On Monday, DC finally began work on the Northwest One site, the ambitious but still conceptual site located across the street from NoMa, on the northwest side of North Capitol Street. DC Mayor Adrian Fenty initiated the first groundbreaking of Northwest One by commencing demolition of Terrell Junior High School, at 1000 1st St. NW, making space for a new $47 million mixed use facility including a new school, library, and recreation center. The Northwest One site is bounded on the east by North Capitol, on the west by New Jersey Ave., and on the south by K Street. The District, through Forrester Construction, will replace the junior high and the distressed Sursum Corda and Temple Courts housing projects, which haven't been doing much to bring up property values in the neighborhood.
The next stage of development will be to demolish Temple Court, which the District bought last summer and has begun relocating tenants in anticipation of tearing down the building this summer; both housing projects remain mostly occupied at this point. Ordinarily, the District would build replacement housing before evacuation of existing subsidized housing, but according to Sean Madigan of DC's Office of Planning, the condition of the projects is "so bad" that the Fenty administration decided to purge and demolish immediately.
The District currently owns most of the entire development site, part of which was acquired when it took control of and disbanded NCRC last year; the remainder is owned by the DC Housing Authority. Late last year, the District selected One Vision Development Partners, a joint venture between William C. Smith, Jair Lynch, Banneker Ventures, and CPDC, as its development partner for the entire project. Details of the project - both the scope of development and compensation to the development team - have yet to be finalized, but the team has proposed the construction of more than 1,600 new apartments, condos and townhouses priced for mixed-income buyers and renters, as well as a 21,000-s.f. clinic, about 40,000 s.f. of retail and 220,000 s.f. of office space. According to Madigan, an increase in density and the "right mix" will be crucial to the success of the project. Once the administration comes to an agreement with the developer, the project will be placed on the lap of the city Council for approval.
Immediately replacing Terrell Junior High will be the Walker Jones school, library, recreation center and athletic fields, a project that Mayor Fenty described as being "a first-class facility from top to bottom." "If we are to expect excellence from our students we've got to provide great facilities that promote an integrated environment for learning," Fenty added Monday during his on-site speech. According to the Office of Planning and Economic Development, Walker Jones will be one of the first new schools constructed during Fenty's reign, and it will be ready, says he, in time for the kick-off of the 2009 school year. The new Walker Jones will house 100,000 s.f. of classroom, a 20,000-s.f. community recreation center and a 5,000-s.f. library along with some new playgrounds and sports fields. The entire project is expected to meet the District's green building standards.
The complete project is said to be in the ballpark of $700 million in new development. After production of the new school and its amenities, the District will then focus on the new housing, of which a third will be market rate, a third will be affordable, and a third will serve as workforce, some of which will serve as replacement housing for current residents. Madigan referenced NPR's recent decision to build its new facilities across the street from the site as "a huge vote of confidence for Northwest One."