There's a big debate happening in Shaw over potential new condos at 1515 Ninth Street NW. A local developer wants to replace the vacant building and parking lot with a six-story-high, 45-unit building. But some residents see the development as a "monstrosity" that will ruin the neighborhood.
Shaw resident Brian Janovitz’s home would abut the new development and believes it will “exacerbate all the existing problems in the area — rats in the alley, lack of parking — but it’ll also change the aesthetic and character [of the neighborhood].”
The developer, Monarch Urban, bought the property and adjacent parking lot in February from Shiloh Baptist Church, who had previously used it as a daycare but not for a while. Eighteen percent of thehe proposed new building’s units would be affordable housing.
The Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area, Alex Padro, believes the building would enrich Shaw and D.C. generally. “An empty parking lot doesn't serve anyone,” Padro said. “And additional housing is a top priority for the city and for the neighborhood.” Plus, he says construction is nothing new to the neighborhood. But some residents say this reasoning is faulty.
If you continue to justify each new building with reference to the previous one, that's not managing any sort of historic area. That is the managed cannibalization of Shaw.Brian Janovitz. , Shaw resident
The project has garnered over 50 letters, with dozens strongly opposed. But the project is still expected to proceed. Most leaders and organizations in the area have given the green light.
The ANC zoning committee is recessed in August but will make a decision on the development this fall. We had Padro and Janovitz on our podcast so you can catch up on both sides of the debate before then and weigh in if you’d like to.