Utopia has been in the approval queue for more than a year, but only now able to move through the approval process after obliging several variance requests. As such, the building will no longer feature a rooftop pool, and will top out at 90 feet, instead of the proposed 100. The building’s design was also tweaked to allow for varying levels of density throughout the parcel, which occupies two adjoining historic sites at 1912-1944 14th Street NW and 1400-1418 U Street NW.
Nonetheless, the project is still an eagerly anticipated addition to the U Street corridor. GSC intends to bring 230 rental apartments and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail – an amount that will double the amount of shopping and dining on the block – to complete what it has dubbed an “urban living experience.” Accordingly, Utopia is being pitched as the new home base for young professionals who clog the area on Friday and Saturday evenings – not surprising, given its proximity to Donatelli’s similarly-envisioned Ellington building (and election night’s impromptu Obama street party - aka "Change-fest '08"). The project will include an affordable housing component, the extent of which is yet to be determined.
As of now, the project is still on track to hit its intended 2009 start date, with grand opening scheduled for 2011.