New Condos Coming to 14th and S St, NW

Rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Architects

Wed. morning there was a ceremony announcing the launch of this new project. Was it worth getting completely soaked? No, but I am excited about the project. I think it’s going to inject a lot of life into this section of 14th St.

So, what do you think of the rendering? Think it’s a good fit for the 14th Street corridor?

Details from a press release:

The JBG Companies and Grosvenor announce plans for a premier mixed-use residential and retail development.

Located in the heart of Logan Circle, the new glass, metal and terracotta structure will incorporate the historic building that once housed the Whitman-Walker Clinic. It will span the entire block of 14th Street NW between S and Swann streets NW. Construction on the project is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2012.

The development was designed by Shalom Baranes Architects, one of the area’s most prolific designers, known for its innovative style and extensive historic preservation experience. When completed, the building will be seven stories and will offer 125 sleek condominium residences. The renowned Toronto-based interior design firm, Cecconi Simone Inc., selected all of the building’s interior finishes and designed the unit layouts and all common area spaces, including a lobby lounge, fitness center and extensive rooftop terrace. Building features include a glass and terracotta façade with balconies and private unit terraces. An elaborate rooftop terrace amenity area will feature outdoor living rooms, an outdoor kitchen and bar, a fire pit, water feature and a sundeck. The first floor will have 18,000 square feet of retail space.

The future District Condos, view from S St, NW

Current view on 14th St, NW

45 Comment

  • Nooooo. We’re losing the charm to the commercial condo with retail above paradigm. Who is responsible for this??

  • Great fit for the area. 14th street is filling up nicely. What is up with the Swan Auto Dealer at the intersection of Swan and 14th? Who owns it now? Any plans in the works yet?

  • Too bad the Whitman-Walker clinic just can’t generate as much tax revenue as condos.

    But hooray for anti-retroviral therapy making AIDS less likely too be a painful early death.

  • what’s the “affordable component”?

  • Anonymous #1 – The return of mix-used space (retail below, residential above) is the future of urban design and planning – needing to correct the mistakes we’ve made for over the last 50 years when it comes to city planning (causing urban sprawl). The trick is to get in good retail/commercial businesses that animate the area – that is where we seem to be missing the boat in DC still…

    • Good point, but this development fails to provide an adequate thoroughfare for hovercars. We’re only staving off antiquatedness for a measly 65 years at best. Oh, and add jet bike racks.

      Nah, I agree with you. The Romans had similar designs, so I think it’s ingrained somehow in how we “hive” — only difference is that some of their shop-level space was set aside for wealthy renters. Nowadays, it’s inverted — penthouse is luxury.

  • I am so tired of all the new construction looking like it belongs in downtown Silver Spring 🙁

    • +1. Shalom Baranes Architects are exceptionally good at process, and less so at actual architecture. They know exactly who to lawyer up and how to conform to the arbitrary guidelines set forth by NIMBY ANCs and end up churning out the exact same thing wherever they get a contract. The old plans for this site were much more interesting.

    • Have you ever really been to downtown Silver Spring? All of Colesville Rd needs to be razed and redone.

  • Awesome if I can afford one on a federal salary.

  • I think this is good news. It’s great that they will be building an apt/condo unit at this location and including space for retail.

    However, the design is less than desirable. Is it even possible to have new buildings in this city designed in such a way that they are still modern to the core, but which are more aesthetically charming on the outside? Must these design consistently contrast with everything around them? Why not create a design which potentially fits in with the surrounding landscape? Why must our new apt buildings be ultra-fugly modern and sit on the corners of blocks which have turn-of-the-century design?

    I hope someone can agree with me on this, because this rendering looks like EVERY other new building in this city, and I wouldn’t want to live in one. They are already looking dated to me, and have never been aesthetically appealing.

    • I’m sure the same was said when that garish building that holds Whitman Walker was put up next to older victorian townhouses. Stuff changes.

      • Agreed. I think the Whitman Walker Clinic isn’t terribly beautiful, but this firm could at least make an attempt at softening the look of the new design.

        I would take the Clinic building over this newer space any day.

  • “the new glass, metal and terracotta structure will incorporate the historic building that once housed the Whitman-Walker Clinic”

    Incorporate? Looks to me like it is an afterthought bike shed on the end of the building. These urban developers stink at urban in-fill projects here in DC, no creativity, and the same ground floor retail concepts that work so great. Notice how the ground floor space at the view 5 blocks north still isn’t leased? Take a hint from the rest of 14th street, mixed-use doesn’t have to mean one on top of the other.

  • It’s evident the peanut gallery dislikes the aesthetics of this building. Can they provide examples of recent construction buildings of the same size in other cities they approve of?

    • The answer to this is no. People like to bitch in the abstract. The examples of “better” below are mainly rehabbed historic buildings that have been brushed up, gutted, and put to a new use. Obviously not possible on this block. Shalom has some pretty good designs out there: they rehabbed the columbia woman’s hospital (where Trader Joes is) without ruining the historic structure; they also made a pretty edgy design at 22 West (above the Exxon in the West End). So let’s not say all their stuff looks the same, because those 2 buildings are night and day. They just delivered what the developer wanted and your officials at the Historic Preservation Board approved it (Design was more modern back in the day, the HPRB made them redesign it make it look “ike it belongs in downtown Silver Spring).

