May 23, 2006

Closing The Great Chasm in NW DC

Ten years ago one would stand at the corner of 16th and U Sts. and wonder about a walk to Union Station. Given the dangers and the lack of attractions, such an urban hike would have been left to those who crave adventure for adventure's sake. With the revitalization of U Street and the construction of the New York Ave. metrorail stop, however, the divide narrows each year and the desire to see what's out there grows.

Pushing this process along, a development team fronted by Chip Ellis plans to build a $100 mil, mixed-use project next to the Shaw metro stop at 7th and S Sts. NW, reports the WaPo. The project, called Broadcast Center One, would include a 100K SF office building for Radio One, which plans to move its headquarters from Lanham. It also will feature 23,000 SF of shops and restaurants and 182 condominiums that will range in price from $400K to the mid-$500K. Construction is planned to begin by year-end and be completed in early 2009.

Ellis also would like to redevelop the Howard Theater (below) at 620 T St. NW as part of his vision. The city accepted offers from developers April 13 and expects to take up to five months to select a winning proposal, said Derrick Woody, a coordinator in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. More on that project here and here.

With all this activity the lines are between where its ok and where is not are fading. Though gentrifaction undeniably has some negative aspects, the positive impacts are there for all to see as well. As we once advised Dupont Circle resident not to cross 16th St., we may someday tell those same people to met Capitol Hill friends halfway, near a renovated Howard Theater.

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