Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington

by Lark Turner

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 1
Click to enlarge.

One of the biggest residential projects in recent memory for DC is on the boards for Eckington, UrbanTurf learned earlier this week.

Boundary Companies and JBG are planning a 691-unit mixed-use development near the intersection of New York and Florida avenues NE. The development team filed documents Thursday morning with the Zoning Commission. A relatively new player in the region’s development world, Boundary Companies is a real estate investment firm founded by John Wilkinson that invests almost exclusively in urban infill, transit-oriented projects in the DC area.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 2
Click to enlarge.

The project’s nearly 700 units would be spread throughout four buildings on a site once used as an industrial train yard at 1611-1619 Eckington Place NE and 1500 Harry Thomas Way NE (map). The finished product would sit between the Trilogy NoMa buildings and a Cube Smart Self Storage facility, though the project’s surrounding neighborhood is filled with smaller two- and three-story rowhouses. The project architect is Eric Colbert & Associates.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 3
An alley designed for pedestrian use would break up the buildings. Click to enlarge.

To address its proximity to the area’s smaller, historic buildings, the architect shows the building setting back along Eckington Place to form “a smooth transition to the row dwellings across the street.”

More than half of the units will be aimed at singles or couples, though JBG and the Boundary Companies are also including larger units in the project. Between the four buildings, the development will have 49 studios, 126 junior one-beds, 229 one-bedrooms, 190 two-bedrooms, 21 three-bedrooms and 76 multi-level units, each with two or three bedrooms. The multilevel units are specifically intended to “encourage occupancy by families.” The buildings have been designed with an industrial aesthetic aimed to mimic the former industrial use of the lot, according to the filing.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 4
The project’s location between Trilogy NoMa and the self-storage facility. Click to enlarge.

No units are currently planned for the building’s penthouse area, perhaps because the Zoning Commission has yet to make a final rule regarding penthouses.

The project would include about 50,000 square feet of retail space spread between two of the four buildings, as well as 292 parking spaces. The largest of the buildings, called Flower Center North, would rise 110 feet and include most of the project’s retail. The other buildings in the project top out at 75 feet.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 5
Click to enlarge.

Boundary and JBG plan to construct an alley between the project buildings intended mostly for pedestrian use. (The filing refers to the alley as a “woonerf,” a Dutch street concept where the streetscape is shared equally between cars, pedestrians and cyclists, with cars allowed to travel only at very low speed limits.) The renderings show retail space opening onto the alley, for which the developers drew inspiration from Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley.

Below are renderings of the facades of the four buildings:

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 6
The Flower Center South building.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 7
The State Farm South building.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 8
The Flower Center North building.

Boundary Companies, JBG Propose 691-Unit Mixed-Use Project for Eckington: Figure 9
The State Farm North building.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/boundary_companies_jbg_propose_691-unit_project_for_eckington/10018

1 Comment

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 6:08 pm on Thursday June 18, 2015:
    The renderings are somewhat vague at this point, but it's hard to miss the effort at dynamism and architectural interest. Is it too much variety, though, all those different window patterns and surface materials? Seems peripatetic at points, a kind of architectural jumble. Seems like the architect & developer felt the need to make up for the suburban blandness of the adjacent Trilogy by packing enough "urban architecture" for both projects into the one -- an admirable intention, but maybe taken a touch too far? My other critique is that the variety of facades seems somewhat random. Sun control,for example, logically creates differing façade treatments based on exposure, but here it seems to be merely aesthetic decisionmaking -- pretty good, I'd say, but it would be stronger to tie into something less subjective. And, aside from a nonspecific aesthetic reference to a vaguely defined (and long gone) "industrial" past of the site, do any of the exterior treatments or materials relate to the site, its history, or its immediate context? My general feeling is that this looks like a very good project, the kind that D.C. needs more of -- not the "missed opportunity" that is so tragically common. But with a little editing and critical consideration, it could step up to the next level.

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