OUR VISION: square 37
We have designed an exciting single-floor, 20,189 square foot 21st Century West End Branch Library to replace the existing, worn, two-story structure. The one-story configuration is the preferred alternative of the DC Public Library (DCPL), making it far more efficient (i.e., over 80% efficiency rather than under 70% - as is typical for DCPL 2-story buildings), far more accessible and less expensive to staff, manage, and maintain. The library will have several features desired by the community including: prominent street presence that reads unmistakably as a public library; a café with indoor and outdoor seating; a community meeting room that is designed to be accessible even when the library is closed; a well defined/separated children’s area; a great deal of natural light; and a large outdoor garden space that is accessible only through the library. 12 dedicated library parking spaces will be provided in the garage.
Also on the ground floor would be over 9,600 square feet of neighborhood-based retail focused on food and services to compliment the new street retail on 23rd and 24th Streets. A Letter of Intent for a 1,500 square foot Bakery de France/Kayser café has already been executed and more LOIs for specialty food and neighborhood service retailers such as a wine shop, cheese shop, and authentic deli are being sought. Except for the coffee shop with outdoor seating on 24th Street, all of the retail will be on 23rd Street facing the Ritz-Carlton Residences.
Above the Library/retail ground floor will be a 223,000 square foot condominium building with approximately 153 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Per the community’s wishes, the units will be larger than most of the new condominiums built in the District over the last 10 years – averaging about 1,585 sq ft—or nearly 75% larger than the unit size in most new buildings. Building amenities will include a swimming pool and a fitness center. All of the units in this building will be market-rate in order to drive up the District’s land value to meet the requirements for a new library, fire station and 30% affordable units in the overall SFO. We cannot overestimate the value of combining the District’s parcels with our own neighboring lot on Sq 37. If our parcel were not included in the development plan and instead was later built on its own, the value of the District’s parcels would be diminished. It would have fewer of the most valuable corner units and each building would need to provide a separate building core – making them both less efficient. By combining the public and private parcels, we have maximized the efficiency and economic returns of this project for the benefit of both the District and the developer.
A total of 202 parking spaces can be provided on two below-grade parking levels. This number includes 12 spaces for the Public Library, 7 spaces for the retail tenants and 153 spaces – a 1:1 ratio – for the condominium residents. The remaining spaces in the garage could be reapportioned for bicycle parking for each residential unit, covered bike parking for library patrons, and/or storage. ZipCar has also been contacted with an offer to provide space for their car sharing program in order to reduce the need for private car ownership.