From Matt Rhoades and Luis Gomez
The massive — by DC standards — mixed-use building coming to the southwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW isn’t really news anymore; the project has been discussed for the past two years and was originally known as the Utopia Project. However, to truly understand how it will alter the landscape of one of the city’s best-known intersections requires visuals.
At the Tuesday unveiling of the project at 14th and U Streets NW — to be called the Louis — the artist renderings of the mixed apartment-retail complex did just that — showing how the 1900 block of 14th Street and the 1400 block of U Street NW will look when the project is completed. (See artist rendering at bottom of page.)
In addition to replacing a number of buildings on the 14th Street side, the project is also a fill-in of areas behind current buildings and parking lots. Demolition is scheduled to begin next week.
A member of the JBG public relations team concocted a “Louis 14 cocktail” for the occasion: ½ oz. crème de cassis, 1 oz. vodka, 3 oz. dry vermouth, club soda, blackberry garnish.
The name of for the complex was used for the promo signs and visuals at the Tuesday event — with King Louis XIV of France theme in evidence (check the website). What would called a high-end rental building, Louis is a joint effort of The JBG Companies and Georgetown Strategic Capital. The estimated completion date for the project is the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Project Manager Bryan Moll of the The JBG Companies.
Certain buildings with historic facades, including the former El Paraiso restaurant building on 14th, the McDonald’s at the corner, and the stretch of buildings on U Street — 24/7, DC Noodles/Stem, Coppi’s Organic and Utopia — will be preserved. The Louis will be built behind this stretch of buildings on the U Street side. Moll said that these business on the U Street “will have to close for one year” during construction.”
“We are still in negotiations with two of the U Street tenants,” said Moll. He could not elaborate on which of the U Street-side businesses had or had not reached an agreement with JBG. However, he said the need for closure is related to the kitchens, which are located in the rear of the restaurants.
The Louis will have nine floors (seven floors on the southern end of the 14th Street side) and 268 rental units, with a mix of floor plans that includes studio apartments up to two-bedroom units –and several penthouse units on the top level. The three-level underground parking garage will have 40 spaces for retail customers and 110 units for tenants of the rental building.
Topping off the entire building will be a pool (see artist rendering above right). According to Moll, the 14th Street side will have anywhere from three to seven retail spaces — with no leases signed yet. There will be a total of 42,000 square feet of retail space in the building.
The building boom along the 14th Street corridor that started in the last decade has recently taken a turn from condo to rental buildings. The District Condos project — spanning the west side of 14th from S to Swann Streets NW announced in November that its 125 units (with first-floor retail) would be rentals instead of condos. JBG and Grosvenor partnered on that project. The new name is District Apartments with leasing expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Moll.
In an economy that has still not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and housing-market bust, mortgage requirements have tightened — and people who might have considered buying are not renting.
- Developer Changes Course: Rentals Not Condos at 14th & S NW
- In Pictures: Development Projects Line the 14th Street Corridor
- Construction to Begin this Month at 14th and S NW
- 14th & S Project to Be Named “District Condos”
- SYMHM: Demolition Begins, Liquor License Retained, Deli Coming
- DC Metrocentric: “Utopia is Happening” at 14th & U