Saturday, November 06, 2010

Jemal Presents Plans for Another 14th Street Residential Project

After receiving support from ANC 1B, Douglas Jemal and his team at Douglas Development hope that the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) are equally kind to their concepts to demolish a forlorn auto shop and build a six-story, 30-unit "apartment house" at 2221 14th Street, NW (see map, left). The development will feature ground floor retail and one level of below grade parking, with spaces for only ten cars and several bicycles.

Courtesy of architects at the relatively new DC firm R2L, the bright and busy concept design draws from a contemporary assortment of glass, metal, brick and terra cotta panels. Sharply angled bay windows protrude from the facade offering apartment dwellers views down both the historic 14th Street and Florida Avenue corridors. Long glass shop windows front the ground floor facade, which will eventually house retail. The environmentally friendly rooftop will feature green landscaping, a lounge deck, and possibly decent views. Architect Sacha Rosen, a principal with R2L, explained that "the massing, form, and rhythm are in the Washington historic tradition, but the details are contemporary." Being located within the Greater U Street Historic District, HPRB will offer feedback shortly, as the project is likely to be included on the Board's next meeting agenda for the 18th of this month.

In early 2009, Jemal, under the guise of "Jemal's Hookers, LLC," was in the process of acquiring raze permits for the vacant auto lot to make room for a new 10,000 s.f. retail development designed by George Myers of GTM Architects. Clearly those plans were scrapped, and this time the metrics are grander. Rosen described the project site as "wonderfully one of the historic entrances to the District's core." But given the site's small and irregular shape,
Rosen said his team was presented with the difficult task of designing "a very efficient building that can support an exterior that will do justice to the community's expectations."

Interestingly, a large mural has been proposed for the back wall of the building, facing southwest. The development team has been in contact with G. Byron Peck, a locally based and nationally respected muralist about commissioning the mural's creation and installation. Peck is responsible for the "Black Family Reunion" mural which has been on the wall
of the adjoining property for many years. He also painted the portrait of Duke Ellington located on the wall of Mood Indigo at the corner of 13th and U Streets NW since 1997.

The often painstaking approval process should be finished by February 2011, with design documents complete in late Spring 2011, and developers are optimistically planning for a Summer 2011 groundbreaking.

Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News


Ace in DC said...

Wonderful news ad great looking design. Glad they are trying to incorporate a new mural in the concept. Goodbye forever Latino Auto Sale!!!!

Chris in Eckington said...

I'm surprised it got past the ANC with ounly 10 parking spaces for 30 units.

Ace in DC said...

The ANCs need to focus on the forest not the trees. Is this development great for the neighborhood? Yes. Does it remove a blighted empty car lot? Yes. Does it have enough parking. Who cares. This is a city with limited parking. Bike, metro, bus, walk. Lets keep stepping forward and not stimy development and oppose successful businesses because of small issues. Good job ANC 1B for recognizing this and supporting this project!

Anonymous said...

Who cares about parking, the tenants aren't moving to this neighborhood to drive everywhere. Bravo to the ANC for having the guts to actually approve something that will promote smart growth. This kind of development will only help promote the trolleys that our city so desperatley needs. Now if they could design buildings that wheren't so jail like!

Kevin said...

When did parking become a "small issue"? If every development came in with 1/3 of the parking needed, the problem would be far, far worse.

Dumb ----> "Who cares about parking, the tenants aren't moving to this neighborhood to drive everywhere."

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a record for Douglas, only 5 years from purchase to ground breaking.

Funny though, it went for tax sale for back taxes due in 2009, and he has yet to pay any taxed on it in for 2010 according to

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hope this is actually happening. Jemal has done some good work in the past. But lately, it seems like his list of announcements keep growing and yet none of them actually go anywhere.

I understand the recession has taken its told on construction, but it would be nice to see him focus on getting one or two projects actually out of the ground.

Anonymous said...


Cities are for people, not for cars. Urbanism 101.

