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Renderings for 13th and U Street, NW (former Rite Aid etc.)

by Prince Of Petworth August 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm 51 Comments

1300 block of U Street, NW

I just noticed the new signage for 13thandU:

“13/U is a new residential building that will soon find its home at the corner of 13th and U Streets NW. It will accommodate an estimated 130 residences along with convenient street-level retail to further enhance the vibrant U Street Corridor.”

Check out the renderings:

13th and U


  • west_egg

    Nice!! I appreciate that they’ve gone for a more timeless design as opposed to the glass boxes with faux wood that will inevitably look dated a decade from now. This is reminiscent of buildings that have been standing on 16th, New Hampshire or Connecticut for a hundred years. I’m impressed.

    • 1300T

      I couldn’t agree more re timeless design – I love this! Major upgrade. Even reminds me a bit of The Woodley building that was built in Woodley Park recently, which also did a great job to not stick out like a modern, ugly thumb.

    • textdoc

      I’m not wowed, but overall I agree with west_egg — this building looks less trendy than most of what we see these days (i.e., glass boxes).

  • Cherry

    This looks like it belongs in Ballston.

    • anon


      I was prepared to type that it looks exactly like Arlington

    • kd21

      I was just about to post this exact same comment, you beat me to it.

    • xminustdc

      Totally and completely agree. Looks so unique! /eyeroll

    • revitalizer

      I didn’t realize that the architectural center of the DC metro area is in Arlington, whereby DC buildings are copying those in Ballston or Clarendon. U Street neighborhood looks nothing like neighborhoods in Arlington. There is plenty of architectural diversity in U Street and plenty other centrally-located DC neighborhoods for that matter.

      • anon

        The point of the above posters is that Clarendon/Ballston area has a very distinct look of large, ugly, buildings and that it feels very contrived. U Street area has a mixture of old row houses, some historic buildings, and unique architecture. This building that seemingly belongs in clarendon/ballston looks very out of place to many of use.

        I don’t think anyone said anything about an architectural center or the fact that one is centrally located.

        • revitalizer

          This building doesn’t seemingly belong in Clarendon/Ballston. It is a nice-looking building, first and foremost, and doesn’t look out of place. This building looks to be inspired by the architectural styles found in DC. There’s no need to compare it to anything in Clarendon/Ballston.

          • Confused

            As far as I can tell many of the buildings in Clarendon are designed to look like older buildings in DC. So a DC building that fits a classic DC look is going to look like some Clarendon buildings, but why is that a problem?

  • dave

    pretty boring if you ask me. harmless but a snooze.

    the area has a chance to re-brand itself as a place for interesting architecture,- look at Atlantic plumbing, 2030, the various condos on 11th street, etc

    • an

      that’s one of my favorite parts about the area… the mix of old and new buildings that are all very unique. Atlantic plumbing, visio/murano, random row houses, Lacey, the old church (if Sorg ever does anything with it), the handsome building by the Howard garage, even the floridian (in its own special way). Not a building that looks like Clarendon.

  • I Dont Get It

    At one time wasn’t this going to be a hotel?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, but that was a long time ago. Some immediate neighbors didn’t want it and fought. I don’t know why since a hotel would have been good for the neighborhood.

  • citymarketresident

    This building is nothing to write home about. Looks like Arlington. Love Atlantic Plumbing. Not many warehouses in the District to convert, unfortunately.

    • NorthbyNE

      You do realize that the only part of the original Atlantic Plumbing site (warehouse, storeroom, etc) is the brick façade with the name in the lobby, right? You’re absolutely right about the lack of warehouse stock for conversion though.

    • guest1

      atlantic plumbing was not a conversion. they built it that way and some some bricks from the original one story building in their lobby, apparently. The builder designed the building to blend in with the somewhat industrial feel of the area, and I think has designed a lot of buildings in brooklyn.

