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This is Going to be Mind Blowing When Completed

by Prince Of Petworth December 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm 34 Comments


This is going to be absolutely mind blowing when it’s completed:

“Capitol Crossing will be a multi-phase master-planned development located in Washington’s supply-constrained Central Business District that is bordered by Massachusetts Avenue to the north, E Street to the south, Third Street to the west and Second Street to the east.

The 247,000-square-foot site consists of a recessed portion of US I-395 that slices through the east side of the CBD, which is surrounded by a multitude of public transportation options.

The project will be built over the active highway utilizing a platform to support the development of an expected 2.2 million square-foot mixed-use project.

The development’s focus will be predominately office. It will also include a significant ground floor retail component, below-grade parking and a small component of residential use.”




  • ET

    This is going to change things in that area in ways I am not sure I totally understand yet. The highway ripped a big whole and created blockages for so long it will be a bit freaky to get used to the new set up.

    • textdoc

      +1. I like the idea of restoring a street-level environment to an area previously split up by highways (or highway entrances).

    • Yep, correcting the mistakes of “urban renewal” is expensive and difficult, but absolutely worth it.

  • Very exciting. It’s too bad they couldn’t get approval to close the road temporarily, as it would have been completed much faster. Can’t wait!

    • Anonymous

      Why is that too bad? It would have made the surrounding streets a disaster.

  • Truxtoner

    This solves an enormous part of the problem the 395 arm created, but there is still a big gash just north of this where 395 ultimately dumps out onto New York Avenue that is the source of enormous congestion, noise, and destruction of continuity in development. I wish the city had, when approving this plan and going through this massive effort, simply eliminated the remainder of the 395 arm beyond this point up to New York Avenue. That would have also provided the opportunity to develop along New York Avenue through from Mount Vernon Triangle across to the Sursum Corda area and beyond to NOMA, creating a real connection through the city that they are seeking to achieve in this area as well. It would also have neutralized a great deal of traffic/congestion along New York Avenue between Florida Avenue and the entrance to the tunnel, that backs up onto North Capitol during rush hour and pushes commuters through the neighboring residential blocks. All so Marylanders can get to Virginia/L’Enfant more easily by commuting through the District. Rush hour through Truxton Circle is often a nightmare because of so many commuters using the residential side streets to avoid the heinous traffic where North Cap fees into New York Avenue.

    • Anon

      I agree with you about the remaining road sore, but I don’t see how blocking the NYA entry/exit point would do that much to alleviate aggregate traffic problems in the area. Wouldn’t it just shift the problem slightly further south?
      I really wish DC would completely cover that stretch and create underground merge areas to NYA. I’d guess this would be incredible expensive (if even possible), but That should help with the problem of folks getting on/off 395 from NYA.

      • Rich

        This sounds like GGW type wishful thinking. Making this area even more of a choke point won’t solve anything.

    • Disgusted in DC

      Really what they should do, if it is at all possible given new developments, is to actually implement those parts of the discarded 1971 freeway plan such as creating the tunnel parallel to New York Avenue from the I-395 entrance to past North Capitol, and then erect the New York Avenue Industrial Freeway parallel to New York Avenue (either next to over over the RR tracks) out to South Dakota Avenue. Most of what would be destroyed would either not be missed or could be rebuilt, and traffic would be improved by separating out local traffic along NY Avenue to people going cross-town. (They should also consider building, if feasible, the K Street Tunnel east to the Potomac River though that would be disruptive in the short-term). We live in a motorized civilization and the commuters who are coming into town from the east, especially AA County, are not likely to use train (ever) or metro (save a fortunate few).

      The “smart growthers” are wrong when they say that good urban development and urban freeways can never go together. In fact, this is a location where it can be done. In fact, I am reasonably confident that the highway and city planners who built I-395 intended to deck over the portion of the highway that is now being covered by Capital Crossing — though not in exactly the same way. It never happened because the area was a shit hole long before the freeway was built and there were other more pressing development priorities or lower-hanging fruit to be plucked. Maybe the Capital Crossing development or one like it would have happened earlier had the DC freeway system not been cancelled in 1977.

      • textdoc

        Thank God the freeway plan wasn’t implemented any further. The neighborhood destruction created by the existing freeways is bad enough.

      • Philippe Lecheval

        The anti-highway people are usually shortsighted to their detriment. Transportation systems work best when they compliment each other, not battle each other.

        • Evan Tupac Grooter

          It’s naive to think that DC has enough space for everyone who lives or works in DC to have a car.

