Thursday, February 10, 2011

Update on Office of Planning's plan for Upper 14th Street

The Office of Planning held another in a series of public meetings to discuss its revitalization strategy for Upper 14th Street on January 19 at the Kingsbury School.

I was unable to attend it, but I want to point you toward Stephen Miller's How Can 14th Street Thrive Between Target and Wal-Mart? piece on Greater Greater Washington, which contains a summary of the event.

The Office of Planning's last meeting regarding Upper 14th Street was held on November 17, which was the day after we first learned about Wal-Mart's intentions for Square 2986. So though the Wal-Mart topic didn't come up at the November meeting (many meeting attendees hadn't even heard the news yet), I was curious to hear how that news might alter OP's Upper 14th Street plan. According to the GGW piece:

Analysis for the northernmost node, centered on Colorado Avenue, had to be reset after the plans for Walmart were announced. Because proximity to Walmart would significantly impact what kind of retail could be successful at this end of the corridor, Arnold recommended that the area build upon the relocation of renowned artist Sam Gilliam to the neighborhood and build an arts cluster, creating a destination for unique products that have no overlap with Walmart's offerings. This concept for this type of arts cluster is consistent with Office of Planning's own Creative Action Agenda, which seeks to foster artistic and creative industries within the District.

It's good to see that OP is already thinking about how to brace the nearby retail nodes for Wal-Mart's proposed arrival, and about ways to mitigate its impact on the smaller neighborhood-oriented commercial corridors. And developing the commercial node around the 14th and Colorado intersection as an arts district cluster would be lovely. Here's hoping the plan stays on track.

OP's final public meeting on the Upper 14th Street plan will be held on Thursday, February 24 at 7 pm at the Kingsbury School, 5000 14th Street NW.


  1. Uhhh... I don't know if an "arts district" will do well here. Just sounds like they had to come up with something else since Walmart stepped in. It would be nice to have an Arts District but places like Brookland already have numerous artist live/work space under construction in addition to retail to display their work.

    Just seems like the arts community has more incentive to locate there rather than upper 14th

  2. I made a mistake in writing "district", as the term that OP is using is "arts cluster". According to OP this entails "sharing best practices with existing retailers on ways to meet the needs of the ‘Creative Arts’" and "determining incentives (i.e. flexibility in existing zoning or financial incentive) to attract new arts uses to the node". Looking forward to hearing them expand on this.

    Then again, as I'm learning from the proposed plan for Square 2986, planners' recommendations are sometimes just that -- recommendations -- a blueprint for a best-case-scenario situation...and the best-case scenario doesn't always translate into reality.