  • Bob

    It’s pretty boring, but not offensive. My real issue is the lack of balconies. Why won’t developers put balconies on apartments? It seems like something that everyone wants, but no one builds.

    • NorthbyNE

      There’s a fair number of balconies and terraces based on the rendering. I’m guessing supply/demand comes into play as well….if there are hundreds of units with balcony, you can’t charge much of a premium for them.

    • textdoc

      From the rendering, it looks like some units have them, but not all.

    • JoDa

      This is something that’s always puzzled me about new buildings in DC. In other parts of the region, balconies are very common in large buildings (when I first moved here, I lived in a large, new-ish building in MD where 90% of units had balconies); inside the city, they’re very rare. I suppose there’s the cost consideration (you can’t charge a premium if 80% of units have them, and they are an extra expense), but it always struck me that there might be something in the zoning/building codes that makes them hard to build on new construction inside the city. I won’t live in a place without some private or semi-private *attached* outdoor space (even if it’s just a dozen square feet or I have to share a common patio with a neighbor, I need a little space to be outside – but still be able to connect to my wifi! – on a nice night like tonight; and I own, so maybe I’m not their “target demographic”).

    • Anonymous

      People do seem to want balconies in theory, but you so rarely see them in actual use.

  • accendo

    I wonder if JBG will sell it off before it’s even done like other new properties they’ve developed recently.

  • anon

    condos or apartments? and dear god the whole florida ave/U St corridor is going to be a driving disaster in 2 years—more so than it already is.

    • anon

      given that it is already a driving disaster, it can’t get much worse. Plus most of these people will likely metro to work if they can. Actually, they’ll probably bus, because the bus service is so much better than train in this area. Maybe this will help get us bus lanes so we can more efficiently move people.

    • Accountering

      Do you actually drive on U St? Who actually drives on U St? It is already 100% a disaster. I can’t remember the last time I drove on it tbh. That’s coming from someone who regularly drives through this area.

    • Eponymous

      D.C. is a city. This area can be reached by at least a dozen bus lines, two metro lines, miles of sidewalk, or some of the best bike infrastructure in the city.
      Having more people and more street-level retail makes D.C. a nicer place to live. If you choose to live someplace car-dependent that’s your business, but you can’t then complain about how hard it is for you to have access to downtown.

  • Mike M.

    Tough crowd here. I really like this design actually. I like Atlantic Plumbing too, but that doesn’t mean every new development has to look like that.

    I much prefer a New Classical design to your standard glass-and-brick box mixed use building. IMO, there’s still way too much reliance on glass in contemporary architecture. It’s not always a bad thing, but I like how the brick and stone are what stand out in this design.

    I know some of you see Arlington with this design, but I spend a decent amount of time in Arlington, and I can’t really think of a building with more than a passing similarity.

    • NorthbyNE

      check out Clarendon Center or the Gramercy at Metropolitan Park. I’m not opposed to the design, though, even if its more suburban than some of the other properties in the neighborhood. This also nicely plays off the Ellington across the street.

    • AG

      I appreciate modern design, but I’m not a fan of all the glass buildings going up in this area, especially the smaller ones where you can basically look into someone’s apartment from the street.

      • ***

        Most of the glass box building going up in DC are terrible because they have zero design – it’s literally a glass box. Modern design doesn’t equal glass box. Lazy developers are 100% to blame here – they want to build the cheapest thing possible and rent it for top dollar.

  • SoCoHi

    This is in the U Street Historic district; Atlantic Plumbing is so not, so two very different pools of design options.

  • DCLady

    Very underwhelmed! Just more density in an historic neighborhood. Sterile box and glass building which does nothing but use the Metro and maybe Starbucks as a draw. Certainly does add any value to the neighborhood except more traffic!!!

    • Anonymous

      Density is a good thing!

    • revitalizer

      The city should be putting density near its high-capacity metro stations – just like with this building. This building is anything but a box, with all the setbacks, curved corners, and architectural details at the base and at the top.

