Shaw’s commercial corridors are generally defined as Seventh and Ninth Streets between K Street and Florida Avenue/U Street . The corridors possess -- or are in very close proximity to –- several very significant anchors that bring many people to our main streets daily, such as the convention center, the 9:30 Club, and the Giant grocery store. Additionally, several significant projects are on the drawing boards for our commercial corridors, including the Broadcast Center One development and the CityMarket at O Street redevelopment. Many locales salivate over the idea of having the draws we already have. These anchors (and planned anchors) present incredible opportunities for business and development recruitment and marketing.
In order to capitalize on our assets, I propose thinking about Shaw’s commercial corridors as possessing several distinct districts of activity based on the corridors' various anchors. I think we should use such informal characterizations as guidelines in how we promote, design and recruit in the different areas. Of course, I do not mean to imply that a district should possess just one use or cater to just one particular patron, but I aver that we should build on and enhance the major draws of each unique district within Shaw’s commercial corridors. Note that I am mainly focused on the non-residential uses and aspects of development within the corridors.
In future posts, I will analyze each district individually. But as a jumping off point, I thought I would share my breakdown of the activity districts, derived from the anchors in each, and see if you agree with my assessments.
Districts of Activity Along Shaw’s Commercial Corridors
Hospitality District - The biggest anchor of this district is, of course, the convention center, with its main entrance on Mt. Vernon Square. Several existing hotels – including the Renaissance, the Henley Park, and the Eldon – serve the convention center and help define this area as a hospitality district. This area will truly become a hub for conventioneers when the planned hotels are built (the Marriott Marquis Convention Center Headquarters Hotel (to be built in the block bounded by Ninth Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and L Street), the two smaller Marriott hotels (to be built in the 900 block of L Street), the Douglas Development hotel (to be built on Seventh Street or New York Avenue), and the four star hotel on the old convention center site’s northeast corner).
Neighborhood and Specialty Retail District – Anchored by the O Street Market’s Giant grocery store, this district features neighborhood-oriented retail, stores and cafes. With its proximity to and overlap with the convention center, this district also features hospitality oriented businesses, specialty retail, restaurants, and cafes.
Education, Recreation and Health District – Several notable public institutions serve the community in this district, including the Shaw Middle School, Seaton Elementary School, the (temporary and under-construction) and the Watha T. Daniel Shaw Neighborhood Library. This district also boasts the Kennedy Recreation Center, several public recreation fields (Shaw Recreation Field, Seaton, and Bundy), and a dog park. Bread for the City is expanding its medical clinic in this district.
Office District – Major office space is planned in the forms of the Broadcast Center One development and the Wonderbread Factory redevelopment.
Entertainment/Nightlife District – Two significant draws to this area are the 9:30 Club and Town Danceboutique. This area is part of the bustling U Street Corridor district and boasts other smaller nightlife options, like Nellie’s and DC9. Additionally, this area has a vibrant restaurant district, including a notable hub of Ethiopian restaurants. The Howard Theatre will be another anchor to this area.