In spite of the current economic climate, the pace of development along 14th street is letting up.
At an otherwise uneventful ANC2f meeting yesterday evening, the ANC and meeting attendees were treated to a presentation regarding the forthcoming development of the former Whitman-Walker Clinic building, located along 14th St. between S St. and Swann. There have been some changes to the project since it was originally announced and discussed earlier this year. For those not quite up to speed on the project, here's a brief run-through.
What: DC-area developer JBG Companies acquired the former Whitman-Walker Clinic building, located at 14th and S, last year to the tune of $8 million. The property was put on the market after Whitman-Walker decided against developing the property themselves. W-W will condense the administrative offices which were located in the building with their existing clinical building, located at 14th and R St.
JBG's plans call for a seven story mixed-use development, with six stories of residential units and ground level retail. The building will include something in the neighborhood of 130 residential units. It wasn't discussed whether the building would be entirely condo, or a mix of condos and apartments--I would imagine in the current market it would be more difficult to obtain financing for a pure-condo project, so it would not surprise me to see a residential mix; but that's only a wild guess on my part. The project will also feature a dual-level parking garage with approximately 90 spaces.
No word yet on what retail establishments might be moving into the building, but a representative of JBG did indicate that talks were "ongoing" with several potential tenants. (Would now be a good time to start a petition to reject the idea of another furniture store or small-plate restaurant?)
How: ANC2f commissioner Charles Reed was quite intent on reminding the project representatives--repeatedly--about the fact that the project would be subject to the requirements of the 14th street "arts overlay" district. That may be true, but Reed's comments that this issue would be "one we will follow up on" must have struck the developer and architect's representatives as a bit odd, seeing as how the project does not technically sit within the boundaries of ANC2f.
JBG, which has a strong track record of successfully undertaking historic preservation work, will also work to integrate the development within the existing structure and facade of the building, which was built in 1908. (Interestingly, the building was originally designed as a residential and commercial-use structure.) Artistic renderings o fthe completed project--which looked quite nice--were shown last night, but unfortunately do not appear to have been posted to their website yet.
When: No word yet. The developer has a hearing before the BZA to address three outstanding issues (including the number of parking spaces they will be offering as well as a sightline issue). Beyond that, no definitive timeline was offered. I am personally a bit surprised to see a project of this magnitude undertaken during the current economic climate, but with the projects at 14th and T and 14th and U progressing along, I guess it's not too far outside the realm of reality.
So, my question for you all regarding this project: What type of ground floor retail would you like to see here? A good deli? A bookstore? Clothing shop? A brothel? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Posted by Mr. 14th & You at 9:28 AM