      Ah, it doesnt matter, so long as things are changing, people are complaining. What charm is being taken away by this building? The dilapidated laundromat? The one story brick building next door with no windows and a camera over the door? That is better? Are you serious?

      • Just because what currently exists is really bad does not excuse or justify a mediocre development. No, this building is not removing any charm; it is, however, being built at the expense of something better. This building could be built anywhere in Washington. 14th Street is a special street that deserved more.

        There are lots of examples of developments all across America that you could bring up, but this being a blog, I don’t think most of the commentariat care enough. I, for one, really like this live/work project in Portland and the Thin Flats in Philadelphia. At least these projects are challenging the cityscape instead of blandly conforming to the accepted status quo.

        For an area as vibrant and diverse as 14th Street, this project is crap. The HPB and ANCs have way too much say in this stuff for being only vaguely representative.

    • I was thinking the same thing as I was reading.

      I personally like it when time moves forward. Change it not so bad.

      As for the bike shed – well they could have just cut it down.

  • Why do all of these buildings look absolutely exactly the same?!

    • It’s the height limits in DC. The developers are restricted in how many floors they can build up, so they build these ugly Borg Cubes to wring every last square foot of building space out of the lot.

  • “This is my District”

    Very Orwellian and disturbing. The days of people jogging their mutts at 3am and overpriced tapas are upon us.

  • Well, this is what you get when you try to compromise between modern design and “historical elements”: a glass block sheathed in retro brick. I’d actually prefer to see something more uncompromisingly modern, but Washingtonians are generally afraid of cutting edge architecture.

  • I don’t think this is not cutting edge architecture. It has no taste, and seems cheaply made in an cookie-cutter fashion.

    Here is an example of new residential spaces created on the Hill. It doesn’t incorporate retail space, but I think it’s a great example of what can potentially be done in this area:

    Other examples of buildings that could look nice in that spot:

  • First, 14th Street is already established as a major commercial / residential corridor, and especially with this spot so close to the metro, it makes total sense to build a large building like this there.

    The design isn’t horrific or anything, but yeah, it’s kinda blah. It think the nicest contemparary residential buildings in the area are the View 14 building and the building on 11th and Florida next to the Florida Grill. So there are some nice buildings being constructed. I generally think the Donatelli buildings are attractive as well. And Union Row is not bad at all, with some very nice elements especially that interior court yard space.

  • I think part of the design issue is that everyone thinks new condos have to have walls of windows. I personally don’t like to live in an glass box like a pet turtle and would actually prefer a condo that had smaller, windows — not suburban house size tiny windows, but a better wall to window ratio (sounds crazy, but look at the Arragon or whatever it is called in Adam’s Morgan for a good example). If new development had more brick and less glass walls, I think the above critics would like it better and it would fit better with the current look of the street.

    But, I fear I am in the minority in my window preference. To sell high-end condos today you need floor to ceiling windows.

    • +1 I don’t get the appeal of floor-to-ceiling windows, esp if you’re not on a high floor (4th or above)

    • No, I totally agree with you. I’d have no idea how to decorate a place with that much glass. I like having walls.

    • Better to look up your skirt with, my dear. Only hot guys with perfect abs who like to walk around in a tiny towel should be allowed to rent the window units on the first couple of floors.

      • See, that’s the problem with glass houses. Today, abs of steel. Tomorrow, a few years of tapas and microbrews, love handles of cellulite.

        The developer is restricting this to beautiful people, right?

      • I love it. I really feel like it’s the final evolution of window design. You can always draw a curtain or three to diminish light or increase privacy, but you can never “un-draw” a window. You can adapt it to almost any preference.

        • Where do you hang your art in a place like this? Or put the china cabinet? That’s my problem. That and my mid-section flab.

  • love it. you people are nuts.

  • i think the design looks good. i dont understand why people dont like it.

    now this building is awful, bland and belongs in the burbs:,+Washington+D.C.,+District+of+Columbia&ll=38.918384,-77.027013&spn=0.013172,0.027466&z=16&layer=c&cbll=38.917619,-77.027033&panoid=ARo_ox57vn0_1o8DAliVLw&cbp=12,279.69,,0,-6.46

    • I have always thought the Lincoln was ugly and its exterior wall surfaces very cheap looking, but I’ll bet at the time they were built they were pioneering for the U Street corridor.

  • yes, those are great modern designs you point to, and yes they would be better than the brick, window bay, prarie school-type architecture that every new development in DC has (horizontal lines, flat roofs with broad overhanging eaves, windows grouped in horizontal bands), but GOOD LUCK getting those plans approved. Ain’t gonna happen. And if it does, there will be people on here complaining about how it isnt turn of the century sensitive.

  • Parking?

  • Historic Preservation District = “Architecture” by Committee. Therefore, don’t expect much. Then again, if it’s old it must be better. We need more red brick and federalist/victorian buildings.

  • There’s Prairie School architecture in DC? where?

  • This building is designed by a very well known Washington firm that does very nice, yet very modern work. While the new building mostly ignores the elegant details and design present in the historic fabric, it will be leaps and bounds an improvement over what is there. It’s a B-, on the hottest day of the year. While that stretch of the street will now be far better served by a taller building with great urban ground use, our fascination in society with soulless glass boxes is weighing heavily on my soul.

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