“will bring a 170,000 square foot community to one of the last undeveloped spaces along Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Corridor”

new 42,000 sq. ft. medical center at 1525 14th St, NW

From a press release:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton joined Executive Director of Whitman-Walker Health, Don Blanchon, and Andrew Altman – former Washington, D.C. Director of Planning who now leads urban development at Streetscape Partners – to announce a new partnership that will bring a 170,000 square foot community to one of the last undeveloped spaces along Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Corridor. The development will support the pioneering work of Whitman-Walker Health; a non-profit community health center serving the health needs of the local community.

The new community will front an entire city-block on 14th Street owned by Whitman-Walker Health. Streetscape Partners and Whitman-Walker Health are committed to creating a signature development on the property. Community-oriented retail space will be a goal of the development in an area that has seen the loss of many neighborhood-serving businesses.

After an 18-month selection process, Streetscape Partners’ creative approach to development, design and financing structure led to the real estate development firm being selected as the best partner to build a one-of-a-kind community around the current Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center (ETMC).

“Whitman-Walker has long been an indispensable health care life saver on the front lines reducing the District of Columbia’s high HIV/AIDS rate and providing other high-quality health services to our residents,” Norton said. “I am full of joy and pride to join with Whitman-Walker in dedicating its new, first-class facility to serve our community’s health care needs.”

In addition to creating a new community in one of Washington, D.C.’s most vibrant areas, the partnership structure will help sustain Whitman-Walker Health’s commitment to providing healthcare in Washington, D.C., and to meeting the health needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and people living with HIV/AIDS.

“Today marks a truly memorable day in the life of Whitman-Walker’s health center family,” said Don Blanchon, WWH Executive Director. “On the same day when we officially dedicate the new 1525 health center, we proudly announce this partnership with Streetscape Partners to revitalize the ETMC site. During the selection process, focus on community and partnership were key factors. In addition to providing a high level of professional competency, the Streetscape team is a true partner. This agreement is more than another step forward in Whitman-Walker’s continuing journey towards long-term sustainability. It is more than just another redevelopment announcement for the 14th Street corridor. It is a bold statement of Whitman-Walker’s enduring commitment to our patients and the community at large. That is why we are so excited about how a redeveloped site will contribute to the health and well-being of the community that we have called home for the past 30 years.”

Andrew Altman, principal at Streetscape Partners said. “This is a dream come true, to return to the District and have our company selected as Whitman-Walker Health’s partner on this transformational project that will make a major impact on the city; this exemplifies the values and mission-driven development philosophy that will empower our work going forward.

Andrew Altman returns to Washington, D.C. from London where, as CEO of the London Legacy Development Corporation, he led the development of the London 2012 Olympic Park—the largest regeneration project in the United Kingdom. Andrew also served as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in Philadelphia, and was the Director of the District Office of Planning where he was the visionary behind the stadium neighborhood, CityCenter and SW Wharf developments.

Andrew will manage the increasing number of urban and transit-oriented projects currently being developed by Streetscape Partners. He will lead development of the firm’s plans to build development partnerships that lead to the positive transformation of urban spaces.

Planning for the Whitman-Walker Health development is expected to be finalized next year.”

to be developed at 14th and R St, NW

27 Comment

  • they need several paragraphs to tell us they’re tearing down their old building? The new, financially stable (at least outwardly) Whitman-Walker has been accused of being out of touch with its community. the need to blather on about nothing pretty much confirms it.

  • That’s a lot of words.

  • I read it three times and I’m still not sure what it says. What is a 170,000 sq ft community?

  • More real estate brokers on 14th?

  • It’s a press release folks. PR’s are usually lengthy and everybody and anybody who’s involved in the story being reported is quoted and gets to yammer on. I’m personally happy to read this. The building is butt ugly and I’m sure they can get a lot of residential units on that block once re-developed.

    • Press releases *shouldn’t* be lengthy, but they often end up being so because The Boss wants to yammer on. Sure, that happens. Regardless, however, they should be at least minimally comprehensible; this is so horribly written that, other than the fact that they’re tearing down that old building and Whitman Walker is involved and Eleanor is happy, I have NO idea what’s going on. I could probably figure it out given two or three more reads but I slog through enough bad writing for my job to care. (And ditto Anon–what IS a 170,000 sq ft community?? Like, a dorm?)

    • But it’s so wordy I don’t understand what they are building. It sounds like a bigger health facility to me, so I’m not sure how there is room for residential units.

      • Except Whitman Walker already moved into the building above in the first photo into larger space.

        The lengthy press release aside, I basically just read this as they are allowing a developer to come in and make them a whole lot of money. No different than any other property owner on 14th Street. By all means, go for it. I read “community” as a euphemism for condos/retail.

