Friday, October 22, 2010

Development Round-Up: 16th and U getting a makeover; Dupont Underground plans announced

Earlier in the year, we wrote about a City Paper piece that discussed forthcoming changes to the building located at 1610 U Street, which currently houses a Results Gym and Bang Salon, among others. Shortly (read: within the next week or two) building owner David von Storch expects to break ground on a radical redesign of the building which, when finished, will feature a 51,000+ sf VIDA Fitness, Bang Salon, Aura Spa and a Capitol City Brewing Co.

Altogether, von Storch is designing what he calls a "desirable urban lifestyle center." Or, as we prefer to call it, a Big Building With Stuff.

DCMud has all the details about the new development, including the big plans for the roof:

"...the new complex will be outfitted with a "rooftop club including a 60-foot pool, resort cabanas, communal fire pit, outdoor waterfall, sundeck and a membership lounge with full food and beverage service.""

Egads. I, for one, can't wait to observe the wild-eyed protests that a "communal rooftop fire pit" will engender.

For those wondering about the history of this development, I would encourage you to read the aformentioned City Paper article. Oh, the drama.

All of the approvals are in place, so at this point a few permits and 10 months are all that is standing in the way of you and this Desirable Urban Lifestyle Center.

* * * * *

A little farther west and south, big plans were announced for the creepily abandoned Dupont Underground space. (Warning guys: your site is delivering a 404 error. As the error explains, "it's dark down there.")

For those who have been living in a cave, or perhaps an abandoned streetcar tunnel, the Dupont Underground project is the District's effort to redevelop a nearly eight block-long streetcar tunnel that runs underneath Dupont Circle. This has already been attempted once, during 1997, when a disastrously planned food court opened up and promptly shut down only months later.

This time the District is determined to get things right. As Borderstan reports, the winning proposal submitted in response to the District's RFP--in fact, the only proposal deemed legal--was submitted by an organization calling itself the Arts Coalition for Dupont Circle. Their proposals calls for them to transform the vacant and dilapidated space into an "important cultural institution" consisting of an art gallery showcasing local artists, a "top-tier" dining establishment (of course), and potentially a wine-themed operation (ditto).

The project, which must still be approved by the District Council following the completion of the public comment period in November, will be completed in two phases: an initial 40,000 sf phase that will include the gallery, restaurant and perhaps another operation and will deliver sometime in 2013, and a second 60,000 sf phase that will deliver two years later.

The Arts Coalition, which is comprised of a large team of architects, developers, artists and businesspeople, includes individuals and organizations involved in some of the District's most high profile projects in recent years, including the Spy Museum and GALA Hispanic theater at the Tivoli Theater.

Hopefully, with the amount of time and effort invested into this project, its shelf life will be a bit longer than the food court. Although I maintain that it would be nice to have a Sbarro nearby...

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