      I really like the design of this building. It will stand the test of time.

      • JoDa

        You know, my building is LITERALLY a painted brick box. It’s very square, has little in the way of flourishes, doesn’t have particularly large windows (but has enough and big enough that the units are bright) and is incredibly dense for its footprint. It even has the complaints of “being on top of your neighbors” (a little taller on both sides, and I’d be able to high five my neighbor from my balcony). But, hey, since it was originally constructed in 1921 and has only been altered in minor ways since then (the small balconies on some units are new-ish, from what I understand…the building underwent several major renovations in its near-100-year existence), it has “merit,” I guess?
        Boring is not a new thing, just a utilitarian thing. Let’s not forget that this is not the original vision of the architect, these renderings are the result of many cries to make it “shorter and smaller.”

      • ***

        “I really like the design of this building. It will stand the test of time.” You do realize that while the design may be “timeless” the construction will not – you’ll be lucky in 20 years if this POS is still standing.

        • Eponymous

          So let developers build a little bit taller so that the the cost of building with steel actually makes sense. Otherwise you’re going to get wood framing clad in masonry.

          • ***

            Those two things do not go hand in hand. Short building can be built with wood… or steel… or concrete… or any number of available building materials, subject to cost, availability, design, preference and practicality. This has nothing to do with the height restriction. This is 100% about thoughtless buildings that add nothing to the urban fabric of DC.

    • You’d rather be OVERwhelmed? I agree. I’m thinking something that looks like a cross between a 30-story gundam and a treehouse, except constructed entirely out of repurposed lawn ornaments.

    • Accountering

      This is nonsense. The metro is a huge draw, and we should be putting more density on top of it. We have a 100 billion dollar asset (Metro) so to not take advantage of it is crazy!

      • Bullwinkle

        The current U Street metro station is hitting max point during rush hours. Additional turnstiles (working ones) need to be installed.

    • Euclid

      Are we looking at the same building? I see very little glass and given the detail, it looks more like Woodley Park Realness then anything which counters the exciting new buildings with a more subdued yet appropriate backdrop. Not everything should be screaming for attention.

  • K_Champagne

    This developing for 1% millenials shit is unsustainable…how many 3-4 bedroom units are there going to be??? Where exactly are families supposed to live??? How many low income units (actually low income for people barely living on minimum wage…not professional class low income) will be available???

    • Accountering

      I will leave the investment decisions (what types of units) up to the people doing the investing. Anyways, when 1brs continue to get developed, prices for them are slowly decreasing, making them more attainable. That means less people in group houses, and those group houses are a bit more attainable for families. Seems like what you are hoping for right?

    • Euclid

      Hi, yes, I’d like a 3 br condo in Tribeca for under $600/mo. No? OK, Hancock Park, hmmm, Lake Shore East? So unfair…Let’s be reasonable here. Expecting everything to be handed out is unsustainable. Prime location is not meant for minimum wage, there are rewards to education and success.

  • ***

    Come on DC – embrace change, instead of this faux-retro historical BS. Boring, uninspired design in an area that demands something far more interesting. Agreed with others – this looks like the kinda of derivative architecture I would expect in Reston or Rockville in the new-urbanist “live-work-play / feel like you live in a downtown metro area in the safety of the suburbs.” I’m not saying this needs to be a glass box as so many are quick to jump to – there’s a lot of design area between this and glass box which DC is really lacking. This alone, IMO, is why we will always be a 2nd tier city.

  • KneePlay5

    Woah. restuarant and retail space will be nice, but the building is a bit anonymous and so similar to others in the area. A missed opportunity to make U street a bit special.

  • Brett M

    Looks like Arlington? No, this looks like DC. It’s a classic design that fits in well with the neighborhood. And Atlantic Plumbing? Another glass box. I don’t see the allure.

  • Reality

    I like it


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