2016 brought a myriad of changes to Washington, D.C., from a 66-acre land deal to the District to the blocking of one of city’s most contentious projects to a stadium feud that seems to have come to a close. While Curbed DC was able to break down the best and the biggest news headlines of the year in one article, it wasn’t able to cover every area of the city.
Want to learn more about your community? This article from Curbed goes into detail about which projects in each Ward are truly changing their respective neighborhoods.
To learn about each Ward, how they’ve progressed, and what more there is to expect, Curbed reached out to each D.C. Councilmember for their insight. Below, see what Councilmembers Brandon Todd, Mary Cheh, Charles Allen, and Brianne Nadeau had to say about their communities.
This year, the District finalized plans to replace the Park Morton development five blocks south of the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro Station with a pair of mixed-income projects. Currently, the development at 617 Morton Street NW houses 174 residential units.
When the project is complete, it will house a 189-unit apartment building, a 76-unit senior citizen apartment building, and eight three-bedroom townhomes. South of the project, a park will also be constructed with a playground, dog park, and basketball court.
In 2016, the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA) closed on the financing of an affordable housing development, called Portner Flats. The project is located at 1440-1450 V Street NW and will feature an eight-story building with 96 units, ranging from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The project will target households making 60 percent or less of the area median income.
On Portner Flats, D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau told Curbed DC, “I know residents are very excited to have that site become active again … because that’s a place people walk by a lot and it’s a really vibrant place in the neighborhood.”
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 249 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
Keep an eye on the planned redevelopment of the Suntrust Plaza in Adams Morgan. Located at 1800 Columbia Road NW, the project from PN Hoffman and Potomac Investment Properties involves a 70-foot-tall building with 60 condos and roughly 8,400 square feet of ground-floor retail.
While there have been many debates and changes on the design of the project, Nadeau said, “I’m confident that we’re going to have a beautiful development there.”
Another development to stay aware of is Grimke School in U Street NW. This December, the developers dropped the project after months of inactivity due to financing issues and fatigue. Despite this, the District is still committed to redeveloping the property for roughly 26,000 square feet of space with 10,000 square feet for a museum and 1,500 square feet for the U Street Arts League.
There are also plans for the project to house the African-American Civil War Museum as well as studios and offices for Step Afrika!, CityDance, Imagination Stage, and Dance USA. There is still no date yet as to when the developer for the project will be announced.
On the Grimke School, Neadeau said, “I want us as a community to be excited for what’s coming next there … Nobody’s more eager than I am to see it fulfilled.”
One of the biggest headlines of the year happened in Ward 2, being the opening of Donald Trump’s new D.C. hotel. The Trump International Hotel opened in September with 263 rooms, 35 suites, and a 13,2000-square-foot, three-room Presidential Ballroom.
The Watergate Hotel also reopened its doors to the public with additional rooms, each renovated, as well as a bigger ballroom and a rooftop lounge.
Another new hotel is also on its way. In 2016, the 360-room hotel in CityCenter, called Conrad, broke ground. The hotel will feature 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail at the corner of 10th and I streets NW. Initial occupancy is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019.
Plans were also revealed for a 130-foot addition to the National Bank of Washington, located at 14th and G streets NW. If all goes according to plan, the addition will house 7,775 square feet of ground-floor retail, topped by office space and a penthouse space. An office building located at 1336-42 G Street NW will also be demolished to make room for the project.
Last year, it was revealed that Washington, D.C. might get a second Apple store. If the Historic Preservation Review Board approves the plans, the store will inhabit the 113-year-old Carnegie Library. There is no set delivery for the project, while negotiations are still being made.
In 2016, Dupont Circle’s underground trolley station, known as Dupont Underground, hosted its first art exhibition. The exhibition, Raise/Raze, resembled the video game, Minecraft, by how it allowed visitors to rearrange geometric structures, held together by velcro. Since the exhibition closed, there has been little news on Dupont Underground, but expect that to change as the space has already reopened for 45-minute tours.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 102 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
One of the city’s major developments that is expected to make progress this year is the massive overhaul of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. This year, it will shut its doors to the public for a renovation led by architecture team Martinez + Johnson and Mecanoo.
Once the $208 million renovations are complete, the building will feature 3D printers, a new children’s library, event hall, renovated reading rooms, and a cafe. While the MLK Library is closed, the library system will relocate to 1990 K Street NW.
In Chinatown, there are plans for a new office and retail building with approximately 45 parking spaces. The project, located at 615 H Street NW, will preserve the existing three-story building and create a new 10-story building with eight floors of office space.
A new tenant is also on its way to Ward 2. In Downtown’s Reagan Building, the National Children’s Museum is expected to open by the end of this year. The last time the museum was open was in 2014 at National Harbor.
