A First Look at the New Design for Adams Morgan’s SunTrust Bank Redevelopment

by Nena Perry-Brown

The most recent rendering of 1800 Columbia Road NW

Last week, PN Hoffman withdrew its application with the Board of Zoning Adjustment for the proposed redevelopment of the SunTrust Bank and plaza at 1800 Columbia Road NW (map), and delayed its meeting with the Historic Preservation Review Board until the neighborhood ANC was able to review the new design.

On Tuesday, UrbanTurf got a look at the drafted redesign of the site, which looks familiar in many ways but noticeably different in others. Below is a list of the revisions made to the design:

The new design of proposed redevelopment as seen from 18th Street
The previous design of proposed redevelopment as seen from 18th Street
  • The total number of residential units has dropped from 58 to 52.
  • The step-down on the 18th Street facade is more dramatic than the previous design. While the prior design featured a small portion of the building on 18th Street stepped-down to four stories and featuring a bay window, the new design removed that bay and also steps back to eliminate the sixth floor on that side.
  • The new drawings do not provide measurements for the dimensions of the plaza, but UrbanTurf was informed that the new plaza will be smaller, perhaps to compensate for the square footage with the additional setback.
  • The private roof decks attached to the penthouse units have been reduced from the earlier iteration of the design, which had an uninterrupted row of abutting decks.
  • The bay protrusions along Columbia Road are much more subtle.
  • The coloration of the building has changed from a yellowish-beige atop a grey-beige ground floor to a building that is primarily grey-beige with the 18th Street setback-portion made more distinctive with red brick.

The new design of proposed redevelopment as seen from Columbia Road
The previous design of proposed redevelopment as seen from Columbia Road

The planned development, which has been the subject of much debate in the neighborhood, will still have ground-floor retail and an underground parking garage with 32 spaces and a bike storage room. The ANC 1C Planning and Zoning Committee will review the new design later this month.

See other articles related to: suntrust plaza, pn hoffman, eric colbert, anc 1c, adams morgan

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_first_look_at_the_new_design_for_the_suntrust_bank_redevelopment/11672


  1. dcblogs@gmail.com said at 10:32 am on Wednesday September 14, 2016:

    Wasn’t there an “Adams Morgan” sign of some kind in the earlier rendering? Still feel this building needs something more distinctive. The new design seems more in character with the surroundings, but this is such a signature spot, would love to see some reiteration of the Adams Morgan sign.

  1. Ecg0792@gmail.com said at 9:54 am on Thursday September 15, 2016:

    This is a travesty.  I’m so glad that I quit the DC architecture world and moved to NYC.  This is a prominent site that should showcase an emblematic design of the 21st century.  The fact that this building could be confused with many early 20th century buildings in the neighborhood is appalling.  For such a liberal learning political town, I’m shocked at how conservative the DC architecture scene remains.  DC architecture is boring, plain and simple.  It’s not that architect’s are afraid to take risks, it’s that a significant amount of developable area in the city where density is encouraged is governed by the HPRB.  I hated working on projects where I’d be fighting for 3 stories on a predominantly 2 story street, but where the street width was originally laid out in order to support 6 story buildings.  It’s all a sham.  DC is tragically under developed, and it’s infrastructure outside the business district is painfully underutilized.  Living in NYC has lead me to this conclusion; NYC architecture is not hampered or watered down by the economic engine that drives this city, but DC architecture is stagnated by the historical societies and review boards that seem to speak for those who are unwilling to question whether the decisions made in the past where correct and worthy of preservation.  Case in point, the new project at the Whitman Walker site on 14th Street consists of a courtyard building that preserves the 2-3 story historic resources on that block, while it simultaneously destroys the continuous cornice line of 14th Street that the new density aimed to restore.  And why was this done?  Because one of the buildings in this strip was once an alley garage that served the former car dealer and mechanic shops that lined 14th street over 60 years ago.  DC, you are getting what you deserve for your silence.

  1. johnnoble1@mac.com said at 5:35 pm on Thursday September 15, 2016:

    This is a big improvement if you ask me. In response to the blogger above, I don’t believe this site needs to stand out, I think it needs to blend. Let’s face it, DC is a town of design by compromise but this compromise is much better than what was previously proposed. Personally, I am a tired of the yellow brick and glass modernism. It’s all mundane after a while.

  1. volmad98 said at 9:03 pm on Thursday September 15, 2016:

    Please, New York infrastructure is an embarrassment; all the airports are dumps (and you can’t even get to any of them by a direct train line), the entire subways system smells like pee and is an oven in summer, the bus terminal looks like some forgotten rundown strip mall from the 70s, and Penn Station is an dirty cramped hole. NYC needs to get its act together before insults are slung around at other places.

  1. Nathaniel Martin said at 11:06 am on Wednesday September 21, 2016:

    Make no mistake: the ANC and a small group of “activists” who have opposed this project tooth and nail DO NOT represent the neighborhood, or at least not the majority of neighborhood residents. This project has come up in conversations with many people who live nearby. Almost all of the people with whom I have spoken would prefer to see a landmark building on this site. Most would like to see something really innovative. The problem is that most of these people do not have the time or inclination to go to “community meetings.” If you ask me, the ANCs should be abolished…period.

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