9th Street: DC’s Next “It” Boulevard?

by Shilpi Paul

9th Street: DC's Next "It" Boulevard?: Figure 1
A look down a now-quiet stretch of 9th Street

NoMa, H Street and 14th Street are regularly mentioned as the booming development corridors in DC. But another avenue will soon be on everyone’s radar: 9th Street NW.

From the 10-acre CityCenter project at H Street NW to multi-block developments like CityMarket at O and JBG’s planned project on Florida Avenue NW, the development in the works for the area is substantial.

“9th Street is a corridor with well over a billion dollars in development currently underway,” Ralph Brabham, Chair of the Board of Directors of Shaw Main Streets and the author of renewshaw.com told UrbanTurf.

For an example of change, Brabham pointed to the corner of 9th and Q Streets, an intersection that was vacant and deteriorating a few years ago. “Today, a hole in the ground has been replaced by a four-unit Christian Zapatka-designed condominium building, a former pizza place is now a single-family home, and properties that were once boarded up are being completely gutted and restored.”

Like most of Shaw, 9th Street struggled after streetcars stopped running in 1962 and the riots tore through in 1968. Vacancies abounded, a situation that is quickly changing. “It makes no sense for someone to pay blighted property tax on a [vacant] building when they could sell it for a handsome profit or when there’s a clearly realizable better use for it,” said Brabham.

9th Street: DC's Next "It" Boulevard?: Figure 2
Rendering of CityMarket at O

While the catalyctic developments are emerging in the middle and southern sections of the avenue, the northern end of 9th Street will be capped by a massive mixed-use project from JBG, which is expected to be a modern, five-story edifice and may even house a Trader Joe’s. “JBG scored a prime property, so they’re going to have a big say on what [the area] looks like,” Gerard DiRuggiero, Broker & Managing Member of UrbanLand Company, told UrbanTurf.

Nearby development just off of 9th Street includes Jefferson at Market Place at 7th and P and Progression Place at 7th and S Street NW, which will bring almost 500 residential units and additional retail to the area.

The development extends beyond monster residential projects, too. A four-star, 1,175-room Marriott Marquis at 9th and Massachusetts, a smaller Marriott at 9th and L, and endless smaller retail outlets are on the boards or have already popped up. In 2011, the street welcomed market Seasonal Pantry, sandwich shop SUNdeVICH, and restaurant Rogue 24, among other retailers.

ANC 2C Commissioner and Shaw Main Street Executive Director Alex Padro said that about a dozen leases are currently in negotiation and rattled off a list of offices that recently took space on or around the street: Devrouax and Purnell Architects at 875 N Street NW, Family Matters on the second floor of 1507 9th Street NW, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind at 1426 9th Street NW. Joining Rogue 24 and the DC-location of Mandalay Cafe in the restaurant scene will be Cafe Nima at 1230 9th Street NW and a new project from Corduroy chef and owner Tom Power at 1224 9th Street NW. In addition to restaurants, Shaw Art Walk recently brought more attention to the row of art galleries dotting the blocks between M and O streets.

9th Street: DC's Next "It" Boulevard?: Figure 3
Rendering of CityCenterDC

The ANC is trying to insure that quieter retail fills the street, so that it doesn’t turn into a club scene. “Stable, sustainable, non-nightclub businesses will predominate in Little Ethiopia’s 1900 block of 9th Street and the mixed-use blocks closer to the convention center,” Padro tells us. “[Nevertheless], in the coming years, major new developments will bring hundreds of new residents and workers to the neighborhood and tens of thousands of visitors annually.”

See other articles related to: shaw, jbg, editors choice, dclofts, citymarket at o, citycenterdc, 9th street

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/9th_street_nw_is_blowing_up/5112


  1. xmal said at 7:40 pm on Monday February 13, 2012:
    Exciting news from up and down the corridor, but sad to see the "after" renderings look as barren as the "before" picture. The only thing needed to complete the middle one is a tumbleweed blowing past the Lexus SUV. Makes you wonder whether these architecture firms---despite working in an urban context---actually consider the pedestrians (i.e., people walking in, out, or besides the buildings) in the designs.
  1. Dave R. said at 9:54 pm on Monday February 13, 2012:
    Nice to see that corridor get a facelift.
  1. H Street Landlord said at 3:18 am on Tuesday February 14, 2012:
    Great article. 9th st is so, so close - and I love it already.
  1. John said at 5:37 pm on Thursday February 16, 2012:
    Don't forget about 1905 Restaurant near 9th and T
  1. SuJay said at 10:38 pm on Thursday February 16, 2012:
    Where is the creativity? There is nothing architcturally distinct/interesting about the dense, massive blocks that will be CityCenter.
  1. SuJay said at 10:53 pm on Wednesday February 22, 2012:
    SuJay, There have been very few interesting commercial buildings put up in the past 80 years. Are you just starting to notice this? The majority of the best architecture is made by governments without profit motivations. A developer has to decide whether they want a fantastic building, or something that is cheap and profitable. Next time you are walking through the city, try to count how many decent buildings have gone up in the past 60 years. You'll be hard pressed to come up with more then 10 in the entire city.
  1. John S said at 6:37 am on Wednesday March 7, 2012:
    Here are ten off the top of my head without the use of Google. I am sure the are many more. World Bank National Gallery East Institute of Peace Shakespeare Theatre Georgetown Law Museum of American Indian Convention Center DC library at 9th and G Arena stage Nationals park
  1. Sarah said at 4:25 pm on Sunday May 13, 2012:
    Sad to see that in order for all these big condos and apartment buildings to go up, they want to get rid the OLD CITY green garden center, a place that actually looks beautiful, is interesting, and beneficial for pedestrians. The next closest garden center for people will be Home Depot. Ugh. People can talk, but money talks louder I guess.
  1. John said at 10:31 pm on Tuesday January 15, 2013:
    Sarah - Its people that make money talk. 😃
  1. NPS said at 7:10 pm on Friday March 1, 2013:
    The new development along this stretch of 9th & O Streets, with Progression Place, will serve as a bustling connector between Downtown and U Street Corridor, creating a more continuous flow of retail, foot traffic, and enjoyable livable space throughout lower NW neighborhoods.
  1. Ellen said at 9:03 pm on Monday May 12, 2014:
    Now if only the city would widen the sidewalks so pedestrians could stroll down Ninth. Between the front iron porches and the parking meters, there's hardly any room to walk. And if the Churches (especially Shiloh) would sell or renovate their buildings, Ninth Street would look better.

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