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JBG Now Planning Residential Building for 13th and U St, NW

by Prince Of Petworth April 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm 28 Comments

Last night JBG had a meeting with neighbors about their plans for 13th and U St, NW (currently home to Rite Aid). At one point they had hoped to build a hotel. A reader who attended the meeting sends his summary:

JBG announced that they are now proposing a residential building at the corner of 13th and U instead of a hotel like they had originally planned. JBG and the Architect said that the hotel required a certain amount of density and height – which in the past had been the major concerns of neighboring residents. The proposed building has less height and density. Here is the breakdown:

-138 residential units – whether it will be condos or apartments is TBD by what the market dictates when the project is built
-15,000 square feet of retail
-90 in height is proposed plus the height of the penthouse
-The Alley will be wider than it exists today and the loading docks for the commercial units will be enclosed
-Architecture is similar to the original proposed hotel
-72 parking spaces are proposed which according to JBG is 10 more than what is required for this use/density
-There will be a private roof deck for the residents of the building
-The project will need to go through the PUD Process
-There will be a Community Benefit Package (requirement) but what will be in the package has not been determined
-Delivery will be in 3-4 years

JBG plans on setting up a website for correspondence with neighbors and concerned citizens.

  • classic_six

    What’s the difference between condos and apartments?

    • eric_in_ledroit

      apartments are rentals, condos are for sale.

      • classic_six

        Oh, right, of course. Thank you

      • Richko

        Except in NYC — there you have rental apartments, co-op apartments, and condo apartments.

        • CHSC

          They have co-ops in DC too…

  • Anonymous

    Good job neighbors!

    Instead of allowing a hotel that would bring trade and business in the day time to the U Street corridor, which is much needed to support 24/7 vibrancy instead of yet more bars and restaurants, we have another expensively priced residential big box!

    Hooray! And when they fill the retails bays with yet more bars and restaurants, Im sure you’ll be the first to complain that the last things U Street needs is more bars and restaurants. And I agree with you. It needs a HOTEL. That’s it. Im moving to Reston.

    • JM

      Hotels provide day-time vibrancy? Aren’t the tourists out of their rooms during the day and wandering around the Mall? And aren’t the business people in meetings in Foggy Bottom? The only reason they’d want to stay on U Street is to come back at night and eat at the bars and restaurants!

      • Anonymous

        Hotels usually host meetings too. So there would be people at the hotel during the day.

        • Annonny

          And hotel people go out for breakfast, or come back mid-day to swim in the pool, or generally spend money near the hotel, and not always on bars and food. so yea, I agree, great job nimby’s.

    • Anonymous

      I remember when the concept of a hotel in this area would have only garnered rooms to reserve by the hour… my how things have CHANGED

  • I kind of call BS on this. JBG is saying they couldn’t find a boutique hotelier that would want to operate a hotel with 138+ rooms? I bet somebody like Kimpton would (and does) opperate a hotel of that size in that neighborhood.

    • classic_six

      I think the change in plans has to do with neighborhood opposition of a hotel, not that they couldn’t find a hotelier (as you say) that would love to run and operate a hotel in the U street area.

      • Sneaky Pete

        There was very little neighborhood opposition to this project except for a couple of NIMBYs on Wallach Place. I think JBG just decided that 13th & U isn’t a great location for a hotel. If people come to DC, they want to stay either downtown or in Georgetown, because those are considered safer choices and are closer to the touristy stuff. Also, there are several large hotels (e.g. the convention center area) that are under construction and JBG probably thought that they would have a hard time filling rooms. It was a reasonable decision. Whatever they put there, will surely be an improvement over the current strip mall.

        • classic_six

          To Sneaky Pete,

          While there may have been many residents who did not oppose the idea of a hotel, this line in the release tells me that it was neighborhood opposition to a hotel: “JBG and the Architect said that the hotel required a certain amount of density and height – which in the past had been the major concerns of neighboring residents. The proposed building has less height and density” that had developers re-thinking their plan. I’m not sure that the argument that there are other hotels being built, or that 13th and U is too far from downtown/Georgetown are really strong arguments these days.