Later this year, be sure to also keep your eyes on the National Building Museum for their upcoming summer installation. Behind the installation will be Studio Gang, an architecture and urbanism practice based in Chicago and New York. Previous installations have included a maze, mini golf, and a beach. No details have been released yet on what to expect from the new installation.
Ward 3 is mostly a mix of single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, and some retail. In comparison to other Wards, it’s not changing or redeveloping as fast as others, but according to Councilmember Mary Cheh, it’s still modernizing in ways that are worth mentioning.
Cheh told Curbed DC, “What we’ve had over [the past few years] … [is] pretty much all of our schools, our libraries, our firehouses, our recreation centers, almost all of them have been modernized, and ones that haven’t been are in the queue.”
Some of the major projects from last year include the rebuilding of Cleveland Park Library, the modernization of the Palisades Recreation Center, and the rehabilitation of Beach Drive NW. The repairs on Beach Drive won’t be complete for another three years.
Another major project to complete was the modernization of the Student Center at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). The purpose of the modernization was to shift the school’s image from a "commuter campus" into a community that is still engaging for students outside of the classroom. The building was constructed to LEED Platinum standards.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 51 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
Still, Ward 3 is the only Ward in Washington, D.C. that does not have a public outdoor pool. In order to fix this, Cheh put money in the D.C. budget for it to happen. It’s still up to Parks and Recreation Department to figure out where to put it, and they seem to have settled on Hearst Park.
One of the most major development headlines of the year happened in Ward 4. The topic was the 66-acre transfer of the 110-acre Walter Reed Campus to the District. With this land deal, work is expected to begin this year on over 3 million square feet of new development.
Councilmember Brandon Todd told Curbed DC, “It’s really a tremendous opportunity for Ward 4.”
Plans include constructing 2,100 residential units with 400 of those being designated for affordable housing. A Hyatt hotel and charter school are also planned along with 20 acres of green space and an innovation center by George Washington Center. Permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans will also be constructed.
Last year, another big development to come to Ward 4 was the groundbreaking of Engine Company 22, the first major development to begin at the Walter Reed campus. This fire station is planned to be state-of-the-art with a cost of $12 million.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 296 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
According to Todd, the Ward is currently 70 percent residential space, so there are not too many opportunities to redevelop land. Despite this, Todd said that this year he will be chairing the committee on government operations, so he will be focused on making sure that government accountability is second to none. He also hopes to expand programs for seniors.
On how to help residents who may be nervous about change in their neighborhoods, Todd said, “If things don’t change, they only get worse.”
Before 2016 came to a close, the non-profit organization, Friends of McMillan Park (FOMP), won a victory after the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the Zoning Commission’s approval of the McMillan Sand Filtration site redevelopment only one day after the groundbreaking.
For years, FOMP has protested the 25-acre McMillan project that is expected to house 531 apartments and a 52,000-square-foot Harris Teeter from Jair Lynch as well as 146 townhouses from EYA. Additional plans included an eight-acre park, 17,500-square-foot community center, and roughly 1 million square feet towards medical office space from Trammell Crow.
The McMillan Sand Filtration site location is bounded by Michigan Avenue NW, North Capitol Street NW, and First and Channing streets NW.
One of the biggest projects revealed for Ward 5 was the nine-building, mixed-use project set for Ivy City. Douglas Development’s project is set to house 156 hotel rooms, 422 apartments, and 18 townhouses. There will also be 440,000 square feet of retail and over 2,400 parking spaces. Delivery is slated for Q3 2018.
Another major project revealed was Eckington Yards from The JBG Cos. and The Boundary Cos. The project will feature four connected buildings on a 3.1-acre site. There will be a total of 695 residential units, up to 77,184 square feet of retail, a 331-space below-grade parking garage with an additional 237 bicycle parking spaces. The location is bounded by Q Street NE, Eckington Place NE, and Harry Thomas Way NE.
In Truxton Circle, groundbreaking began for a mixed-use project that will convert a garage and former stables into 114 condos and 1,225 square feet of retail. Once complete, the development will be known as Chapman Stables. The prices for the condos will range from the $300,000s to over $1 million.
Woodridge also got a brand new, LEED Gold-certified library. Located at 1801 Hanlin Street NE, the building spans 20,000 square feet with 40 computers, two conference rooms, and a roof terrace. Bing Thom Architects, the same firm behind the Surrey City Centre Library, designed the project.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 587 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
Last year, it was revealed that there may be plans for a hotel in Truxton Circle. No confirmation has been given yet on whether or not the project is a hotel, but the developer that submitted an application with the Zoning Commission was Baywood Hotels, a privately owned hotel management company.
