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140 Residences Proposed Across From Meridian Hill Park

by Lark Turner

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A rendering of the proposed project.

A large new residential building is on the boards for 16th Street across from Meridian Hill Park.

The Meridian International Center is seeking to redevelop a portion of its property that’s currently used as a parking lot, UrbanTurf has learned. The nonprofit is hoping to construct a 140-unit residential project on the site, which would also include about 90 parking spaces for residents.

The property, at approximately 2350 16th Street NW (map), overlooks Meridian Hill Park and isn’t far from the intersection of 16th Street and U Street NW. The project would require the go-ahead from the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) because other buildings on the center’s grounds are historically protected. Streetscape Partners and Westbrook Partners are the developers on the project; Shalom Baranes Associates is the architect.

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In addition to residences, the building would include meeting space for the nonprofit, according to ANC 1C, which will take a first look at the project at a planning committee meeting on February 18. The project is scheduled to go before the HPRB in March.

UrbanTurf will continue to monitor the project and provide updates to our readership.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/140_units_proposed_on_meridian_hill_park/9506

5 Comments

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 4:33 pm on Monday February 9, 2015:

    It would boost the sweep of 16th Street to have a building in this location, rather than an ill-defined parking lot/green space.

    But the greed factor needs to drop down a notch: Looks like they’re using the entire property (including the historic mansions) to determine the height limit measuring point per Zoning, and as a result have a very tall building.  Clever, and probably within the letter of the law, but someone should put a lid on it.  Same goes for the rear wing—it needs to pull back from the historic house further and probably drop a floor, showing actual deference rather than most-I-can-get-away-with greed.

    In contrast, the architecture/urbanism needs to move up several notches.  I’m hoping there are details which the renderings obscure, because if there aren’t, this is one of the dullest designs proposed for a high-visibility D.C. site in years.  Seems like something might be planned for some of the spandrels, and there’s some kind of green vine fringe at the top (behind the suspiciously giant tree), but it’s hard to tell and probably not enough.  And what’s with the giant green berm?!  We’ve learned (or rather re-learned, painfully) how to do urbane buildings, and that ain’t it.

  1. 7r3y3r said at 5:07 pm on Monday February 9, 2015:

    “And what’s with the giant green berm?!”

    That “giant green berm” is there now; it’s part of the natural lay of the land.  The mansion is on a hill, the slope of which is what you call a berm.

    And the building looks no taller than that of its northern neighbor, the Envoy, so I’m not sure what the problem is.  In fact, the buildings that are out of character are the Beekman Place properties.  Most everything else along 16th St, particularly that block of 16th St, are tall…appropriately so.

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 6:52 pm on Monday February 9, 2015:

    That’s right, the rooflines of the proposed building and the Envoy (to the north) appear to be at the same elevation, which is to say that the new one is considerably taller given the slope.  The new one should step down, following grade. I.e. the same height, potentially, but with its roofline lower commensurate to the grade change.  And while a green berm may be an appropriate device to conceal a parking lot, it is not an appropriate way for a significant building to face a major street.  If one accepts that a sizable building on this site is appropriate (which I do), it’s hard to see how the green berm becomes a sacred cow, especially considering that there’s a big park directly across the street.

  1. Nathaniel Martin said at 12:31 pm on Tuesday February 10, 2015:

    The ever-pithy skidrowedc hit several nails on the head.  I absolutely agree that a tall building is in order for this site (and if done right, it should be a really nice place to live, with views of the park or the historic White-Meyer House and Meridian House).  But the wing reaching into the site is way too tall.  I’m normally not one to argue for excessive deference to historic properties, but in this case, they need to ease off.  The White-Meyer needs some breathing room.  Perhaps this is a classic case of the developer making an initial proposal that is outrageously overscaled in the hopes that everyone will accept something that is still quite bulky once it’s scaled down a bit.  Always a sleazy approach in my opinion, but at any rate, the scale of that wing has to come down.

    I actually don’t mind the height of the block facing 16th, though indeed, they have pulled every trick in the book to get it that tall.  But I do find the decision to keep the berm quite odd.  The “natural” landscape of the site is really being totally destroyed, and while I think that’s an acceptable trade-off for added density here, the apparent idea that keeping the berm is somehow being true to the landscape is ridiculous.  Lose it.

    Then there’s the architectural expression.  Sigh.  SIGH.  Is this really the best we can do?  How about some more layering?  Some hierarchy?  Maybe some geometries that pick up on specific alignments to elements in the park?  Something?!?  I know Shalom Baranes can do better.

  1. Mike T said at 10:34 am on Thursday March 19, 2015:

    Any idea when the potential groundbreaking might be for this apt complex?

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