  • disappointed

    I have to say that I’m disappointed. A hotel seemed like a fabulous idea and something that is missing in the U Street area. I don’t understand the opposition.
    Maybe JBG will change their minds again…

    • Richko

      This opposition was probably small potatoes compared to what’s going on in Adams Morgan over the plans to build a hotel above the Christian Science church on Columbia Road.

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome. Residents complain about the size of the hotel, and the developer lowers this density and they get rental apartments.

    There was a similar story over on 16th street with the bed and breakfast that wanted to host parties. The neighbors were UP IN ARMS about that idea, so the bed and breakfast went under and the building was sold to the embassy of Zimbabwe which immediately chopped down all of the trees in the yard, locked the gates, and probably will let the building fall into disrepair in the next few years if (when) their country has another civil war. Nice work, nimby’s!

    Lesson learned is that when you mess with the free market you end up with something even worse in your neighborhood.

    • Michael

      That’s the Congo (Brazzaville) embassy, not Zimbabwe. Otherwise I entirely agree with you.

  • Hotel would be perfect here – kind of nutty to dismiss it. Much less need for parking for one thing. And much higher revenue. 25 nights a month at (low) price of $150.00 is $3750.00. And even when tourists spend most of the day on the mall, they do come “home,” usually exhausted, in the evening and they do like to go out to eat & drink nearby.

  • Would have been nice to have a place for my folks to stay when they visit.

    That said, props to the developer for involving the neighborhood early in the process.

    • When you need a place for your folks to stay – check homeaway.com or vrbo.com. There are at least 15 good affordable apartment rentals in the Columbia Heights/U st. area.

  • long time resident

    There was already a hotel in that general vicinity, a bit north of Howard Hospital. Howard University owned it. Never made the money to justify keeping it open (despite its usefulness for hands on training opportunities for hospitality majors), so it was converted into office space, I believe (there is a Starbucks on the ground floor, as well as a bookstore). I believe the problem then, as people state now, was that it was too far from downtown. There is also a big hotel project on the northeast part of downtown (New York and 9th), so not sure how well a hotel just a few blocks north and to the west would fare.

    • monkeyrotica

      +100. Marriot is already opening a boutique hotel right nextdoor to the Convention Center, a block from Mt Vernon Metro. And it’ll have a Hot Shoppes in the lobby.

    • Kam

      You are talking about the Howard hotel. It was on GA and Bryant NW. I am not sure exactly when it closed but I know it was open in 1995 when I got to Howard, I want to say it closed around 98, give or take a couple of years. I remember first coming here and hearing stories about the building next to the hotel on Bryant (supposedly girls got snatched up in there). It is now the Howard bookstore/Howard Center.

      The only thing wrong with your argument is that it was a different place and different time then. Half of the people on PoP, hell most of the new folks in DC were not here then and would not have lived anywhere in DC (except for the obvious areas) then. Crack houses and the like litterted U st, Vermont, 11th and the surrounding areas during that time.

      A hotel on 13th and U would definitely work well now, it is only a short cab ride to downtown for whatever business needs to be tended to (if in fact they do not do it in the hotel) and close in proximity to Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Dupont if they want to get out a bit.

  • toobad

    Disappointed it won’t be a hotel. The NIMBY folks of Wallach need stop blaming a demonizing companies like JBG, and perhaps take a few classes on the economics of propoerty development. Its people like that, all over the country, that slow economic and business development in our changing cities.

  • crumbbum

    AWFUL. let the city be the city and the suburbs be the suburbs, shit.

  • Logan Res

    I think the hotel concept would have been great but again, the two NIMBYs on Wallach have been creating a lot of fear and panic with the neighbors which led to the opposition nonsense. They are also against the proposed apartment building on 14th where the post office resides because they say it will bring in “transitional” people…aka young, urban and people of color because those units were designated as smaller, one bedrooms and studios. Now that JBG is proposing apartments for the Rite Aid side which are designed as larger 1 – 2 bedroom units, the duo is up in arms claiming that these will be unaffordable…as if they are in favor or helping others live in the community who might not afford the high rents. Bottom line is the Wallach NIMBYs are fighting these projects because they don’t want any people coming to THEIR neighborhood. Young, urban, hip, and people of color….stay away as the Wallach neighbors don’t want us.

  • Anonymous

    wait, the RITE AID is closing?


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