Choose Your Own Adventure, Shaw Edition
Shaw residents packed into the meeting room at the Watha T. Daniel library last night to get a glimpse of their neighborhood's future. Well, six different potential futures.
In response to the city's April request for proposals to develop the long-vacant Parcel 42 at the intersection of 7th Street, R Street, and Rhode Island Avenue NW, six developers submitted their designs and came to the community meeting to present their visions for the site. Neighbors are encouraged to weigh in, and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission will meet on Dec. 5 to assess the plans for the 17,000-square-foot parcel (actually two parcels: the main one, and a little sliver across an alley). Here's what they'll be looking at.
The first proposal comes from Baywood Hotels. It's unique among the proposals in that it includes, well, a hotel. That's in addition to the features common to most of the plans: ground-level retail (in Baywood's case, the retail partner is the food shop Milk and Honey), underground parking, and residential units that include affordable housing. The plans call for 74 parking spaces, 5,689 square feet of retail, 102 hotel rooms, and 22 affordable units at 50 percent of area median income (AMI). The development would look like this:
Next comes a proposal from the Neighborhood Development Corporation. This one has Yes! Organic Market signed on for its ground-floor retail—an attractive tenant, though let's remember that a new Giant is opening up two blocks away soon at CityMarket at O. The entrance to the Yes! would be at the corner of 7th and R, an attractive feature that'd encourage people to walk between the building and the library kitty-corner.
NDC also proposed a second scheme that'd shift the alley eastward and link the two plots of land. In this scheme, the building curves around to run parallel to Rhode Island Avenue:
Next up: Shaw 42 Developers, a partnership between TenSquare and Chapman Development. They haven't yet selected a retail partner, and their design doesn't many few features not found in the other proposals—with the exception of the rooftop pool:
POUNDS, Jubilee Housing, and Sorg Architects bring perhaps the most visually striking facade, with a waterfall-like pattern facing Rhode Island Avenue. The proposal includes a community garden on the small lot across the alley, a retail strip along 7th Street, and "live work units" along R. Most notably, it includes considerably more affordable housing than the other options: Forty units at an average of 40 percent AMI. As a result, it's the only proposal that requires a subsidy from the city.
The United House of Prayer for All People has one of the more conventional designs, with retail wrapping around the corner and a residential entrance on R Street. But UHOP has something no one else does: a motto. Frank Wiggins closed his presentation with the emphatic tagline: "Building families. Building homes. Building character. Now let us build Parcel 42."
The most outside-the-box idea comes from the Warrenton Group, Four Points, and Studio Upwall. They envision two levels of retail, with a public stair at the corner of 7th and R leading up to a second-floor courtyard with greenery, shops, and townhouses. It's the most intriguing idea, and it leaves the others in the dust when it comes to public space, but it comes at a cost: Just 10 percent of the units will be affordable—fewer than in any other proposal—and at the high level of 80 percent AMI.
So: Which design do you like best?