Holy Smokes – Look What Could be Coming to Truxton

by Prince Of Petworth February 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm 13 Comments

1520 North Capitol Street, NW

From an email:

“Studio Upwall Architects partnered with two developers, Flywheel Development, and Urban Green LLC, in response to an RFP issued by the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) for a City-owned lot at North Capitol and Bates Streets in NW DC.

Truxton (PDF)

This RFP was issued as one of 4 sites in the “March Madness” round in early 2015. Our team’s concept, “Cyclehouse” proposed 15 units of affordable housing with a ground floor restaurant from Jaime Vargas, owner of San Antonio Grill in Brookland. The building would be designed to achieve Net Zero Energy use.

I’m happy to say that full ANC 5E voted to support a resolution in support of our bid Tuesday evening. In the run-up to the ANC vote we received unanimous support in a vote from the local civic association and a large majority of the votes at the single member ANC 5E-05 meeting.

Our design includes:

a.) 15 apartments – 100% of the apartments are affordable units (aimed at 50-60% area median income)
b) Green design including Net Zero Energy target with high- efficiency building and roof-mounted solar
c.) Family-oriented restaurant + Neighborhood oriented retail space (aka: bicycle shop)
d.) Living wall, balconies, and roof deck amenities
e.) Bicycle oriented building to encourage cycling and alternative forms of transportation
f.) -Our design works with the scale of the neighborhood (4 stories, stepping down to 3 stories on the Bates side). The other team is proposing a 5 story building”


  • drake

    Well it’s not yet coming to Truxton, right? It looks like this option still has to be selected by the city over the other proposals.

  • truxie

    This is great, but please consider having a mix of market rate units!

    • AnonAnon

      Considering the size of the building is rather small, 15 units, it being 100% affordable is not an issue. The problems arise when you have projects like the one they are proposing in Bethesda which is 400 units which are 100% affordable. There is also the original Hebrew home proposal. Larger scale projects create issues with blight and high crime and concentrates poverty too much in one place.

      It really does have to deal with scale, and I don’t think many affordable housing advocates get this. Large scale projects do in fact create issues with violent crime. To many projects concentrated in one space also create issues. But IZ and smaller scale projects like this spread out as much as possible generally do not. The scale in this case is actually appropriate. I should note, I have a similar sized project (25 units) that went up a few blocks from me.

      The point being is 90-100% affordable is problematic when the scale is too large. 15-25 unit projects spread out in both the city and the suburbs is not to large. In fact I think there should be an absolute cap of 50 units for any affordable housing project which is 90-100%, and that geographic density of affordable housing needs to be considered. Lest we want to recreate the deeper problems that come from concentrated poverty.

      Yeah poverty advocates may not like this, but part of what needs to happen is for poor people to be dispersed outside the cities. Communities of concentrated poverty should be broken up and dispersed. But we should not make the mistakes with regards to affordable housing that made these communities so broken. So more dense super blocks. Smaller scale developments which are spread about. 15 units seems about perfect size in general. Especially if it is in an attractive building like this.

      • dc_anon

        Agreed, at this scale it won’t be a negative impact and imo will be a welcome addition. MM Washington’s conversion around the corner on O st to affordable sr living had no noticeable impact. I live half a block away and will be glad to see development on this stretch with something that’s NOT a social service. SOME’s dozen properties (not kidding, pull tax records) while doing a bunch of good have been a big deterrent to redevelopment due to the shear density of them.

        50- 60% of ami for the area (70k in 2010) would be incomes of roughly 35-42k/yr. I think that people mistake affordable housing for older for section 8, project style. This is not that.

  • andy

    First thoughts:
    1. Catania Bakery to be saved by hipsters! (Maybe, if their hours and product availability weren’t so unfriendly to the public.)
    2. SOME who live in this building will want SOME (http://some.org/) to move somewhere else….

    • Truxtoner

      SOME who live in many buildings over there want SOME to move elsewhere. SOME of us do not like having our yards used as toilets.

      Between the building on the corner at Florida, Wicked Bloom, and hopefully this, maybe a North Capitol Renaissance is upon us.

  • 11luke

    Seems like market rate units is what that area needs more, no? What’s wrong with a mix?

    • Truxtoner

      Why do you think that? There are very few apartment/condo buildings in Truxton at all.

  • Kristina

    I’ll take one, please.

  • Larry

    This looks like a great addition to the community. Hope Muriel Bowser does the right thing and picks this project which the ANC overwhelmingly voted for (instead of picking a project by her cronies!)

  • James

    It looks like EVERY OTHER NEW DEVELOPMENT IN DC; contempt for neighborhood history, no complimentary design to its surroundings nor uniqueness of its own compared to every other new construction in almost every neighborhood all over the city. I’m sure the interiors will be fine (the kitchen cabinets have actual handles… right?), but the exterior needs something more distinctive.

  • SydneyP

    The community (SMD) judged it overwhelmingly the best option — but Urban Green probably can’t beat competitor Blue Sky Housing’s record of contributions to Muriel Bowser, so we’ll just have to see.

  • GoDC

    Very excited for Truxton Circle and the N Cap corridor to get a facelift and thrive. I do think that a few market rate units should be added. To touch upon a point made above, yes it’s small and for smaller developments 100% affordable doesn’t create concentrations of poverty, but in terms of the surrounding businesses, and the buildings financials (I am assuming the city will foot most of this bill otherwise) there has to be some better planning. Perhaps even 20% market rate.
    I live a few blocks away and I hope the retail coming in is not some random restaurant, but rather a walking friendly QSR or local cafe.


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