2 More Big Groundbreakings – O St Market and Howard Theater

A few readers note that there are two more huge groundbreakings that took place this week. A few weeks ago I posed a FQotD asking which projects will have the biggest impact on their surrounding communities (most voted O St. Market and McMillian Filtration Site).

Yesterday we finally saw the O St. Market break ground. We learned that, “The first phase of construction – to be completed in 2013 – will include the new Giant store, 395 apartments, a 190-room hotel and 500 parking spaces. The second phase of construction will bring 80 units of affordable housing for seniors and a 130-unit condominium building.”

Full press release:

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today joined officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) Valerie Santos and the Shaw community to break ground on a long-awaited 1 million square foot development expected to bring vital economic opportunities to the neighborhood in the form of commercial, hotel and housing space.

“Shaw is one of the District’s revered historic communities,” said Mayor Fenty. “My administration is committed to investing in development that extends economic opportunities into our most cherished neighborhoods.”

Shaw residents have long called for the redevelopment of the O Street Market area. The Fenty administration committed $35 million in tax increment financing (TIF) and $2.5 million in predevelopment funds for the project.

Situated on two blocks between 7th and 9th Streets and O and P Streets, NW, the CityMarket at O project will include more than 87,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and more than 600 units of residential and affordable housing. First constructed in 1881, the historic O Street Market will be reconstructed and incorporated into a new 71,000 square foot Giant Food Store.

CityMarket at O will have major economic benefits for the surrounding community, producing up to 390 full time jobs and up to 500 construction jobs. The Roadside Development team has given over a quarter of a million dollars back to the neighborhood in the form of scholarships, donations and amenities to local resident programs. Additionally, both Roadside Development and Giant have committed to recruiting and hiring Shaw residents for CityMarket at O.

The first phase of construction – to be completed in 2013 – will include the new Giant store, 395 apartments, a 190-room hotel and 500 parking spaces. The second phase of construction will bring 80 units of affordable housing for seniors and a 130-unit condominium building.

“This project represents true collaboration between the community and the public and private sectors,” said Deputy Mayor Santos. “The creation of a great new grocery store as part of this exciting mixed-use development demonstrates the District’s commitment to increasing resident access to quality retail across all of our neighborhoods.”

And this morning at 10:30am there was a groundbreaking for the Howard Theater at 620 T Street, NW. Council Member Graham tells us:

” The Howard Theatre Restoration Foundation and the Howard Theatre Community Committee will announce the year-long, $28-million restoration tomorrow at 10:45 in front of the Howard Theatre.

Council Member Graham has fought for more than a decade to get the Howard Theatre restored. Over his entire term he has gotten passed millions in grant appropriations and tax incentives culminating in a partnership with Ellis Development. The new Howard Theatre will include a museum, banquet hall and the most technologically advanced acoustic and video recording equipment. The theatre is scheduled to be fully restored by November 2011.

The concrete base covering the original façade of the Howard Theatre is in the process of being removed exposing the original exterior for the first time in decades.”

A great week for Shaw!

15 Comment

  • Anyone happen to know the story behind why the original facade of the Howard Theater was covered in concrete? Is this true? And if so, what would prompt anyone to do such a thing? Preservation? with concrete?

  • The Theatre is an eyesore but 28 million for “a museum, banquet hall and the most technologically advanced acoustic and video recording equipment.”

    Is that a lot of bang for the buck in terms of community impact no housing / no retail. Will it create much foot traffic?

    • Nothing about this makes sense, and it will be a miserable failure. However, because of all the history in this building, it is an extremely attractive target for politicians to load up with all sorts of ridiculous concepts that will end up dark 350 nights a year.

      • In any event, a renovated building will be better than what is there now, even if it is little-used. Hopefully the planned new construction around the metro station will follow in short order.

      • Completely agree.

        A bunch of people with no financial interests and minimal business experience started throwing out dumb ideas and eventually something stuck. After renovation, this place will be mostly empty and host some small community meetings and stuff like that from time to time. That is not a good use of $28 million.

        If they really want to renovate it, they should open it for proposals and give it for free/nominal cost to the best proposal. And if the winner fails to follow through, they should take it back as well as fine the hell out of them – not let them sit on it like the guy who owns the firehouse on N. Capitol…

      • I’m not sure I agree with you. This is important to the history of the area. If it drives foot traffic with small performances even just two nights a week it’s worth keeping if you ask me. I’m sure you’d prefer more condos / increased density / blah blah but this will be an important piece of the urban fabric, perhaps differentiating the area from oh, say BALLSTON.

  • Dont let common sense stand in the way of a dream. FOR GLORY!!

  • Those photos are old. You can see the outlines of the restoration beginning if you go by the building. The windows were blocked in the 50’s to make it look more Art Deco.

    Skeptics be ready to eat your words, this looks like a real, viable plan. PoP ought to talk to the team about their plans and schedule.

  • I’ll believe this when i see the klieg lights on opening night.

  • The yuppies are so negative! Who knows, perhaps the place can be used by the community for a variety of things and some creative individual can leverage the building to host a product that actually contributes something to our often vapid culture here. Just because you guys lack the vision doesn’t mean that others do too.

    Well, that, or maybe some bricks and scraps can fall on some of the wastes of space that hang out on that block all day and throw trash on the ground. I mean, seriously, there are like four trash cans in the area and people still feel the need to drop garbage on the ground. Disgusting.

  • It seems like the Lincoln Theater is underutilized already, you can count the events there per month on one hand. I figure the Howard will do about as well, which is, not well at all.

  • interesting article about white people listening to the blues:

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