          • Philippe Lecheval

            Nobody has ever thought that.

    • Eckingtonite

      Decking over that section of 395 would be a tremendous improvement to the neighborhood. I wonder if the plans to redevelop Sursum Corda that were in the news earlier this year will galvanize support for this? The Mount Vernon Triangle CID has already been built up practically right to the edge of the highway at this point anyways so it may just be a matter of time and funding.

  • Yeah the actual size of this project is tremendous. It will make CityCenter look small, although hopefully with a totally different type of retail.

    • Duponter

      I’m pretty sure the entirety of City Center is larger in terms of retail space/square footage. I think this will SEEM bigger because it will feel like a denser use of the three blocks. City Center, however, is five square blocks. Less office space though. But to me still a superior location in terms of proximity to public transportation. The nearest stops to Capitol Crossing will be Judiciary Square or Union Station.

      Also, if this gets an Eately, I wouldn’t bet that the retail will be very different. Although I imagine it will be geared more toward food for the office workers. And at least it won’t be owned by the Qatari government.

  • Curious George

    Nice tag. #eataly ;)

    • JohnH

      I don’t know if this area would be residential enough for Eataly? Very commercial.

      • Duponter

        Um, have you been down Massachusetts Avenue? It’s lined with condo buildings.

        • JohnH

          Outside of Mass Ave., it is almost 100% commercial four blocks directly to the west (and really beyond that through Chinatown), there’s no residential south of the project and there’s no residential (sans GU Law dorms) to the east to Union Station.
          So yes, are there some condo buildings to the northeast and northwest? Sure. But the strong majority of that area is commercial/government property.

      • Anon

        It’s well within a 10 minute walk from: NoMa, Mt Vernon, Chinatown/Penn Quarter, and western parts of Capitol Hill. There’s more than enough nearby residential (though my understanding of Eataly is that it’s more of a tourist trap than a reliable local standby).

  • spookiness

    I haven’t been paying attention. So the Small Jewish Museum will need to move, again. Has it started?

  • JohnH

    Is there a big demand for commercial space in DC? (this is me asking not knowing the answer)
    I’m a bit disappointed that this project is only “a little” residential. Especially because this area could use some livening up outside of office hours.

    • Duponter

      I think there is a demand for newly built commercial space. Most of the new office buildings are getting filled pretty easily by tenants moving from more dated space. A slew of law firms have all recently moved into new/renovated buildings (McDermott, Covington, Arnold & Porter, Pillsbury, Orrick, Arent Fox) while I think the space they left have in many cases sat empty.

      Covington moved to CityCenter from a pretty sweet location on Pennsylvania Avenue (though dated building) and I’m not sure anyone has moved into that space. Arnold & Porter’s old building I think is yet to be leased out either (where the Barnes & Noble is that is also closing). I think the demand for new office space is there and that is why developers are all over it, but no, I think there generally there is available space in the city. Just not new space.

      • anonny

        White collar office space in DC is very dear I don’t know any exact figures, but a few years ago there were some articles about the costs per/sq. ft being on par with New York. With the height limits, it is hard to imagine any real growth in office space close to Congress. Prices can only go up. Unfortunately, this is part of the reason why we have such horrible job sprawl in DC. Only lobbyists can afford to be downtown. Our strong tech sector is stuck in Rockville and Reston.

    • I totally agree with not knowing the answer! I’m completely eager to see ugly gashes of highway through cities covered over into real cityscapes. But how much commercial space is really needed? Why would an office move here instead of Tyson’s, or any one of a hundred other areas with acres of currently un-rented space? (Plus easier transportation & parking.) I know a greenspace/park would never be financed, because developers can’t seem to recognize the value, but I can dream.

      • JohnH

        I was thinking more residential than park space. There’s a lot of green space in that area – a couple blocks from the mall and also the green space north of the Capitol building between Union Station. If there was more residential going into this development, could see some small spaces – but if its just commercial, not really too much of a point. Heck, even most of the “open space” at City Center is just concrete – not grass.

  • Statehood Warrior

    Certainly agree with the hope for retail different than CityCenter. Fingers crossed for Rent-A-Center, check cashing store, wig shop, nail salon and a reasonably priced Chinese carryout.

    • Anon

      Well, now that you’ve hashed out the only possible options…

    • jd

      hello….you forgot a 7-11!! duh

  • Grand Pa of DC

    More money for a greedy government.

    • reality

      Go back to bed, grandpa.

  • Ann

    The Department of Labor building at the south end of this is also slated to be redeveloped.


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