Proposed Hotel For 13th and U Streets, NW

JBG_13thandU_project, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Thanks to a reader for alerting me to this info. Proposed image of the hotel courtesy of the developer, JBG. The Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association has lots of info:

The JBG Companies are currently working on a project proposal to develop a transit oriented, LEED Silver certified mixed-use hotel to be built at the corner of 13th and U Street, NW, replacing the existing building at this corner. This proposal, named by JBG as the “U Street Hotel,” has been the focus of much discussion in the neighborhood; JBG has provided information to CSNA about the current status of this project.

According to JBG, plans call for an approximate 4-Star hotel, best described as boutique and independently managed. The hotel will consist of as many as 250 guestrooms, 4,500 square feet of meeting space and 23,000 square feet of retail space. The hotel will include a signature restaurant, a rooftop bar and swimming pool and a proposed rotating art exhibit which will all be open to the public.

Holy cow a roftop bar and swimming pool sounds beyond cool. Do you think a hotel would be successful at this location? What do you think of the rendering?

36 Comment

  • Should also mention that the building it is replacing is that Rite-Aid, not any of the historic storefronts. I think it looks great and will add to the daytime foot traffic for the businesses on U Street.

  • I like it. Looks very traditional. But I’m a little worried about the first floor retail because it looks like the standard multi-bay concept used in all the new condo/apartment buildings, and it just isn’t very inspiring either while inside or out. The Ellington across the street has the same thing, and its just so blah. I’m not sure if I have a better idea, though, and is about a 200000 times better than whats there now.

  • Not sure if the hotel will do well there, but its certainly good for the block and whatnot. The hotel will be out of the downtown / federal meeting area, so it may hurt for clientele. Dupont has numerous boutique types of hotels and a couple major chains, but 13th and U ain’t Dupont. If the rooms were priced right it might do well as a party / social destination, ideal for concerts and the like. If it goes top-tier in terms of pricing it will fail as that sort of spender wants to be closer to the capital and K street and farther from the seedier urban aspects (bums and occasional violence etc). IMHO… If they managed to make locals pay for pool access, that would be bank. Actually, even if you just had to rent a room for a day for the pool, I might do that. Come August I am pretty feral and looking for anything to cool off!

  • Presumably they are aiming for the “hip” tourists, along the lines of the Gansevoort in New York’s meatpacking district. It will be interesting to see if the model works in DC!

  • That’s just up the street from where the historic Whitelaw Hotel was located. It catered to an affluent African-American clientel when DC was still segregated; a hotel at 14th and U would probably target a similar demographic. There’s a lot of history on U Street.

  • This is great news! And I think it will do well — there is no other large hotel servicing an area with a huge population and a large, and growing, list of attractions …

  • I think it would do great considering tourist do not only want visit museums. Alot of people around the world would like to see what the real nightlife and everyday life is like in dc. I for one, love to visit trendy areas of differnt cities around the world and so do many of my friends

  • Its a sexy looking building if you ask me. and I think it will actually do very well. Right by the metro and tourists are already venturing more and more into u street for the shopping and bens. The Hotel will do amazing things for the economy of U street as toursist always eat out and shop.

  • How can a hotel with 250 rooms describe itself as “boutique” with a straight face?

    Good addition to the ‘hood, though.

  • Yeah its a little big to be a “boutique” hotel but compared to the Omni and Marriott in Woodley Park which both have over 1,250 rooms its not that big. I think they are just using the word boutique to market themselves as an independent urban hotel. you know. set themselves apart from the likes of Holiday in and Ho Jos

  • Of course the NIMBY anti-development folks are already screaming about this. Same old, same old. I live 5-6 blocks from the site and welcome the development. Finally, a place were my friends and family can stay that’s in walking distance.

  • I love the hotel, great for the areas business and home values. Unfortunately I hate the roof bar nonsense. Too loud. Us neighbors already shot down Black Cat’s roof proposal and that would have held 200. Pool…cool. Bar…sucks!