Anonymous said...

Can I interest you in some really dumb vacation spots like Rome, Paris, London, and the dumbest place of all New York City?

Anonymous said...

I fairness to Kevin, DC is just a sleepy little town compared to Paris, London, NYC.

As much as I may hate to admit it. A car is still a necessity for many people in DC. Yes, there are shops and the Metro close by. But, central DC isn't linked in a dense urban network that you find in places like NYC.

Zip cars and bike rentals work for many people. But,too many of the jobs and ammenities are located in the suburbs for everyone to live car free.

Building a couple midrise condos isn't going to transform DC into Manhattan.

At the end of the day, DC has about as much in common with NYC as it does with Frederisburg, Va.

Critically Urban on Nov 8, 2010, 11:46:00 AM said...

This is completely off the topic of this posting. Most jobs are accessible by public transit, even in the suburbs. The issue is that a lot of people tend not to use it if it doesn't have "rail" attached to the name somewhere, but the last anonymous comment comparing DC to Paris, NYC, and London as a "sleepy little town" misses the mark. DC's daytime population swells to what is probably over 1,000,000 these days. This isn't sleepy, even compared with the behemoths. DC might be considered the adolescent little brother to NYC's 30-something vibe in the scheme of things, but it certainly isn't sleepy.

In regards to the parking issue, I'm pretty sure Chris in Eckington was being sarcastic when he referenced 10 parking spaces getting past this ANC. This mean Ace's comment was unwarranted, and all those after are all based on an argument that doesn't exist! We can all agree that most people who would live in this development would probably not drive for most of their needs. "Anonymous/sleepy little town", while probably not ignorant, is also probably not a regular transit user/walker.

Anonymous said...

I think this parcel is zoned at a 1/3 parking ratio, so the 10 spaces is the minimum requirement.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:45 here.

Just for the record, I live in the District, take transit, walk to work, and drive maybe once a month.

I support smart growth and favor projects like this. It is just we need to be pragmatic. Concerns about parking and automobiles aren't compleltely illogical.

DC isn't as urban as places like NYC, Paris.

We need to look more toward cities like Boston, Chicago, which stress transit and walking, but also acknowledge the reality that many non-20 somethings people are going to own and drive cars.

Anonymous said...

However one sees DC in relation to other cities, I think the point is we are heading there, and not providing extra parking will only get us to where we're going faster.
It's like saying the trolley will bugger up traffic. Of course it will, but it will also make non-car living much easier, and that will benefit the majority. Sorry Mr. Eisenhower, not every one gets to drive in to the heart of every town in under 30 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what the truth is, but what I've heard is that Eisenhower was aghast when he learned that interstates were going to be put through the centers of cities. But by the time he found out it was too late to do anything about it. Maybe he could have known or done more, but it wasn't all Ike's fault.

Anonymous said...

Cars? In that area, the new residents of the over-priced, mini-condos are going to be carjacked sometime during their stay. And if they don't have a car, they will be mugged, shot, raped, or all of the above. It's nice to see D.C. finally starting to become modernized, but if the City doesn't eliminate all of the Section 8 housing in the area, the only result is expensive high-rises and dead tenants.

Sorry, but that's the facts. I couldn't be paid to live in that area.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:13: No, actually, the zoning for this site requires a minimum of one space for every two residential units plus one space for every 300 square feet of retail in excess of 3,000 square feet of retail. That would be 15 spaces for the 30 apartments plus parking for the customers and employees of the ground floor retail, which would probably be in the neighborhood of another 7 spaces, for a total of approximately 22 spaces for the 30 units and perhaps 5,000 square feet of retail.

Car Owner said...

I moved to DC because it's NOT like NYC or anywhere else and it has it's own personality. I agree "We need to look more toward cities like Boston, Chicago, which stress TRANSIT of choice and walking, but also acknowledge the reality that many non-20 somethings people are going to own and drive cars." As I do and love driving my car whether in the District or out of the District, the thought of living without a car is scary. My hat is off to Jemal for adding the 10 parking spaces, those its not enough, but a start.

