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Rendering and Plans for Development at 13th and U Street, NW

by Prince Of Petworth February 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm 44 Comments

13th and U Street, NW

A few folks have written about the Zoning placards posted at 13th and U Street, NW:

There is a website with tons of info devoted to this development:

13th&U is envisioned as an eight-story residential building with ground-floor retail and underground parking. The building will accommodate approximately 135 residential units and 16,000 square feet of convenient neighborhood retail. It will be 90 feet tall, with the majority of the massing set back from the front and rear property lines. The exterior design takes its cues from many of Washington DC’s iconic residential buildings.

13th&U construction is expected to commence in June 2013, with completion expected by early 2015.

Updates as construction begins.

Rendering Courtesy of JBG

  • Anon

    I like it. It’s classic and elegant and has balconies. It’s going to class up that corner a lot.

  • NoLongerNew2CH

    It certainly makes sense to have a large (albeit generic, is there an allergy to interesting contemporary architecture in that area of DC?) residential building there. But is there EVER going to be any effort to do anything about the parking quagmire that already exists around U Street? Tons of new restaurants and bars in the works, two enormous new residential buildings, already a parking disaster, lots of entertainment venues in the area, and not ONE proximate parking garage (that is not for building residents). Even with a lot of good public transit options in that area, and of course using public transit should be encouraged, it would make sense to have at least ONE parking structure for the many people who go to shows at 9:30, Black Cat, U Street Music Hall, etc. etc. …

    • Anonymous

      reeves center has parking.

    • If you are asking if there will be a public parking garage built at U St? The answer is most certainly a big no. After the debacle that is the DC USA Parking lot, I am not certain DC will ever subsidize another parking structure, nor should they.

      I am very happy to see this. There should NEVER be a 1-story CVS right on top of a metro station. I am looking at you ParkView CVS, and Van Ness Walgreens. DC should just stop approving these things.

      • Anonymous

        we still need parking garages.
        many people still drive. and metro sucks.

        • So find an investor, buy a lot… Profit?

          My comment was that the city is never going to build another public parking garage. Nor should they. If you want to visit U St, you can take a bus, you can CaBi, you can (gasp) take Metro, or you can park further and walk.

          • Or a taxi, or a rickshaw taxi, or Uber, or any other number of options that don’t waste valuable real estate on part-time parkers from the suburbs….

            Like Kyle said – if you’re so sure a parking lot would be a good investment, put on your construction helmet and start building it. Seems pretty clear that the market rent for parking spaces would not pay for one, otherwise there’d be several in that area.

            One comment/question tho – doesn’t the Lincoln theatre have a huge parking lot in the back of it? And if it’s not open to the public for parking at night, why not? It’s a DC building, right?

          • Anonymous

            Extremism is wonderful.
            I know many dream that we are a large metropolis with walkable everything. But it’s simply not true. Yes, we can walk, bike, taxi, über, bus, and train to a lot of the city. I can, thankfully walk to u street, but half of the city own cars, and most in the metro area own cars. We are still a pretty small city, and the metro area is huge. As a long time DC resident I really want those suburban tax dollars coming into the city. Personally, I would love to see a public garage in the middle of h ne, and at the eastern end of u street. The new thing of making permit only parking zones is a bad thing, though necessary for residents happiness. It is making driving harder. I know that sounds great, but it pushes many away from our retail corridors. Of course DC USA was a fiasco, it was way over built. That extreme is not necessary. Do I think we are far too car oriented? Yes. We are, and it is disgusting. But to go the extreme in the opposite direction is our current obsession.
            My opinion is that somewhere in the middle is the right solution.
            Our newest attempt at urban renewal needs to take into account the realities of our lives.

          • This area is imminently walkable.

            How is it extreme to say that the city should not spend millions of dollars on a parking garage? I agree, people from outside of the area need to be able to get to an area, so DC buys up a quarter acre, and builds a 150 spot garage, costing 15 million dollars. You then have extra cars driving to the area, exacerbating traffic. That lot is then full. What then? This would be an absurd boondoggle. Transportation and a way to get around are certainly a public good, but parking, certainly is not, especially .3 miles from a metro station.

            The city should take that same .25 acre lot that would have parked 150 cars, sell it for 4 million to a developer, and have an 8 story building with 200 new taxpaying residents. If the developer wants to pay to put in a parking garage, more power to them. Sure, people from out of the city are good, but taxpaying residents are much, much better.

          • Agreed with Kyle-W and Annonny.

            If a developer wants to build a parking garage, they can go for it.

            Anonymous’s assumption is that car-drivers and suburbanites want/need to drive to U Street.

            I live in D.C. and have a car. The only time I drive to the U Street area is if I’m going to a weeknight event and want to stay out past the 12:30ish time of the last northbound train. Otherwise, I take Metro.

            If I were a suburbanite, I’d drive to my nearest Metro with parking, park there, and take Metro in.

            The concern over parking on H Street NE is more valid, at least for the time being. The streetcar should help immensely, but right now it’s not especially easy to get to H Street NE by public transportation.

      • Anonymous

        “There should NEVER be a 1-story CVS right on top of a metro station.”

        Why not?

        • anon from Park View

          I think Kyle-W’s point was that development near Metro stations ought to aim for higher density.

          In general, I agree with this… but given how many vacant storefronts there are along Georgia Avenue, I’m not entirely sure that this would be a case of “If you build it [retail, residential, or mixed-use], they will come.”

