The neighborhood has changed and 14th Street NW, from Thomas Circle north to Florida Avenue and beyond, is probably the best example. On one block after another for the past decade, we have seen the transformation of the 14th Street corridor.
A note to potential commenters itching to comment on “change” and “gentrification” — these are observations and you are free to make your own interpretations as to their desirability. You can always consider what the Don Draper character on “Mad Men” says: “Change is neither good nor bad. It simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy, a tantrum that says ‘I want it the way it was,’ or a dance that says, ‘Look, something new!’ ” Or not.
Newcomers of the past three to five years are to be forgiven if they don’t remember when residential buildings at 14th and N, 14th and Q and on the 1500 block of 14th Street (east side) did not exist. The same applies to the north side of the 1400 block of P Street NW (and Church Street just to the north) where large residential buildings face Whole Foods, which opened in the fall of 2000.
We “old-timers” still consider these to be “new” buildings.
The Retail Catch-Up
More than a decade ago, older businesses began closing shop to make way for new businesses that catered to the multitudes of new arrivals in Logan Circle — and more than few of those businesses are now gone (Garden District and go mama go! are two examples). However, Cafe Saint-Ex, Pulp and Home Rule are still going strong.
Shuttered store fronts on 14th Street opened as art galleries, restaurants, posh drinking establishments and upscale home decor stores. It’s been said that it takes a decade for retail to catch up with residential changes in gentrifying neighborhoods. If that is the case, then around 2000 the catch-up began. And, yes, it is hard to over-estimate the importance of Whole Foods as an anchor store for the 14th and P Streets shopping and residential corridor.
Residential Construction Boom
The boom in residential building construction continues on the 14th Street corridor. New residents, including young families have brought a different vibe to the sidewalks. Done or nearing completion are District, The Aston and Northern Exchange — the first on 14th between S and Swann, and the later two at 14th and R.
Coming in the next year are the massive Louis complex at 14th and U Streets and 1919 14th Street at Wallach Place. All will bring more residents — and more businesses to the first floors of the buildings.
The remainder of 2013 as well as 2014 will see even more residential-retail and business buildings on the 14th Street corridor:
- The Jefferson 14W is finishing up at the northeast corner of 14th and W Streets, including a large YMCA.
- The former site of Latino Auto Sales at the southeast corner of 14th and Florida will become condos by the end of 2013.
- The Central Union Mission will be moving out this year, from the southeast corner of 14th and R. UrbanTurf reports that construction will begin June.
- Filling in a gap on 14th Street, Furioso Development will bring an office building, which will be leased by Whitman-Walker Health.
- An empty warehouse at 1728 14th Street will become a commercial business building.
- Elevation Media reports that a 48-unit, seven story building will break ground in the last quarter of 2013 on the Zipcar lot at the northeast corner of 14th and Corcoran.
- Abdo has plans for the corner of 14th & Rhode Island.
I have undoubtedly missed some changes and some projects here. But the main point is that the 14th Street corridor is far from done. Expect to see something more in 2014 and beyond — there are still plenty of empty lots and one-story build-ins just itching for something new.