Thursday, February 26, 2009

JBG’s Whitman-Walker Revamp Approved


A few redesigns later, the JBG Companies and Shalom Baranes Architects have now received approval from Washington DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to move forward with their redevelopment of the Whitman-Walker Clinic headquarters at 1800-1818 14th Street, NW into a 130-unit residential project.

Following a December denial from the HPRB, JBG this month presented revised conceptualizations to the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association (CSNA), who previously voiced concerns –along with the Board of Zoning Adjustment, ANC 2B, Dupont Circle Conservancy and local residents - about the project's design and accessibility.

"The previously proposed large glass facade would overlook a very busy and noisy 14th street - and its useful to note that several busy establishments, including the Black Cat nightclub, are directly across 14th Street. On paper, the use of glass was creative and may look nice, but the real life application and impact of so much glass is the creation of a sounding board for street noise,” said CSNA President Bryan Martin Firvida, following this morning’s approval. There was [also] the general feeling that the November 2008 plans displayed a poor connection between the old and new buildings. This was addressed by JBG in the current plans by different use of masonry and a complimentary vertical design."

JBG’s initial plans call for the 7-story residential building to measure in at 120,000 square feet with a sizable base of ground-level retail and “high design, efficient [residential] units." The as-yet untitled development could still hit its targeted groundbreaking date of late fall 2009, and the project remains scheduled for a 2011 completion – a date the CSNA looks forward to seeing

"It’s always exciting to see another project move forward in the U Street neighborhood, especially with a developer that is committed to working with the neighborhood throughout the life of the project,” said Martin Firvida. “Ultimately, this project will bring new residents, new activity, and a new experience to the west side of 14th Street. Where we currently have a mix of buildings and parking lots, we'll have a full block of daily activity and life.”


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