Friday, August 03, 2012

Vacant Lot In 14th Street Corridor to Be Mixed-Use Building



The Zipcar lot at the corner of 14th and Corcoran is likely to be replaced by a seven-story mixed-use development, as the concept design was recently recommended for HPRB approval. The Hickok Cole Architects-designed building at 1617 14th Street, NW would feature ground-floor retail and six stories of dwellings on the site, which was formerly an Amoco gas station. The proposed building would be bookended by "a row of early 20th century commercial buildings" on the north and, to the east on Corcoran Street, "a coordinated row of Italianate rowhouses." On the opposite corner is the historic and Romanesque John Wesley AME church (pictured below), and right next to it is the Central Union Mission building.

According to the HPRB report, the design calls for a "five-story masonry block fronting on 14th Street," with another slightly smaller four-story masonry block facing on Corcoran. Each block would feature "punched windows deeply set within the masonry walls." Along 14th Street, plans call for "projecting storefronts," as well as a "vertical projection consisting of canted glass bay windows extending to the top of the fifth story." The six and seventh crowning stories would be built of metal and glass, with each floor offset with the other, and "wall planes broken between apartment units."  According to the report, "design intent is to provide a contrast between the more formal, disciplined masonry blocks below with the more dynamic canted glazed upper stories."  Developers are seeking zoning variances to decrease the parking spaces requirement, and to increase the building's height to allow for the elevator overrun.

The staff evaluation of the concept design found that "the design has been developed in recognition of its site, influenced by the large auto showrooms along 14th Street (all long since replaced), the smaller-scaled rowhouses on Corcoran, and its location in the Uptown Arts District. The reports finds the height and masonry "compatible and complementary" with the church and the mission, with the building's stepdown and smaller windows on the Corcoran side preserving a successful relation to the adjacent rowhouses. The report goes on to heap praise upon the "exemplary" juxtaposed design of the top floors; whereas most buildings in the area are "begrudgingly recessed simply in an effort to squeeze additional space while trying to make the building appear smaller," this building's "setbacks and unusual geometry" result in "a harmonious juxtaposition of design elements and a distinctive roofline."

The site was formerly approved in 2005 for a similar steel-glass-and-limestone building, designed by Brennan Beer Gorman Architects and developed by FLGA, LLC, a decision that, at the time, created a minor controversy, as the similar "Rapture Lofts" project at 14th and T was rejected by the board, raising accusations of preferential treatment from some community members.

Washington D.C. real estate development news

20 comments:

Adam L on Aug 3, 2012, 9:26:00 AM said...

Any word on where those Zipcars are going? That is one of their primary lots in the area.

Anonymous said...

Who's the developer for this project?

Ward 3 resident said...

@Adam:

I would like to know if ZipCar is still competitive against Car2Go and why they need entire properties of surface parking now when Car2Go provides a model with more flexible parking. I support ZipCar and car-sharing but having surface lots dedicated to this seems like a waste of other potential uses.

Anonymous said...

Zipcar and Car2Go are two completely different busines models. One is one-way oriented, the other is round-trip, so I wouldn't see a decline in either, if anything they complement each other well enough that the more likely effect is that more people will have both memberships and not own a car.

Anonymous said...

What happens to the Zipcars is a big deal as the two of the biggest lots of cars (14th & Corcoran and 8th & Florida are both being developed out of existence. Depleting a fleet that is already totally used on weekends.

Copmmunity benefit agreements need to make sure to require the placement of Zipcars in these new apartment buildings with covenants that keep car sharing spots at prevailing market price. The developers of Langston Lofts negotiated to put one in, only to have the condo board take it back when they assumed control.

Anonymous said...

Hikcok Cole also designed Square 54 (in Foggy Bottom) among other distinctive properties. I'm guessing this development will be pretty high end. An interesting juxtaposition against the Central Union Mission.

As for Zipcar, who knows. My guess is that Zipcar will seek to acquire more on-street spaces or spaces in underground garages.

Anonymous said...

The fine architects at Pelli Clark Pelli will be disappointed to learn that Square 54 was not designed by them. As for H/C Architects design work, the CSIS building looks very promising, but the past work of the firm is uneven at best. This project's image is too small to tell much about the design.

Anonymous said...

Yet another building of 7 stories above and probably 2 stories below ground for 14th. These buildings are expensive to construct as they are concrete and take 2 years to build as opposed to 6 story frame buildings which go up in 6 months and don't need underground structure.

The parking minimum is responsible for these being the choice. The end result is much more neighborhood disruption than necessary, more sump pumped water into sewers, more cars, and much higher rents for the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

What an uninspired design! The basic rhythem seems ok, but the way the piers come down to the first floor is clumsy. And what's with the whimpy cornice? If you're going to do one, then do one which works, ie, keeps the rain off the facade. The corner piece is the most disappointing with the staggard one vertical support member dancing around floor to floor. Is that supposed to be playfull? What's keeping architects from doing descent infill?

Anonymous said...

What's with you not being able to spell?

Anonymous said...

Community benefit agreement?

Why exactly should land owners / developers have to enter into legal District agreements for a FOR PROFIT company like Zipcar?

They are a publically traded company, with shareolders. A company that exists to make profit, and while zip cars stock has done nothing but fall since its opening 18 months ago, and companies like Car2Go are eating Zipcars lunch by making them actually pay market pricing for their parking, we shouldn't be writing concessions into law for every developer to have to follow.

Zipcar can either compete, or they can go out of business. It is simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding the remarks of HPRB, this design is out of keeping with the beautiful symmetry of the 3 story Italianate row houses on Corcoran that give the street its instinctive historic character. The lot formally had a comparable set of row houses facing Corcoran Street and did not over shadow the other houses. It is bizarre that HPRB would even consider a building of such bulk and height for that site. It detracts from the appearance of both Corcoran and 14th because of the modern design. The ANC should demand redesign to a smaller scale set of town homes fronting Corcoran and shops fronting 14th. It must not block the light to the building adjacent to it.

Anonymous said...

who is the developer?

Anonymous said...

And the developer is who?

Anonymous said...

It is a misnomer to call a residential building (or an office building or hotel) with ground floor retail a mixed-use building.

A mixed-use building generally has more than two uses: office, residential and retail (Market Square), or a cultural uses such as a theater, residential, and retail (The Lansburgh and The Lafayette), or a hotel, office, and retail (National Place and The Willard).

Don't let the PR and marketing people hijack a good term. Think of K Street or Connecticut Avenue across from the Zoo; buildings in both locations have been here before the word mixed-use became such a buzz word. Most would not call these buildings with ground floor retail and offices or residences above mixed-use buildings with good reason; they aren't mixed-use buildings!

Anonymous said...

So what is the correct "nomer" for a building with "only" two uses? I have checked dictionaries, ULI, APA, etc. and can't find anything that said mixed-use requires at least 3 different uses.

Anonymous said...

11:47 is cracking me up! you want people to build less dense, flimsy, cheap, wood buildings with no basement because you think it will be less annoying the the short run... such vision.

Anonymous said...

This is mixed use. Totally uninspired, but mixed use.

Anonymous said...

Be happy people - our city is densifying and filling in. If only our buildings could be taller ... gasp! Yes, I said it ...

Jon E said...

Finall 14th St is filling in. I have had businesses on 14th St since 1967. That was the worst of times. Think what this will do to the businesses and tax base.

Yea

 

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