The urban renewal of the 1950s left Southwest a forgotten section of DC, but recent projects are bringing new excitement and livability to the area. One such project is Fairfield Residential LLC’s Marina View Towers (click image to see rendering of project layout). The developer is renovating the two existing Marina View Towers at 1100 6th Street SW and adding two additional residential structures, a development that will be a mix of apartments, condos, a large central garden, and 8,000 s.f. retail space. Designed by I.M. Pei, the two original towers are of historic status and, thus could not be demolished; instead, they will undergo complete interior renovations. The north existing tower will become a 128-unit apartment building while the southern tower will be converted into a 120-unit condominium building. The final piece of the project is a 12,000-15,000 s.f. amenities building for residents that will include a pool, gym, lounge, and business center.
Taking the place of the two towers’ surface parking lot will be two new 112-foot towers each with approximately 145 rental apartments. Designed by Esocoff and Associates, both buildings will offer parking for residents, the north tower with three underground levels and the south with four; the new south tower will also include 8,000 s.f. of retail space.
Also being redeveloped in the developer-described “oasis” that is Southwest is the former Waterside Mall into “Waterfront” a mixed-use development that will share a driveway with Marina View. “It (Southwest) is not a hotbed because there are not a lot of available sites. There are the Forest City renovations, PN Hoffman, and Bernstein are working on projects in the area as well, but I do think in the next two years we will start to see a lot of cranes up in our section,” said Graham Brock, Project Manager at Fairfield Residential.
Brock added that while development in the area is picking up, the market will have a large influence on the final outcome of the project. “No one wants to sink each other. We all understand that a critical mass needs to be reached to support retail, we have to build to allow retail to succeed,” he said.
This critical mass will include the 12,000 s.f. of the project that are currently allotted for affordable housing, a number that may increase as current residents decide whether or not to stay in their units. Current residents can choose to be bought out by the developers, to buy a condo, or to rent an apartment at the project’s completion. The Planned Unit Development states what the values for the condo and rental options would be as a benefit to the city based on how many tenants stay in each option.
While plans are currently contingent upon the PUD and votes for the various conversions, the northern tower is tentatively scheduled to break ground later this year with completion in 2008; renovations on the southern tower are slated for summer 2008.