Housing Complex

And Now We Present: The Florida Avenue NW of the Future

That empty lot you see there? It might soon look like this:

Or perhaps like this:

In February, two developers submitted proposals to the city for 965 Florida Ave. NW—a vacant parcel obtained by the city in exchange for the land on Georgia Avenue that Howard University is now developing into the Howard Town Center. One came from MRP Realty and Ellis Development Group, the other from The JBG Companies, Gragg & Associates and Moddie Turay Co. The JBG group has appeared to have a leg up in the process, since city officials have said they'd prefer proposals that incorporate neighboring property, and JBG owns a lot just south of 965 Florida.

Now, courtesy of Jonathan O'Connell, we know what both proposals look like. As expected, JBG's includes a Harris Teeter supermarket, in addition to space for up to 15 restaurants and shops, 30,000 square feet of office space, a 125-room hotel, 150 condos, 250 apartments, and 200 micro units, with 70 affordable units. Connected with JBG's land to the south, it re-establishes W Street east of Florida Avenue.

Here's a bird's-eye view of the plan:

And a street view:

Meanwhile, the Ellis proposal, while lacking JBG's plot-consolidation advantage, does not lack in ambition. It envisions a large ground-floor market under a C-shaped residential building, with a grand courtyard:

Which design do you prefer?

  • Eric

    Definitely JBG, although I wish they'd divvy up the plot architecturally AND structurally.

  • tntdc

    Both look as good as present-day Crystal City.

  • Will

    Don't care which gets done, just as long as W street gets reconnected.

  • Duff Man

    I prefer JBG. I don't think the Ellis Group's is able to connect W Street, which is as important as the development itself. And while Ellis' courtyard looks nice, you won't even be able to see it from the street, so it really only benefits those living in the building. JBG's building is comically shiny and glassy, so maybe they can change that. But as a nearby resident, I'd prefer a real grocery store like Harris Teeter to an upscale market.

  • DC Nats

    I like the idea of a market MUCH more than another grocery store. It would bring in more local retailers and be unique to the area. Plus JBG will want to connect W street no matter what for their other parcel. And nobody can connect W street without Howard University helping.

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  • W St

    @DCNats - JBG will not build W Street without the District's parcel as it would not have enough property remaining to make it feasible. And I think the market will feel more like an interior mall food court than a Union Market or something similar/high end. There isn't enough sunlight/glass and the ceiling heights are much lower than Union Market. Also, maybe most importantly, Ellis has admitted they wouldn't be able to move forward without District subsidy (i.e. lots of time/bureaucracy). JBG is able to move forward on their own and would do so ASAP.

  • Alan

    JBG, all day. Re-connecting W Street combined with the better aesthetic design equals a winning bid in my eyes.

  • George

    @ W St,

    Do you have a source for Ellis asking for a subsidy? I haven't been able to find anything on that, and the developer said it was untrue last night.

  • Rebecca

    Would NOT like W Street reconnected. It would just increase traffic along W street which is already full of cars trying to avoid U Street. W St would make a nice pedestrian mall...especially if the ground floor market idea is chosen - a place to have coffee, a picnic, etc. Relax before a show at 930club, etc.

    Also - I hope A LOT of underground parking is planned for this development.

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