Trendy and quirky U Street, which has seen a spate of residential development of late, may get a hotel in the not too distant future. The plan, brought before the Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association last week by JBG Companies, proposed developing the strip mall that currently houses the Rite Aid, a nail salon and dollar store, into a 10-story multi-use development.
Though in its very early stages and likely to evolve, the vision is to replace the current strip mall across the street from the Ellington Apartments, replacing it with a single building that would house underground parking, retail on the ground floor, a boutique hotel on floors 3-8, and possibly capped by two floors of residential to max out the density. The existing strip mall takes up most of the block on the south side of the 1300 block of U Street. The area falls within a historic protection zone, but no historic building would be affected.
With neighbors apparently in favor of supplanting the current retail, the largest obstacle, financing notwithstanding, will be to change the underlying zoning, which does not now allow for density sufficient to support this project. Phil Spalding, Commissioner for ANC 1B, says the development has local support, and that there will be "a strong push for retail to animate the street," speculating that some of the current retail could reopen in the new space, though stressing that the plans will likely see "another 9 or 10 redrawings" before construction could begin. Renderings are not yet available, but Spalding describes the current iteration as 'classical.'