DC DEVELOPMENT(S): STRAND THEATER RENOVATION

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It’s summer and while the birds are chirping, the hammers are also swinging. If you didn’t catch my drift, let me put it simply: it’s construction season. Homes are being built from scratch, buildings are being flipped, and developments are being made. All in all, pretty exciting stuff! It’s fun to imagine what the raw beams will look like when they are done up from the outside and what kind of folks will live inside the walls that do not yet have ceilings. What fights over what’s for dinner will end predictably in Chipotle food babies and what Pinterest fails might take place upon move in…the future is bright!

One development that has recently been in the spotlight is one by PGN Architects – a team that is working to renovate the Strand Theater in Ward 7, while at the same time tackling a nearby mixed-use development. PGN Architects is an architecture firm based in DC that has an impressive and diverse portfolio under their belts – past projects range to include everything from affordable housing to mixed use spaces to residential, and even historical preservation. They’re the masterminds behind The Laundry apartments, Shannon Place, Matthews Memorial affordable housing, and more…and now, this.

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The project first surfaced in the eyes and ears of the public in May of this year, and since then, plans have become more concrete – though not yet literally. The plans, as they stand now, have the project finishing as a mixed-use building with 1,398 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, next to 1,233 square feet of community space, which will all be tucked underneath a six-story, 86-unit apartment building. The hodge-podge space will also be complete with a parking garage that can fit 17 vehicles and 38 bicycles.

This isn’t a cut-and-dry apartment build, though – it also involves the renovation of the Strand Theater, which is a historic building that dates back to 1928 as the first motion picture theater constructed east of the Anacostia River for African-Americans. In the most recent design set forward, old and new will be tied together with exterior details. The new building will have a base that is reminiscent of the theater.

While pricing on this development is not immediately available, it is poised to house units that will be a fit for households earning roughly 60 percent of the area’s median income. Some of the available units, however, will be replacement apartments for the Lincoln Heights and Richardson Dwellings.

The latest design will be set forth in front of the Zoning Commission sometime this November, with moves being made to break ground and get those dinner arguments heated up soon after. Head’s up, Chipotle — we’re going to need guac.

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