City Paper Widget

Friday, September 6, 2013

7th & R: 105 Apartments + Retail, 40 Parking Spaces

Shaw 42 Developers told Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw about plans for a proposed multi-story building to be erected on the corner of 7th and R Streets, NW. The building will be near the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and across the street from Shaw/Howard University Metro station.

Artist's rendition of the proposed building
The empty site now
The presentation by Marullus Williams took place at ANC6E's regular monthly meeting on September 4. Williams said construction was planned to start in 2015 and conclude in 2017.

Parking always an issue

The planned building will have 105 rental units and retail space, and 40 parking spaces for both purposes. The developers have not decided how many spaces will be allocated for residents, and how many for retail, Williams said.

The presentation led to a debate about the appropriate number of parking spaces for the neighborhood, given the changing demographics of the neighborhood and the current shortage of spaces. Commissioners and member of the public made statements on both sides of the parking issue. Some urged more parking in the development. Others advocated making this new development near Metro less car-centered.

"Being close to a metro station will not alleviate parking problems," said Commissioner Kevin Chapple (district 02).

ANC6E then voted to recommend to Victor L. Hoskins, DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development, that the Parcel 42 development have at least two levels of parking. No specific number of parking spaces were recommended. The vote was 5-1. Commissioner Marge Maceda (05) voted against the resolution.

Affordable housing

The building will be only rental units -- no condos.

Of the proposed 105 units, 21 will be designated as affordable housing. Fourteen units will be priced as to be affordable to those at 50 percent of Average Area Median Income (AMI). Four will be priced for those at 30 40 percent of AMI. Three units will be priced for those at 20 30 percent of AMI.

Recent census statistics state that AMI overall in the District of Columbia is $75,807.

[NOTE: See comment below for an explanation of Area Median Income and what it would mean for the cost of apartments in this building. Thanks to commenter for setting me straight.]

There was no discussion of exactly how much an apartment might rent for, or about the cost of parking spaces.

The average unit size will be 700 square feet. Two bedroom units will be 1000 square feet. The building will be divided nearly equally between efficiency, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom rental apartments, according to Williams.

This piece of land, called "Parcel 42", was the site of a long-term protest about affordable housing in the summer of 2010, described here and here


Two retail operations have been chosen for the development.

One is Old City Farm and Guild, a garden store currently operating at 925 Rhode Island Avenue. Old City Farm and Guild will also move and do business on the land while the planning process is in progress.

The other is NURISH, described as "a restaurant and culinary entrepreneurship incubator". The operation will have an educational function for those who wish to enter the retail food industry. The developers have not decided how many seats the restaurant portion of the establishment will have, or the amount of free or paid parking.


The architect will be Sasha Rosen of Georgetown-based R2L Architects. Rosen has recently attracted attention as the architect behind the restoration and development of the Wonder Bread building on the 600 block of S Street in Shaw.

Bernard Demczuk, African-American studies expert and Assistant Vice President for District Relations at George Washington University, made an enthusiastic presentation about the work he is doing on the project. Demczuk described his vision of the building's lobby, which will also function as a map and museum of the 7th Street corridor and its contribution to local African-American and Jewish history.


  1. I believe the 20% affordable housing will be:
    50% AMI = 14 dwelling units; 40% AMI = 4; 30% AMI = 3 for total of 21. "AMI" means area median income. DC's median family income is much lower than the area's, but that's what federal and local housing programs are pegged to. AMI for the region is about $107,500 for a family of four. 50% of AMI is $53,750 for four, or $42,000 for 2. Rent for a one bedroom at 50% AMI would be $1,075. You can see

  2. The commenter is Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth. She was also present at the meeting. So, when she says that the percentages of AMI were 50, 40, and 30, it seems pretty likely she is correct. But I could *swear* I heard 50, 30, and 20 -- those are the numbers in my notes.

    Thanks for the corrections on the meaning and implications of "AMI", and apologies for my error.