Although it is often overlooked by neighborhoods such as NoMa, Brentwood, Edgewood and Bloomingdale, Eckington has become a more attractive and affordable alternative to work, live, and play. Newer developments, amenities and even dog parks have been woven into the long-term plan for this D.C. neighborhood. One design, in particular, rendered by Foulger-Pratt aims to deliver an 83 foot-tall pentagonal mixed-use building with 328 residential units and 8,380 square feet of ground-floor retail. This proposal is set for the 1.79-acre site at 1501 Harry Thomas Way NE.
Eckington is bordered by Rhode Island Avenue and Metropolitan Branch and Florida Avenue. James Bulmer, a D.C. resident explained to the Washington Post why he decided to move from Chinatown to Eckington back in December of 2012. He said,
“When we started searching for a new home we realized how close to everything we were. We wanted a house in a quiet neighborhood, but we also wanted to stay urban… When I tell people I live in Eckington they ask, ‘Where is that?,’ which I love, because I feel it’s our own little secret.”
In 2013, 95 homes, ranging from 1 bedroom to 5 bedrooms, sold for $140,000 to $781,000 respectively. Since then, big developers such as JBG Companies have come in and developed several mixed-use projects with vibrant plazas and green spaces.
The proposal includes a park that will have a lead into the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which is just west of the project site. Originally, this build was intended to be a commercial/industrial project but its developers are now seeking to rezone the project as a mixed-use residential and commercial property. The live-work spaces will stay with respect to the site’s current zoning designations of PDR-2 and PDR-4, which require production, distribution, and repair uses. The applicant is requesting a PUD that would re-zone the site to MU-5-A to allow moderate-density residential in a mixed-use development.
UrbanTurf finds that “the building will have a 9,745 square-foot central courtyard with a pool and is expected to exceed LEED-NC Silver designation requirements”. The plans also include parking which will be accessible from R Street, providing roughly 124 parking spaces for residents and shoppers. Foulger-Pratt’s senior VP of Acquisitions, Michael Abrams, acknowledges,
” [that] there are artists [being] displaced as some of these more industrial parts of town are getting redeveloped.”
Of the 328 units, 9 of them will be two-floor artist live-work lofts (at approximately 5,400 square feet) facing the park. In alignment with DC affordability requirements, 4 units, will be reserved for residents earning no less than 60% of the area’s median income. The developer has also committed to providing inclusionary zoning (IZ) units in accordance with the new regulations requiring 8 percent of the ground-floor residential area to also be reserved for households earning up to 60 percent of the median family income. Abrams added, “We are planning to deliver at a price point that meets the middle of the market”.
Another aim of this project is to be more commuter friendly and create safer means of travel, whether that is walking or biking to and from the area. Currently, there is no sidewalk on R Street so the new development will include the construction of a 6-foot wide continuous tree zone and a 7 1/2-foot sidewalk. The Foulger-Pratt proposal also calls for a landscaped courtyard with the following amenities: a pool, club room(s), fitness areas, and a rooftop deck that overlooks the park.
Along the eastern portion of the site, there will be 20,000 square feet of land that will become a recreation space courtesy of the NoMA Parks Foundation. This space will include a dog park and pour into the Metropolitan Branch Trail. On the southern side of this site, there is more space that may eventually include food kiosks, an amphitheater, and public art.
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