  • As long as Creme and Al Crostino will be able to stay open, I’m not totally against it. However, I am not excited about tourists crowding my neighborhood. I thought when moving here that I’d be moving away from the tourists.

  • Just remember that any time you visit another city, you’re a tourist too. And I somehow doubt there are going to be strollers and fanny packs prevelant at this particular hotel. I also don’t think another 200 people will kill you, but it will help businesses tremendously. The tiny inconvenience to you (if any) will be outweighed by the benefit for smallbusinesses, the city, and the street level vibrancy this project will provide.

  • I love people who move to an entertainment corridor and then do their best to restrict it. Joe Englert better build all his roof decks on Hstreet now before the yuppie nimbys show up and prevent anything else cool from happening.

  • In the hospitality world, “boutique” refers to ownership and character, not number of rooms. A boutique hotel can still have hundreds of rooms. There are numerous published works that describe the boutique hotel in greater detail.

    I think it will be a great addition to this neighorhood. I often utilize travel message boards when I’m planning trips and I always see requests from fellow travelers looking for hotels that aren’t chains or 5-star $500/night but are still in good locations for entertainment, shopping, and transit.

  • If this goes up, say goodbye to Chix, Indulj, Liv, and The Greek Spot and a lot of the other non-chain businesses.

  • Anything, any-thing, is better than that hideous and useless Rite-Aid. And, it looks like a classy building that will fit in nice in the neighborhood.

  • Soho dnd Tribeca Grand Hotels in New York have 365 rooms 201 rooms, respectively and are very much boutique hotels. Not sure number of rooms is a discriminator for boutiqueness.

  • agreed anon 10:44. this hotel will cater to a very distinct group of tourists.

  • @10:44 & 12:42, Not with 250 rooms it won’t. They are going to need to fill those rooms, and there aren’t enough hipsters who visit DC to keep these rooms filled. About the only thing that may help is that I bet rates will be quite ‘spensive. Still, as long as its not taller than the Ellington across the street, I’m pretty much in favor of it, but I am worried that a number of businesses will soon be replaced by more expensive versions. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saloon just ups and leaves out of disgust (like it did to Georgetown a long long time ago).

  • Also agree with anon @ 10:44. I wouldn’t worry too much u street girl; this will be really good for the neighborhood, and do not anticipate national mall tourists to be staying here. I’m thinking more like philadelphia people down to party for a weekend or a couple here to see a show at studio theatre and want to make it a romantic overnight, etc. I bet the largest portion of customers come from less than 150 miles away.

    HOWEVER: If you are for this project, get involved in the hearings that will get it through. Opposition NIMBYs are much better at organizing and getting out to oppose these things (Read: The Wisconsin Avenue Giant). If you want to see great projects like this get through, YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR SUPPORT KNOWN!

    If we don’t support these initiatives, I guarantee you this fails.

  • I would also like to see a hotel open up in that area- when my family comes to visit the best I can do to separate them from the convention/tourist crowd is to put them up in DuPont, which isn’t much separation… I’ll bet they get a lot of business from events connected to Howard, 930 club, area theaters, and the “visiting family”/”I want to visit real DC” travelers….

  • @2:02–Ugh, if its tourists from less than 150 miles away, then that means they are more likely to be driving in (Philly travellers, if they take the train, excepted), which means that whether you support it or not, we’re going to have to be extra vigilent about curb cuts and where and how these cars will enter a parking garage. I’m for it, but don’t fool yourself into thinking its not going to be national mall tourists. This will be such a well-located hotel (super easy access to national airport, as well as the national mall via the archives station, and even for people that may be coming into town to watch large concerts or sporting events (like the NCAA tournament, when it eventually returns)), that I can’t see how general tourists wouldn’t want to stay there. I mean, you don’t even need to change metro lines, which, as we all know, is a major problem for most out-of-town visitors (150-mile bubble visitors or not).

  • With room rates sky-high throughout the District, it’d probably be a great success (and it’s always nice to have more eyes on the street along that stretch).

    However, with a relatively well-heeled, semi-captive audience, restaurants on those blocks would have something of a disincentive to keep the quality high. Ben’s would do some very strong business with tourists who don’t know any better.