          My understanding was that CVS was something that the ANC worked really hard to bring to the area. In an area with far too many mini-marts specializing in junk food and lottery tickets, the CVS — with real food as well as junk food, plus a pharmacy, etc. — was much wanted.

  • Anonymous

    damn! bringing the city uptown! goodbye small town u street.

  • Monkeyrotica

    So they’re going to level the CVS and sow salt so no other CVS grows there again, right?

    • U Street area resident

      What are you talking about? This corner has a Rite-Aid, not no fancypants CVS. And no amount of salt, garlic, or chicken skulls can ward off the Rite-Aid curse. It’s coming back like kudzu and going into the ground floor of this building. Much like Louis XIV on 14th and U could not extinguish the McDonald’s pustule.

  • What’s interesting to me is that the building they are knocking down doesn’t even look that old. That’s perhaps 10-12 years old, if that?

    The economics are so in favor of housing that it makes sense to knock down a large, recently built commercial strip (which they might even still be paying off to the bank!) and replacing it with an apartment tower.

    If anything, this goes to show that developers are making an absolute killing right now. If you’re buying new construction, I’d take a hard tack at negotiations.

    • Anonymous

      it’s about 20 years old.

      • Thanks, it’s difficult to tell. Perhaps it recently had a facelift.
        The fact of the matter is that the building is still in good shape, yet they are knocking it down as quickly as they can. That’s a very convincing profit motive.

        • Anonymous

          it has classic 80’s style take on retro.

        • Anonymous

          it’s not about the shape the building is in. it’s about how its configured. multistory density here makes eminent sense and thank god the city is going to be forced to let them do it. building metro stations without allowing dense development w/o parking around them is lunacy.

          • Anonymous

            I’m fairly sure I remember that Rite-Aid building being built. So 15 years old or less. Maybe even 10.

    • Anonymous

      I remember when they built the rite aid building it was only intended to be a short term structure, I think the term is a “tax building” like the building that stood at 888 madison ave. in NYC now home to the RL Polo company.

      • Really interesting.
        Was this done so the owner could avoid the blight tax?


        • Anonymous

          From my understanding it’s to avoid paying tax (whatever kind) for the land to sit under used until it’s ready for major development. Like a place holder that pays you just enough to let it just sit there.

  • Looks fantastic!

  • I’m fine with this. It’s right above a metro. The city needs more TOD appropriate development in areas like this.

  • Anonymous

    The NIMBYs on Wallach are going bonkers over this.

    • Oh man, this borders their back alley. That entire block will have synchronized aneurysms.

      • hotel

        The sad thing is that I believe the initial plan was for a 4 star hotel, but few NIMBYs blocked that. I am sure an apartment building is not a better use for the spot given there are many apartments buildings in close proximity. Apartment building also generates a greater demand for parking in the area mainly Wallach place.

        • Oh wow, that sucks! U Street could certainly use a nice hotel and that would be great for the local businesses.

          AirBnB prices are REALLY high for the U Street area. Lots of younger weekend visitors want to stay in this ‘hood. A hotel would have made perfect sense.

    • Anonymous

      lol +1

  • ggdc

    I like it as well. Too bad a studio will probably be $2,500+/month.

  • Anonymous

    It’s upsetting to me that the designers of this building are jacking the swagger of DC’s “iconic residential buildings” just so that they can make a profit! Is this development owned by iconic residential buildings? How do local, non-iconic buildings that have been there forever feel about this?

    • U Street area resident

      I’ve been living in my 19th century “iconic residential building” for 12 years. I am happy to see this corner developed and ashamed of the NIMBYs who opposed the initial hotel concept and kept fighting developers until they were allowed to practically design the building themselves.

      I’ve seen wave after wave of newcomer arrive and decide that nothing can change once they’ve moved in. People in 2004 condo buildings opposed the 2006 condo buildings and those residents opposed the 2010 and so on. Ridiculous.

  • More tiny and faux balconies. Grrrr-eat.

    • Anonymous

      they look nice to me.

    • Developers slap up this crappy new construction to meet demand, fill their cheapo units with whatever the travertine-of-the-moment is and encase it all in a boring, derivative exterior. Everyone cheers because it’s so much better than whatever is there right now! And we build the slums of tomorrow basically block-by-block.

  • Anon

    Will it be rentals or purchases?

  • Logan Res

    It was going to be a great hotel but the Wallach Street Gladys Kravitz group made such a fuss that it’s now going to be apartments. I hear they are even more t’d off. Lesson to NIMBYs…work with the developers to get good neighborhood amenities….or you’ll end up getting much worse.

  • Yee haw! So long strip-mall blight. Hello actual urban density!

    Wasn’t there some plan to put a hotel here that was ultimate quashed by the ANC/Wallach Place mafia? I guess apartments are slightly less transient/traffic producing than a hotel, but it also means no hotel bar, restaurant, etc.

    • sorry, shoulda read all the comments about Wallach NIMBYs first…..adieu nice hotel, hello “by right” development!

  • Peter

    Sorry if this was already covered, but which specific corner are we looking at in the rendering?

    • Southwest corner of 13th & U. Looks like they will knock down the Rite-Aid and the restaurants & LBGT community center that are along U Street to the west of the pharmacy.

  • Gabe Asher

    Will the Rite-Aid be relocating? Will they be part of the new development? It’s actually one of the nicer drug stores in the area.


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