Just a block away from the future O Street Market re- development site, Metropolitan Development is planning to weed out the wilted Kelsey Gardens apartment community. The 54 subsidized apartments will be replaced with a mixed-use building that they hope will blossom into 282 mixed-income rental units, 14,400 s.f. of retail space, 237 underground parking spaces on 7th street, and 7 townhomes on P street. Developers hope to break ground by this time next year, and finish in late 2010, provided zoning approval happens this year.
Rachael Preston, Financial Analyst for Metropolitan, said the company has been working on the redevelopment of Kelsey Gardens on 7th Street, NW, between P and Q Streets since 2004, and that the new development is consistent with the redevelopment of the larger Shaw area. "When redeveloped, the Kelsey Gardens site will offer important progress for the Shaw community as well as continuity. Shaw is on the brink of a renaissance, driven by the addition of new residences, commercial activity, and the preservation of important landmarks," Preston said.
The developer also said the project's inclusion of both townhouses and rental units is key to preserving the neighborhood's appearance and integrity while improving its design. The new townhouses, designed by Lessard Architectural Group, will be "historically sensitive", but will include "traditional and modern architectural styles to break up the length of the building on 7th Street."
And as for the apartments, Preston said, "Metropolitan Development sees demand for rental housing in Shaw driven by access to public transit and proximity to DC's traditional downtown locations to the south and west, and the emerging employment zone of NoMa to the north and east."
Metropolitan stressed that Shaw residents are part of the neighborhood's identity and will be encouraged to return. According to the developer, "The residents displaced at Kelsey Gardens for construction are guaranteed the opportunity to return to their former home once redevelopment is complete. Shaw is a community of many long time residents who give the neighborhood much of its character. By ensuring that these residents are not displaced permanently, Metropolitan Development is able to participate in preservation of the neighborhood as well as change." Metropolitan did not comment on how its former residents would be accommodated.
Though currently known as Kelsey Gardens, the project is listed on Metropolitan's website as "Addison Square." Though some locals have objected to the name, suggesting that a final name may be part of the inevitable negotiations, it is unlikely that many area residents will mourn the loss of the drug and crime plagued housing project. Metropolitan acquired the land last summer and retained the previous owners, The Deliverance Church of God in Christ, as a partner in the deal.