Anonymous said...

How is Jemal getting this project to a summer 2011 groundbreaking while the previously announced bicyle building at 9th&N NW (with no parking), in Shaw, is dead in the water?

Wish ANC2C would take the following position on Parcel 42:

"The ANCs need to focus on the forest not the trees. Is this development great for the neighborhood? Yes. Does it remove a blighted empty car lot? ... Lets keep stepping forward and not stimy development and oppose successful businesses because of small issues."

-- mr phenomenal

Ace in DC said...

My original comment was not an argument with Chris in Eckington, about parking, but more a concurrence that I am also surprised the ANC approved this project. I could really care less about the zoning / parking, but I do care about ANCs taking too much negative interest in the minutiae of a new development/business/liquor license/new restaurant/etc. In this economy, we should be welcoming with open arms anyone willing to take a financial risk and build or start a business in DC (I know Detroit would kill to have Jemal build there or have Big Bear Cafe open up a coffee shop that sells liqour). ANCs: protect the history of the city and the interests of the neighborhood, but if a empty lot is being developed - DO NOT STAND IN THE WAY!!!!! ANC 1B did the right thing in this situation.

Anonymous said...

Re: The idea that DC needs to look more to Boston and Chicago....

We are already significantly more transit-oriented than those cities. The percentage of DC residents using transit for their daily commute (38.97%) well exceeds that of Boston (31.6) AND Chicago (25.38). We are behind only NYC (54.24) and Jersey City, NJ (46.62) for rate of transit usage.

And these numbers don't factor in those who walk to work -- in DC, would expect the number of walkers to be high, given the city's compact nature. Sometimes you do need to think big, and don't pooh pooh your very special city that offers some interesting surprises when you take an objective look.

Anonymous said...

My coworker told me she has started driving to work because the cost of park and ride and metro in and out from Virginia each day now exceeds the $10 early bird parking rate in our building's garage.
Metro is killing itself.

Anonymous said...

While it is true DC is above Chi and Bos in commuting patterns, that is mostly a function of having a small city and a large downtown office base.

That doesn't change the fact that on the whole, DC functions far more like Bos and Chi or eastern Queens than the core of NYC.

Most DC neighborhoods don't have shops on every corner. Large swaths of the city are quiet residential areas, where a car is not an absolute necessity, but is still often nice to have, especially if you are older or have children.

Basics like grocery stores are often a 30-40 minute walk away. Plus, there are few 24-hr places. If I someone needs to pick something up late at night. It's not like Manhattan, where you go around the corner and swing in one of the 24-hr shops. In my neighborhood, I would have to walk 2 miles through empty streets just to buy milk or cough medicine past 10pm.

Of course, this point is irrelevant to the project in question. This area should be packed to the gills with residencial units.

But, at the end of the day we have to remeber areas like this are basically the exception. We still have more in common with Bos and Chi than we do with NYC, Paris. Street cars and bikeshare are nice. But, whether we like it nor not cars are going to play a large role in the District's transit future.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that this area of the city does function more like the NYC urban core than other parts of DC. This section of the city is changing and it is becoming very different than those areas west of the park. The density is higher and the need for a car is smaller. If you live in Chevy Chase, yes, you probably need a car. If you live at 14th and Florida Ave NW, a car might make some things more convenient, but you can get by with all your day to day errands and passtimes without one.

Mr. Other Upper NW on Nov 10, 2010, 12:22:00 PM said...

@ Anon 3:21: "Sorry, but that's the facts. I couldn't be paid to live in that area."

Well thank goodness for that, because I would hate to have someone who is constantly living in fear of being carjacked as a neighbor. When was the last time you actually visited 14th Street--1971? Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

What a moron @ Anon 3:20. (sitting at home in Georgetown clutching pearls, pondering the best route to drive to the other side of town)

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