I’m coming out of hiatus to report on plans that emerged for the northwest corner of South Capitol and M streets, considered to be the gateway to Southwest. JBG Smith applied with the Zoning Commission to develop a two-phase project on the site called 5 M Street, with a mix of uses including residential, ground floor retail, and potentially office. The site includes most of the block bounded by Half, L, South Capitol and M streets and will replace the 7-Eleven and parking lot currently on the site. New York-based Ruben Companies controls the northeast corner of the block (where the KFC/Taco Bell used to be) which is not part of the proposed project – an office building was planned for the 1101 South Capitol parcel, but the project website is no longer active.
While the east side of South Capitol Street between the freeway and the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge has filled up with multifamily buildings (and Nationals Park) in recent years, not much activity has occurred on the west side of the street. Camden South Capitol and the Capitol Skyline Hotel are the only large-scale buildings currently on the west side of the street, but more development is planned for the empty lots along the corridor. In addition to 5 M Street and 1101 South Capitol, a two-building development is planned to the north between K and L streets by Ruben Companies and the site north of Camden South Capitol was purchased recently by JAG to develop as a multifamily project.
Current plans for 5 M Street include an L-shaped multifamily building along Half and L streets with 371 units and an office building along M and South Capitol streets with approximately 226,000 SF of space and over 25,000 SF of ground floor retail. The project is planned in phases – the office building with ground floor retail will be constructed first and the multifamily building after. The developer is asking for flexibility to change the proposed office building to multifamily depending on market conditions, which would increase the total number of units between the two phases to 688 units along with a slight reduction in the amount of ground floor retail.
According to the zoning application, the Gensler-designed project includes a “modernist concrete and glass palette for the towers” to tie in with buildings in the Southwest and Navy Yard neighborhoods, as well as industrial elements due to its proximity to Buzzard Point. The entrance to the office (or multifamily) building will be on M Street while the other multifamily building will have its main entrance on L Street along with street access to units along Half and L streets. The multifamily units at 5 M Street will be all market-rate since current zoning does not require the addition of inclusionary zoning units, but the additional density requested for penthouse-level residential and commercial uses will require a donation to the city’s Housing Production Trust Fund.
The ANC will review the project over the coming months, but at an initial meeting with the developers, the commissioners indicated they were not pleased with the concept design, as they felt it was in direct contrast to the surrounding neighborhood, particularly the former 2-3-story sanitary housing south of M Street on Carrollsburg Place and Half Street. Below are some renderings of the proposed development. What are your thoughts on the plan and design?
|S. Capitol & M (office option)|
|S. Capitol & M (multifamily option)|
|M and Half (office option)|
|M and Half (multifamily option)|
Renderings courtesy of Gensler