Shipping container homes are also on their way to Ward 5 in Washington, D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood. Designed by architect Travis Price, the project is expected to complete in 2017 with four two-bedroom apartments and ground-floor retail. The location at 1201 Franklin Street NE formerly housed a medical building.
Finally, construction completed for The John and Jill Ker Conway Residence in NoMa, designed by Sorg Architects. Located at at North Capitol and K streets NW, this project is the city’s first permanent supportive housing project for homeless veterans as well as the first of its kind in the country to have full-time Veterans Affairs case managers on site. The 14-story project features a total of 124 units.
Another major change is that the Union Market Historic District was approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), despite opponents describing the process as “rushed.” The historic district designation encompasses the 74-building, 40-acre complex between Florida and New York avenues NE.
Another NoMa project worth featuring is the completion of Washington, D.C.’s first ever REI. Located at 1140 3rd Street NE, the flagship store inhabits the historic Uline Arena building, which once hosted events that included ice skating, circuses, and The Beatles’ first ever U.S. concert. The development was built to LEED Gold certification standards.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 1,223 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
In an interview with Curbed DC, Councilmember Charles Allen said, “It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with challenges.” This exciting time for Ward 6 is highlighted by its biggest development, The Wharf, which Allen described as “transformational.”
Located at the Southwest Waterfront, The Wharf is one of the largest developments on the East Coast with 24 acres of construction and 3 million square feet of retail, residential, office, and hotel space. 12 different architects have designed the project. The first residential building is expected to deliver by the fall of 2017.
Adjacent to the Waterfront Metro station, there are also plans to create what will be the tallest building on the south side of M Street. The project is the redevelopment of St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Once complete, it will offer 221 multi-family residential units as well as a myriad of amenities, including a “pet run,” pet spa, gym, bike storage, and pool. The project is not expected to complete until Q3 2018.
Another project worth keeping an eye on is Parcel 42. This project in Shaw will feature 90 residential units, an outdoor public park, 8,000 square feet of retail and one storefront with a rent subsidy for a neighborhood-focused business.
In January 2016, Walmart decided to back out from plans that would have built stores at two Ward 7 development sites, Skyland and Capitol Gateway. The renegotiation occurred as Walmart announced that it would close 154 locations in the U.S.
Additionally, with plans to open in the spring of 2016, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail created a link between Benning Road and Bladensburg Waterfront Park.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 269 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
In the spring of 2017, a multi-phase project is expected to complete, entailing the revitalization of Minnesota Avenue, SE, beginning at A Street, SE, to approximately 300 feet south of Benning Road, NE. The construction began in August 2015 with plans to widen sidewalks, improve utility systems, and include new ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps.
Another project yet to complete is the construction of the Parkside Pedestrian Bridge, which would connect the Mayfair neighborhood with the proposed Parkside development to the west and the Deanwood neighborhood to the east. Already, the final design for the 400-foot-long bridge is complete. It is expected to be safe, well-lit, and accessible to pedestrians with disabilities.
In 2016, Menkiti Group and Enlightened, Inc. were chosen as the development team for an Anacostia project located at 1201-1215 Good Hope Road SE and 1909 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. Known as MLK Gateway, the project will feature over 50,500-square-foot commercial development with accessible neighborhood-serving retail, tech incubator, and a full-service, sit-down restaurant.
Last year, it was also revealed that Walgreens is on its way to Anacostia. [UPDATE: A previous version of this article said it was unknown when the project would deliver. The project is currently open.] It is located at 1117 Good Hope Road SE. The site currently houses a building known for its iconic “Anacostia” sign.
For Anacostia’s mega mixed-use project, Reunion Square, all lawsuits were withdrawn. Reunion Square will span 1.5 million square feet with nine buildings. Across the buildings, there will be 481 residential units, 945,000 square feet of office space, and 144,000 square feet of retail space. No delivery date has been reported yet.
From January 2015 to December 2016, a total of 350 affordable units delivered to the Ward.
What is still to come.
This year, a brand new Busboys & Poets is expected to open in Anacostia, making it the first Busboys & Poets in the city’s Southeast quadrant. Groundbreaking began at 2004-2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE in 2016.
Not until 2018 will Congress Heights get a brand new $65 million Washington Wizards practice facility, designed by ROSSETTI and Marshall Moya Design. When construction starts, it will be located on St. Elizabeth’s East campus with a minimum of 4,200 seats, two practice courts, swimming pools, training rooms, and a kitchen.
Finally, what is still to come to Ward 8 is Washington, D.C.’s first elevated park. By mid-2019, 11th Street Bridge will be reconstructed with designs by OMA + OLIN. For the park, expect areas for performances, public art, kayak and canoe launches, as well as an environmental education center.
Were there any notable projects left out of this article? Let Curbed DC know by emailing the tipline or leaving a comment below.