        That all said, that building, while it pales in comparison to all the shiny new things on 14th Street, is a pretty important part of the history of Logan Circle, at least for many of us who were gay living in that neighborhood before it was so chic and desirable. It is nice to think the days of needing to go get anonymously tested and a desire to seek out a place that was judgment free may be over, I know that place was a life saver to many in this city. I am glad to see Whitman Walker thrive, but sad to see this building go/change.

        • I believe the facade of the Elizabeth Taylor building is landmarked and would need to be preserved in anything new, similar to what happened further up the street with the old El Salvadoran restaurant’s facade that’s now a part of Trader Joe’s.

  • I think I am supposed to applaud that everyone is cashing in. Hurrah?

  • Regardless of length, I agree with the other posters…this PR says nothing about what will be built. If some sort of community center, does this neighborhood really need one?

    • Seems like community is being used as a euphemism for something… not sure, but I think it says it is going to be health center.

  • I had a hard time understanding the gist of the letter too. What exactly are they building? And I would be sorry to see the old building torn down. I’ve always liked its unique curviness — vaguely Spanish colonial in style, unique in DC.

  • Nowhere were the words, “We opened a new building and are selling our square block of prime real estate,” uttered. I mean, as soon as I saw the sign in the new place, I knew this announcement was coming. Any nonprofit sitting on that property, I mean…

  • The basics are Whitman Walker owns that building (its their old facility) and parcel. Instead of selling it, they worked out a deal to be a minor development partner in the project. They will get a piece of the profits for the duration.

    Smart you say? Well, on the outset. But not once you get into the details. Whitman Walker went from the stability of owning their own facility, to the much more expensive option of leasing 42,000 SF of brand new space (at 1525) and then spending an additional 10 million building it out.

    It just became much more expensive to run that non-profit.

    So now they have a brand new and expensive annual cost burden of rent in the spendy corridor. For the money they could have made simply selling their parcel (or even just a piece of it) they could have decamped elsewhere in the city where their demographic now is, built a new facility and been debt and expense free. It will take a couple decades of them being minor development partner to see that same money.

    • Where did their demographic go, and is their demographic truly centered in one location? Our city has one of the worst HIV prevalence rates in the US, so I’d think it makes sense to keep a very geographically central location that can be reached from all over DC rather than moving to one neighborhood that has very high prevalence, but is otherwise very difficult to reach for their other clients.

      • The located there because 14th street was at the time, the poorest section of the entire city, ground zero for DCs crack epidemic and consequently (via shared needles and prostitution) HIV infections home base in DC.

        Compared to today, where 14th street is filled with million dollar condos above 20 dollar martini bars and 25 dollar tapas places 14th street is no longer DCs HIV hotbed. Whitman Walker has said many times they want to continue to be centrally located in the HIV and drug abuse community which has since moved across the river. Ward 8 is now the ward with the highest infection rate, Followed by Ward 7 and then 6. One would think that if they wanted to be easily accessible to the highest infection population, then they would locate there.

        • Um, ok, let’s not rewrite the history here. This building was opened in 1993. That’s a decade and a half after the Source Theater opened, Dupont’s gentrification was majorly underway, and Logan Circle was picking up by then too. 14th street obviously was nothing like it is today, but this wasn’t the poorest part of the city by then, if indeed it ever was. It was located here because they sought to welcome the LGBT community in an era when many health providers wouldn’t, and this was the area in which much of the LGBT community lived at the time.

          • +1

            It wasn’t located in Logan Circle because of the crack epidemic. It was located in Logan Circle because of the gay community there. And while the demographics of Logan and 14th Street have shifted, there are still many, many gay people who live there who continue to use their services. I had my first HIV test there when I was 22 years old. Many years later, I still go there for my HIV testing even though I have other options today. It’s an important part of the community, even if the community has scattered throughout the city. For years I lived on Corcoran Street just around the corner. If you walk that street, you’ll see small plaques in some of the tree boxes that memorialize the many, many gay people who lived in that neighborhood who died of AIDS. While it is lovely to see Logan Circle become such an attractive neighborhood with many amenities, I do mourn how quickly it changed and hope all these lovely young straight couples moving in understand the history of the neighborhood.

  • uggh, another popup. 14th st was so much better with the historic autoparts stores instead of these popup luxury apartment buildings.

  • And Jim Graham was down on the corner today, handing out coupons for his latest venture. It was sickening.

  • Thankfully I’m not alone in this. I thought I was having a stroke or something when reading this because goes on and on and on about nothing. Did the person who wrote this never learn about the inverted pyramid?

    Is the ETMC going to be turned into a retirement home? A flea market? Rat farm?

  • Not sure what’s worse. When everyone on Popville thinks they’re structural engineers or when everyone on Popville thinks they’re public relations professionals.

  • I remember when there was a shady liquor store on that corner of 14th and R. As teenagers we’d come in from Burke/ Springfield to buy booze there. You’d pay through a bullet proof window, and they’d then get you your booze, like a bank counter. Ahh, the late 1980’s.

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