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From the Forum – Empty lot at Florida Ave and North Capitol St.???

by Prince Of Petworth January 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm 30 Comments

Rendering via Bonstra architects

Empty lot at Florida Ave and North Capitol St.???

“Anyone know anything about the empty lot at Florida Ave and North Capitol St.?

I checked the DC zoning map, and it looks like a planned unit development (PUD) was approved way back in 2009 for a mixed-use building (residential and retail). But, obviously nothing seems to have happened since then.

I moved to the neighborhood recently and just curious if anyone has information on it!”

a reader responds:

“As a nearby resident, I received a official statement in the mail yesterday notifying me that the recently-proposed amendment to the PUD had been approved.

While I don’t have any additional information, I’m hopeful this is a sign things are at least moving in the right direction.”

Bonstra architects write:

“1600 North Capitol Washington, DC
This 7 story, 86,000 sf mixed use Planned Unit Development will provide up to 100 residential units along with streetfront retail. Two levels of below-grade parking along with a loading area will be accessed from Florida Avenue. At the North Capitol Street facade, a lively play of window bays and brick planes compliment the massing of the residential townhouse bays to the north. Its cylindrical tower directly relates to the Capitol Building to the south while containing the main building entry.”

See the full fact sheet below:

1600 North Capitol Fact Sheet (PDF)

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  • bb

    More power to ’em. Seven stories seems a little high on that particular corner, but then again the density to the east may be a better indication of what’s to come.

  • Anon

    This is totally out of character for the neighborhood. Looks like something from an office park in Rockville.

    Architects: stop thinking or claiming that you have to reference some historic DC building. I am so tired of these helicopter landing pads on top of every rounded corner.

    Please go back to the drawing board and come up with something more interesting and worthy of a major intersection in a rapidly developing neighborhood.

    • Anonymous


    • Alan

      Or like any apartment building on 16th or 14th, except you know shorter.

    • Anonymous

      what do you think it should look like?

      also, everyone should note that this was just a draft from years ago to begin discussions to get the zoning change approval.

      no way this is an end result design.

    • Anonymous

      You mean thats NOT a helicopter landing pad? I through that’s where we were heading!

    • get over yourself

      The character of the neighborhood? That intersection is filled with drunken loiterers. You need something in that corner that goes *against* the current character in that neighborhood, to foster development. I think it ups the ante and hopefully there will be more to come other than a fast food restaurant or another gas station.

  • Truxton Thomas

    That is a ghetto-ass intersection and could use some help.

  • MRD

    OMG, I so hate those halo/crown structures that architects keep putting on corner towers. hatehatehatehate. Why do these designs keep getting approved? It already looks dated.

    • Anonymous

      I think it could look cool if they mimicked a rowhouse cupola/turret to cap the rounded section. Guessing that doing so would be cost-prohibitive, however.

  • mk

    Say what you will about the architecture, it’s a million times better than an empty lot that invites crime. Imagine actually feeling safe (or at least safer) walking by this corner after dark! Fingers crossed this is really happening, because it will do wonders for the neighborhood and for the development of North Capitol Street.

    • Anon

      Yes, safety will no doubt be improved by a building over an empty lot, but that’s a false choice. That land is now worth a lot of money and will be developed. So it’s a good development vs a bad one, and this rendering is not the best choice for the spot.

  • ShawGuy

    I like the idea generally, but am I the only one that saw that rendering and the first thing I thought was “Welcome to the ribbon cutting for the new Rich Dead Person’s Name Center for Cancer / Other Important Cause”? The architecture of the building looks kinda clinical / hospital-ish to me.

  • djdc

    If this gets built, will it remove any chance of the traffic circle being restored?

    • Anonymous

      There’s roughly zero chance of that circle ever being restored. The city just wouldn’t pay for it. (I do think that it would be awesome, though – something ala Dupont where N/S N Capitol St cuts through an underpass. Pie in the sky, however.)

      • Anonymous

        i never understood why anyone would want a circle there. it couldn’t be a true circle, as the old circle actually sat north of florida, and it would make crossing the intersection much worse. it would be far nice if the city simple widened the sidewalks at the intersection. someday, outdoor cafes will happen there.

        • Anonymous

          A “circle” would make this intersection MUCH more pedestrian friendly. As such, it would improve the walkable streetscape, inviting folks to the area rather than repelling them with readily apparent traffic. I suspect that many folks who live here support revitalizing North Capitol.

  • John M

    The architecture is missing a lot, but that’s sort of the point. At the moment, there is NOTHING at this corner besides a Subway, a few carryouts, and two gas stations.

    I’m not really sure why they couldn’t make the ground floor street-facing, given the level nature of the lot… it sort of looks like a corner fortress.

    Does anyone know of any plans to re-do or restore the historic Truxton Circle? That intersection is always a mess and could use some TLC.

    • Anonymous

      Many local residents clamor for a circle, but the way things stand at this point, the city isn’t willing to put up the money to make it happen. And to your point about it looking like a corner fortress, well… not the most vibrant of streetscapes at the moment, eh?

      • Anonymous

        the circle wont happen.

    • Truxton Thomas

      You forgot about the drunks loitering at the bus station.

  • Anonymous

    Enough with these stupid “halos”! That is definitely 10 years ago!

  • brookland_rez

    Seems like no matter what type of building is proposed, people have a beef with the architecture. It’s street facing, it’s going to bring additional residents of a better demographic to that area. I say build it.

  • JohnDC

    The plans are still owned by the guy who owned the gas station. There won’t be any progress until he sells it to a developer who will actually do the work.

  • Anon

    I looked at the architects website. All of their work is pretty bad. Let’s do a popville design competition and come up with better ideas for this site.

  • molly

    I love a block from there. The vacant lot is hideous but this is hardly an improvement.

  • Anonymous

    Its a race to the bottom, who will develop last? Douglas w/ the acres at N.Cap & NYA, the city w/ its scattering of vacants or Mamo and this lot.

    • Anonymous

      To be fair, it seems like nobody wants to lend Mamo the funds to make this happen. Can’t say that I blame them.

  • Eric comments

    I didn’t realize that plans had been drawn up for this building. I thought the issue was that the owner of the property keeps requesting extensions from the city and the city keeps granting them. There is some kind of law or provision that puts a timeline on construction, so that property owners can’t get property zoned a certain way and then sell it later for a profit – and never build the building. I don’t fully understand it, but I think that’s the issue with this property.

  • JJ

    The circle wont be coming back. However, according to the MidCity East Plan North Capitol will be narrowed and the sidewalks expanded to create natural drainage. Also, the southbound curve from North Capitol onto Florida Ave will be closed and converted to park. Here is the link: http://midcityeast.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2013-09-26-MCE-Public-Meeting-DraftRecsfinal.pdf

    Also, my place on Quincy PL NW faces the proposed building. I get (NON MAILED / hand placed/ flyers ) in my mailbox occasionally, and the last word I got was they are still looking for financing.


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