The Evolving Plans for 600 Units at Union Market

by Lark Turner

Developer Edens’ plans for 1270 4th Street NE (map), currently occupied by warehouses and adjacent to Union Market, continue to evolve.

The massive project is heading before the Zoning Commission (ZC) with its planned design changes on Thursday. Here’s a look at how the project has evolved since it was first submitted in June 2014.

An early design for the project.
A design submitted in January.
The latest design.

The development would have a total of 545-680 residential units, with approximately 415-510 units in the planned South building and 130-170 units in the North building, which would be built later. Edens is looking for approval from the Zoning Commission for the South building now and a first-stage, more preliminary approval for the planned North building.

In a report recently filed with the Commission, the Office of Planning (OP) was generally supportive of Edens’ plans, including the design changes. Shalom Baranes is the architect on the project.

The development will include 480-750 parking spaces, but in a rare role reversal for the ZC and the Office of Planning, both have asked Edens to consider whether the development will really require that much parking.

In the latest design, the developers set back the building from the ground-floor warehouse.

Edens responded that the extra parking was needed to serve the new residents, new retail and existing retail at Union Market. Commuters to the market currently park on a surface lot that’s slated for redevelopment.

In the new design for the project, Edens set back the 110-foot building from the existing ground-floor warehouse to better highlight it. OP said it was “very supportive” of the design change.

Another view of the project.

With this project included, well over 1,000 units are planned for the fledgling Union Market area.

See other articles related to: union market, edens

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_evolving_plans_for_edens_600_units_at_union_market/9679


  1. Nathaniel Martin said at 4:09 pm on Tuesday March 24, 2015:

    The deletion of the tight, overly repetitive grid of mullions that appeared in the second scheme is a huge improvement, as is the introduction of modest setbacks and balconies, but the latest design is still nowhere near as interesting as the initial proposal.  DC has more than its share of blocky buildings.  Break the box!

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 4:57 pm on Tuesday March 24, 2015:

    In terms of the exterior design, I’m in agreement with Nathaniel Martin.  The first proposal was gratuitously weird and rather awkward, but now that the architects have a handle on proportions, setbacks, shadowlines, and materials, it’s time to loosen up, bring back some creative funkiness.

    Reading this, I’m concerned anew about emerging “neighborhoods” that largely consist of very large apartment buildings.  I just don’t see how community in a meaningful sense of the word can be created in buildings that have 50 units per floor.  Apparently this project consists of two phases (“buildings”) and thus would have 2 lobbies, elevator cores, and so forth.  That’s a start, but so much more is needed to stop Union Market from becoming another non-neighborhood. The same architects’ O Street Market complex, unfortunately, isn’t cause for optimism. It’s essentially alienating, saved only because it’s surrounded by the highly neighborly rowhouse blocks of Shaw.

    It’s already too late for Noma, and Mount Vernon Triangle and the Ballpark District are teetering toward soulless gigantism. At Union Market, few if any of the projects are by right. The Zoning Commission should be looking not only at how the compositional scale is broken down to modules that work with the cityscape, but also how the functional scale is broken down to modules that foster social interaction (or at least avoid the worst of alienation).  A colossus like this project should have multiple entrances, multiple elevator cores, not more than 15-20 units per floor/corridor, and so forth. (And not waste street front with pretty, always-empty lobbies, as O Street Market does. One doesn’t meet neighbors in lobbies anymore; one meets them in corridors, mail rooms, and elevators, but only if the numbers are manageable.  Otherwise no one meets anyone.)

    Yes, such a change would increase the building’s core factor a couple of percentage points and involve more expensive components like elevators and stairs. But these developers are all asking for big handouts—vastly larger buildings.  It’s perfectly appropriate for the ZC to look at the social side of what will result and ask for adjustments.

  1. Fried Green Tomatoes said at 8:29 am on Wednesday March 25, 2015:

    Large buildings aren’t so bad - when I lived at City Vista (5th and K), having 3 elevators for a huge floor plate made for a lot of neighborliness. I would imagine that smaller floor plates can mean fewer interactions. Also, with such limited supply of land left in DC, maximizing the number of units we build is a laudable goal.

  1. Brett said at 10:18 am on Wednesday March 25, 2015:

    Drab before, drab now. Yawn.

Comments are closed.

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