Friday, September 26, 2008

Its Fun to Dig at the Y-M-C-A

Mayor Fenty, Councilmember Jim Graham, ANC chairman Dee Hunter and numerous YMCA officials today attended the groundbreaking of a new mixed-use development at 14th and W Streets NW, the current site of the YMCA Anthony Bowen. The 263,000 square foot project is being developed by Perseus Realty LLC in conjunction with Capmark Investments LP and the minority owned DC-based FLGA Real Estate Group. The $97 million development, entitled 14W, will include the construction of 231 rental apartments (including 18 affordable), a new 46,000 square foot YMCA and 12,200 square feet of retail space. Designs for the project by Davis Carter Scott and Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc. (HOK) encase the ground-level retail outlets in townhouse facades and place the residential quarters above the new YMCA. Future residents can look forward to amenities such as a billiard room, a 24-hour business center and concierge, catering kitchen, bar, rooftop garden and a 1-year membership to the YMCA. HPRB green-lighted the project in May when it approved the demolition of the existing buildings on the site.

The Mayor was adamant in his support of the development. “It’s the young people that we have at the front of our focus for this project,” said Fenty. “The projects, programs and lives that have been impacted by the YMCA are too numerous to mention…You have our commitment that whatever it is– from deferments to operations to transportation to the help of any other DC government agency – we will give it.”

The new $15 million YMCA is the fruit of more 2 years of active development on the part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington (YMCAMW). When completed, it will include a wellness center, child care facilities, office space, rooftop terrace, community meeting rooms and – as its centerpiece – a 25-meter indoor pool. Although the current facility has been vacated for demolition, its community services have been relocated to various “borrowed” spaces throughout the city.

The YMCA Anthony Bowen has a rich and storied history in the District. The organization was named for a Prince George’s County slave who relocated to Washington after purchasing his freedom; he then went on to co-found the nation’s first African-American YMCA in 1853. The current incarnation of the YMCA that bears his name first opened in 1912 and has stood at its present location since 1978 – a time when the U Street corridor ran rampant with violence and drugs.

“Anthony Bowen had a dream and it’s the centerpiece of that dream that’s become the reality for what we have here today…an unwavering belief that the evils of our past do not dictate the possibilities of our future,” said Angie L. Reese-Hawkins, CEO of the YMCAMW. “We’ve replaced the fear and distrust with families and…people who are committed to the community. This is what the nation’s capitol is all about.”

14W is being financed by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Clark Construction has been contracted for the development and is predicting a late 2010 completion.


Anonymous said...

So cool! Did you hear anything about the Nehemiah Center across the street?

Anonymous said...

Any updates on this development since the "groundbreaking" in September? Haven't seen any activity on-site since then...


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