  • Since the inauguration, Ben’s has been ridiculously crowded on the weekend. Why anyone would wait in such a line, especially out in the cold, is beyond me. It’s like Magnolia’s bakery or Grimaldi’s pizza in NY. U street is a mass-tourist destination, whether you want to believe it or not. I hope this hotel will spur the Lincoln theater into some more interesting performances.

  • I think it would be a great addition to the neighborhood on many levels. Keep in mind that a large reason Adams Morgan has struggled so much in retaining retail is that there is no day-time traffic to support the shops and other retail while the sun shines. A 250 room hotel however will provide just that sort of people traffic that will encourage and support a healthy mix of stores so that at the end of the day we’re not stuck with a strip of bars on U Street that encourages nothing but drunken insanity. Also keep in mind that local zoning laws limit the amount of bars and restaurants that can open on U street, so the corridor will need to be able to support more than just taverns.

    I attended the CSNA meeting when JBG first presented this hotel; most people attending were supportive, especially some local business owners who reiterated my thoughts above. In any event, put your thoughts on the CSNA page that POP links to above; it’s a site run by your local officials and it’s a great way to let them know what you do and do not want in your city.
    I just hope your message is one of support 🙂

  • Speaking of Adams Morgan hotels – does anyone know what the latest is on the proposed Marriott on the corner of Euclid and Champlain?


  • @ Eric in ledriot:

    Amen, brother. NIMBYS: You live in a city. Deal with it or move to Bowie. This place is so much harder on development than anywhere else i’ve ever lived.

  • I can think of two notrious nimbys in DC. one in Tenley Town responsible for killing a 70 unit condo project slated to go up above the old Babes Billiards. One in Mount P. who is basically responsible for the way MTP looks right now. I wont mention their names cause lets be honest. Power Trippin Nimby Bitches love to bask in the hate rays sensible people send their way. The thing is the city needs to just limit the rights they have. Zone things properly. call it matter of right. and tell the nimbys to go blow.

  • Anon 6:05 – if you’re going to argue matter of right, you should know that the site is NOT zoned for a 150 ft building. Matter of right is closer to 80 ft, which is much more in keeping with the scale of the neighborhood and is definitely still a sizable property.

    I love the hotel idea and wouldn’t mind the variance to the zoning to accommodate the height if the architecture weren’t so DULL. This design looks like it belongs in Clarendon (or some other fill-in-the-blank generic downtown anywhere in the country) – not in an interesting and funky historic DC neighborhood. Properties like the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica, the Tribeca and Soho Grand hotels in New York and the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco are much better examples of hotels that both bring both business AND architectural creativity to their neighborhoods.

  • I don’t think the rendering is entirely generic. The level of detail is greater than some of the other “luxury” condo or mixed use development renderings I’ve seen recently on PoP.

    One thing everyone should realize is that the rendering is VERY schematic. This development has years of design work that has to happen before it gets built. The renderings will change substantially in that time. For now, the developer has hired an architect or a renderer to draw something to show the public. Their instructions were probably “10 story building measuring x feet by x feet with retail storefronts on the first level and a prominent entry with Georgian detailing”. And that’s it. The renderer probably had no more than 24 hours to draw this.

    Don’t get too comfortable with this rendering because if this is ever built it will probably change substantially as the city approvals get through and the developer studies the market and the neighborhood in more detail.

  • each person bitching about nimbys need to check themselves. just because someone is against particular aspects of a new enterprise (rooftop bar) doesn’t deem someone as a nimby. living in the city doesn’t mean we have to prescribe to noise until the wee hours. come on! Maybe an enclosed rooftop bar is the compromise. Win-Win!

  • I live in the Ellington now and have had no plans to leave… I will as soon as they break ground on this monstrosity. I am not against it from a community development stand point, but I certainly don’t want to hear that construction for a solid 18 months all to lose my view of the city from my roof. Thank god I am just renting!

  • “Columbia Heights Dude” left the same message at the site. Can you say “PR blitz by the developer.” Come on!

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