis and JBG competed for the site. Many people following the competition thought JBG had the upper hand, since it controlled an adjacent site on Florida Avenue (see the big blank area above). JBG’s plan involved connecting W Street instead of Bryant Street. The JBG plan also included a Harris Teeter, 125 hotel rooms, 30,000 square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of retail, 150 condos, 250 apartments, and 200 micro-apartments.
According to the Washington Business Journal, the District preferred The Griffith’s program for several reasons:
What put MRP over the top, according to [the District], was an offer to build more affordable housing, an agreement to submit to the District’s planned-unit development process (ensuring community coordination) and its willingness to pay more for the land.
Don’t expect shovels in the ground just yet. The details of the deal will have to be finalized and then approved by the Council. Then the project will go through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) process that involves a few months of community input and zoning hearings during which the developer will likely negotiate a community benefits agreement. After that’s finished, the permits will need to be approved and construction can finally begin. It may be four or five years until we see a ribbon-cutting.
In the meantime, JBG may build a smaller project on the land it owns immediately to the south of the awarded site. No plans have been released, but whatever it is, says JBG, it won’t include a Harris Teeter or a W Street connection.
View the proposals:
* “The Griffith” is an homage to Griffith Stadium, which once stood where Howard University Hospital now stands.
If local developer JBG has its way, a Harris Teeter may be coming to a parking lot near the 9:30 Club. The proposal is only in the preliminary stages and requires the District to sell an unused parking lot to the company.
JBG owns the lot immediately to the south of the District property and would like to combine them into a single project. The two adjacent properties are labeled “DC Gov” and “JBG” on the middle-left portion of the map below. While JBG does not yet control the District-owned site, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will offer the site, along with several others, for sale this fall. For all we know, the District could select another developer.
As you may recall, Chevy Chase-based JBG is one of the biggest developers on 14th Street and U Street. They’re current constructing or entitling (seeking permits, zoning relief, etc.) several nearby projects. At the southwest corner of 14th and U, the company is currently building a multifamily project that will include a Trader Joe’s. On the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue, the company is preparing to build two modernist multifamily buildings. On the northwest and southwest corners of 8th and V Streets, the company recently revealed its drawings for a condo building and an apartment building.
Besides JBG, many new developers are including grocery stores in areas that have long suffered a lack of good grocery options. The forthcoming Giant at 7th & P Streets will become our closest supermarket when it reopens next year. If the proposed Harris Teeter ever gets built, it will be the second closest supermarket to LeDroit Park:
|Giant (opening 2013)||7th & P Streets NW||0.6|
|Harris Teeter (proposed)||Florida & Sherman Avenues NW||0.7|
|Trader Joe’s (opening 2014)||14th & U Streets NW||0.9|
|Safeway||5th & L Streets NW||0.9|
|Harris Teeter||1st & M Streets NE||1.0|
|Whole Foods||1400 blk. P Street NW||1.1|
But wasn’t Howard Town Center, about a block away, supposed to include a grocery store? The proximity of a Harris Teeter might scare off a competitor from signing on with the still-unbuilt Howard Town Center. This could further delay the long-stalled project.
Developers like to have leases signed before construction since the leases show investors and lenders that the project will produce an income to repay the loans. For some development proposals, the lack of a lease can scuttle the project entirely.
JBG’s announcement of its agreement with Harris Teeter is somewhat unusual. National grocery chains typically keep their prospective sites secret. That JBG announced the agreement without even controlling the land is unusual.
Another interesting twist to the case is that the District used to own the Howard Town Center site and Howard used to own the parking lot JBG wants to buy. The District and the university swapped the properties many years ago out of convenience to each other. How ironic it would be if the government-owned site is the site that gets redeveloped faster.
The JBG apartment project on the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue NW moved forward last week when the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) gave partial approval to the project. The modernist design will likely have to endure a few more refinements before the board grants its final approval for the site.
Building alterations, additions, demolitions, and construction in historic districts are subject to review by the Historic Preservation Review Board. Since the site sits in the U Street Historic District, it must also gain HPRB approval before it can receive building permits.
Though we are supporters of historic preservation, we can see why this extra level of review frustrates builders and property owners. The main problem is that historic review requires property owners, architects, and developers to adjust their designs based on subjective judgments of historic compatibility.
The historic review process is less predictable that the typical building process, which simply requires that a builder meet unambiguous zoning regulations and building codes. For instance, the JBG site is zoned C-2-B, which permits residential projects to rise to 65 feet or to rise to 70 feet if they include affordable housing.
Distances are easy and unambiguous measurements, but how does one determine if a proposed design is historically compatible?
As in most cases where subjectivity needs analysis, you can easily define the extreme cases. The Weaver Building (HUD’s headquarters) is undoubtedly incompatible with the Victorian rowhouse architecture of the U Street area. Likewise, a good number of preservationists despise projects that attempt precise replication of historic structures. The right answers lies somewhere between aping historic forms and shunnig them all together.
Modernism, a 20th century invention, can work well in historic districts if done right and Miller Hull has worked to refine its designs to pass HPRB muster.
Though the HPRB asked for further refinement that will have to go to the board again, the board did support the design on six features so far:
- Relocation of the front, original section of 1933-35 9th Street to the southern portion of the site, adjacent to the row of similarly-sized and scaled historic buildings, and removal of the later rear additions
- Reconfiguration of the alley on the western parcel to exit on 9th Street
- Subdivision to allow lot combination on both the west and east sites
- Overall site organization of the new construction
- Height and massing along Florida Avenue
- General architectural direction, subject to further development and material selection.
Here are the concept designs the board reviewed when it reached this decision: