Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Freshly Baked, New Design for Wonder Bread Building in Shaw


R2L:Architects' Sacha Rosen has, this week, completed new design schematics for the adaptive reuse plan by Douglas Development for the old Wonder Bread/White Cross Bakery. Review of the design, by the Historic Preservation Review Board, could be as early as September 22nd.

The early-20th-Century brick buildings currently crumbling at 641 S Street, NW in Shaw, are also up for historic landmark status, and will be remade into "funky" office and retail space.

Of the recently completed design (below), Rosen says, "Our concept of the classic industrial north-facing skylights adds to the unique qualities of the building - and is great for energy savings. We think of the design as a barge stacked with shipping containers, which represents the mobile, international qualities of business in the new economy."

Currently two and three stories tall, the structure will be raised to three and four, and new basement space will be created, increasing the structure to approximately 60,000 s.f.

One retailer will be allowed half the ground floor, which will split uses - 25 parking spots will take up the back half.  The final 4th floor of office space is only located on the eastern-most portion, making it approximately half that of the others:


Retail space in the basement could be turned into a "cool underground" establishment, says Rosen, such as a bar, billiard hall, or restaurant. No retailers have been signed, as the project will be speculatively built, but Paul Millstein of Douglas says he expects something good to fall in place, considering the uniqueness of the building, and what he considers a "very cool project."

Washington D.C. real estate development news

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do architects insist on modeling their designs on some stupid concept that does nothing to enhance beauty or improve the building? Their allusions and concepts for design will be lost on all who drive by the site, the very people who the architect should be designing for. Build something beautiful, rather than representational, no one will have any idea what your thought process was once this is built.

Anonymous said...

The architect works for the client, not the passerby. Its an industrial building, and will continue to look so.

Anonymous said...

how much are they going to narrow the sidewalk for their basement level?

Anonymous said...

The architect gets paid by the client but has an obligation to the public. Furthermore, the architect is usually the one with the concepts while the client's principle function is to make money. To say the architect has nothing to do with the passerby is strange.

Anonymous said...

I think this sounds like a lovely plan. I am so excited to see this space turned into something functional, useable and into something positive for our community instead of a dangerous, rotting old building that historians love to hug and watch corrode slowly into history.

Anonymous said...

Do they really need 25 surface parking spaces for a building that is 10 steps from a metro entrance?

Anonymous said...

Honestly, yeah, they do need 25 surface parking spaces. There isn't any extra street parking right there. I go to the church across the street, which is also a community center and learning space. We have a surface lot. WHY? Because there are people who drive in the city-- people who have disabilities, people who have lots of things to transport, people who have children, and people who are coming from elsewhere. 25 surface spots are fine; it's a good anticipation of the impact on the primarily residential blocks surrounding the area, and knowing that there are actually some people in the world with cars.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being anonymously argumentative, I disagree with some of those parking assertions. Responsible urban planning focuses on maximizing public transit opportunities and multi-use land/building development (or redevelopment), not making it easier for those that choose to drive or prefer not to use public transportation. Surface parking necessity is a suburban concept. A parking lot has very few alternate uses (DCUSA's underutilized parking garage is a good example). Metro extends out into many VA and MD suburban counties (with large parking lots). There are public transportation options for those with disabilities such MetroAccess and wheelchair equipped buses. 25 additional parking spaces means 25 more cars, more traffic congestion, and greater impact on local residents/business.

Anonymous said...

I work in the smart growth/parking world, and for 60,000 square feet and metro adjacent, 25 spaces seems about right. It's not so much limiting the quantity that is important, it's market pricing it, and unbundling the parking from employee compensation.

This means that even the executives (who usually get parking comped) have to decide if that $200 - $300 a month they spend on parking is worth it.

It turns out that in most urban environments, the value of free parking exceeds giving employees free gasoline for their commutes just to put it in perspective.

Under those conditions, those able to commute by metro or bike generally will, thus preserving the parking for visitors, the disabled, the temporarily injured, etc.

Anonymous said...

Just to throw in my 2 cents. I think that true smart growth includes multimodal trasnportation, where ideally every form of transportation is available: walking, biking, metro, car sharing, automobile, buses, streetcar, etc. Where this happens congestion of all kinds is actually lessened, not increased. This includes car traffic. Example. Between abput 1986 and 2004 the population in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor quadrupled. During that period Arlington focussed on multimodal transportation and smart growth, which includes cars and parking. However, in that time period traffic along Wilson Blvd (the main street in that corridor) went from about 15,000 daily cars to about 15,600 (i.e., almost no change) and car trips on Washington Blvd (another main artery road) actually decreased. Id the COunty had ignored the fact that some people drive and refused to also incorporate additional infrastructure for cars, then the corridor would probably be very traffic congested. And, just to throw it in, 22% of Arlingtonians do not own cars and that number is increasing not decreasing. So including car infrastrcture is not facilititating additional car ownership or frequency of use (for those that do own them). Bottom line is that with multimodal transportation planning and support the car becomes merely one of many transportation options, and so even those with cars use them much less.

ZZinDC said...

I think this lookslike a good solid adaptive re-use of good solid example of a building type that isn't found in great quantities in DC. The parking will be interior so won't impact the streetscape (aside from entry/exit); it's a side benefit of such a big industrial building that they can provide for parking and loading/deliveries inside without creating a barren surface lot. As for the basement question that an earlier poster asked, he basement does not appear to impact the sidewalk at all; per the provided plans it is the same size as other floors.

Anonymous said...

According to the plans, 5 feet of the sidewalk on the western half will be cut out to provide a lightwell/areaway to the new basement space. I think the building already has an existing areaway on the east side of a similar size which will be removed in the renovation. So there's really no net loss to the sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives right by there (less than 2 blocks), I couldn't be happier with this design/plan. The parking's inside, there's ground floor (and basement) retail, additional office space should lead to a responsible daytime population, and I don't think the build out will even be that noticeable from the street once Progression Place is finished.

Anonymous said...

Like everyone else, I love the Wonderbread building and am glad to see it coming back to life. I live nearby (Bloomingdale) and am also happy that the Howard is being resurrected, too. That said, I can't get mysel to like the pop-up looking things on top of the new design. I wish they could've minimized it from the front. It looks cheap and out of place to me. Also, I wonder why the restaurant/night club has to go in the basement. I wonder how successful it will be down there. It makes me wonder if they're including it because they have to.

Anonymous said...

From the drawings I believe that the addition on the top "pop-up" will be set back far enough (19.5 ft) so that it will not be that noticeable from the street. If you lived/worked across the street in an upper floor, you will be able to see it. I have no problem with it here.

I am very glad to see Douglas Development finally doing something about that dilapidated building. They can be a great agent for change but mostly riding on other's coattails. Either way, I'm glad.

Anonymous said...

The "adaptive re-use" looks fine. Not exceptional, but fine.

But how very neuveau-DC to complain about the plans for a whopping 25 surface parking spaces. How quickly we forget that if this building had been proposed merely 10 years ago, it would likely have included 5x that many spaces. Not everyone bikes/Metros/walks in this city, and it's foolish to think that everyone can simply be incentivized out of it. (And never mind the fact that if street parkign were available on this block, it would hold approximately that many cars--and no one would be batting an eye.)

Anonymous said...

I live nearby and I am thrilled by this! The design is appropriate--continuing the industrial feel but sympathetic to the overall context. The parking is enclosed and at the rear of the building, and it's only 25 spaces, so who cares? Build it, build it, build it!!!

Anonymous said...

Regarding the first post in the comments, um, just what in Sam Hill are you talking about? "Architects. . . modeling their designs on some stupid concept?" The idea behind this design could hardly be simpler and clearer -- they are picking up on the industrial character of the existing architecture but making the new elements background so the existing building maintains its aesthetic integrity. I can hardly imagine a more appropriate design strategy. This looks like a really good, pleasant design solution to me.

Kristin on Sep 1, 2011, 11:09:00 PM said...

I just stopped to take pictures of this building last week. Delighted to see that it will enjoy a renaissance.

 

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