Thursday, April 21, 2011

Survey: Big K Block Redevelopment

Friends, neighbors, and citywide citizens: the Department of Housing and Community Development has put out a survey asking for priorities and suggestions for the redevelopment of the "Big K" site at MLK and Morris Road.

Do you want housing? Offices? Another community center? Restaurant and retail space? This survey will be used as a guide for the redevelopment that will take place over the next few years. In the housing options listed on the survey, there was no option for market rate housing, only varying levels of affordable. Remember, there is always a choice to write in an "other" suggestion.

In my opinion, this site needs be a mix of residential, cultural, commercial, and retail. The two large houses need to be retained and preserved as they are. They would be a great home for a museum, front-dining restaurants, or offices. I think additional density needs to be at the corner of the block where Big K is, but that the Big K building should be incorporated into that density.

Click Here to take the survey - it only takes a few minutes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Old Market House Square Groundbreaking!

After years of work by St. Philip Episcopal Church, TKF Foundation, members of the neighborhood, and the District (mostly DDOT), groundbreaking for the revived and re-imagined Old Market House Square is taking place this Thursday, April 14th, at 1pm! Old Market House Square is the public space on 14th Street SE between U and V Streets, and was originally built as the central square and gathering space of the neighborhood.

View Old Market House Square in a larger map

Old Market House Square was renamed John A. Logan Park in the summer of 1908 after the Civil War general that is also honored in Logan Circle. However, to avoid name confusion with Logan Circle and because the relevance of the 1908 renaming no longer really holds, the community has decided to revert to the older and more neighborly name for the space. (see below)

Washington Post, June 11, 1908, pg. 16

The space is currently just a pass-through, and an unpleasant one at that. The square will undergo a complete renovation with new lighting, walls, bench seating, paths, and plantings.

image courtesy of TKF Foundation

The park construction will also include street repaving and new crosswalks. See the detailed plan below (click to enlarge) to see how it's all going to be paid out:

drawing courtesy of DDOT

Please come out this Thursday at 1pm for the official groundbreaking. This has been a long time coming, and will be a huge boost for this very central spot in the neighborhood!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Supercool HQ Under Construction at GH/MLK

I'm excited to finally give a proper construction update for Environmental Design & Construction's expanded headquarters project just below the intersection of Good Hope and MLK. A long time coming, this project (like my last post) very much represents the quality of design and construction that is (or rather, should) represent the future of this neighborhood.

the new build is taking place in the red and yellow buildings

Inside, EDC has combined two buildings into one, and have completely embraced the exposed and industrial feel while still adding modern space and flavor into the mix as well. (AKA my favorite style)

inside the lobby: the brick wall was once the exterior wall of the yellow building, which was built before the red brick one

As you can see, an original painted sign from the exterior of the old building, which was a hardware and feed store, was partially restored inside:

love the random "M" on the exposed brick

inside the president's new office ... historic Anacostia chic!

The views to the outside should give you some better context for where these buildings are. Because they are on a triangular lot, they have frontage on both MLK Avenue and Good Hope Road.

looking out onto MLK...

...and onto Good Hope

Another cool part about the interior is just how lofty and airy it is. This space was created out of two stodgy old falling apart buildings, yet EDC has created a space that feels refreshing and allows for modern use ... All while preserving the exterior and parts of the inside! (Me <--adaptive use of old buildings dork)

Want another cool feature? Voila, the green roof. The green roof covers the roof of the red brick building, while there is a reflective white roof and (soon to arrive) photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the yellow half.

looks patchy now, but it will fill in as the rain falls and time goes by

These buildings are on the last block of Good Hope Road before you hit Anacostia Park/Poplar Point. They are adjacent the old CSX railroad line, as well as all the 11th Street Bridges construction. A lot of dirt flying now, but this will be a little jewel box of a block as it develops further.

That concludes the tour! EDC is expecting construction to be complete sometime in May or early June. The building is LEED Gold designed, and they hope to officially certify it at that or another LEED green building level after construction. Three cheers for EDC for staying in Anacostia and adding to its vibrancy and revitalization!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beautiful Restoration on Chester Street!

Here's your Monday afternoon pick-me-up (not that you needed it in this weather!). I happened to make my way down Chester Street SE a few hours ago and was pleasantly SHOCKED to see this house has undergone a major restoration in a matter of weeks.

my love for working shutters cannot be denied

The house was a very typical house flip: builder's grade finishes, no embellishments, non-conforming Craftsman-style door, boring windows, etc. The flipper had made no efforts on the exterior other than the very least that was required:

Before: nothing heinously horrible, just generally pretty blah

Enter the homeowner, who loves the neighborhood and even reached out to me a few months ago saying he wanted to do some improvements to bring back some of the historic feel to his home. Since it had just been redone hardly two years ago, I was expecting some new windows and a new door - maybe a transom window. But wow was I under-expecting!

I mean, check out the paint colors! And the porch details! Cheers to awesome neighbors, revived homes, and people bringing back boring houseflips!! This is the future of Anacostia.