Over the past decade, the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., has undergone a major transformation. The nearby 14th Street corridor saw homeless shelters transformed into condos and laundromats become restaurants. The adjacent U Street corridor followed suit, with new music venues attracting young crowds, prompting residential developers to move in to the up-and-coming neighborhood.
Nearby, at O and 8th Streets in Shaw, behind the Walter E. White Convention Center, locally based Roadside Development is expanding the area’s growth with its newest project, City Market at O.
Previously a run-down Giant food store with a historic abandoned market on the lot’s corner, City Market at O is now a gleaming example of what a mixed-use development should be. Roadside knocked down the building and planned a 1 million-square-foot project that spans two city blocks and includes 90 affordable senior living units and 550 market-rate units.
The company didn’t demolish the historic market, though. Richard Lake, one of Roadside's founding partners, worked tirelessly to convince Giant to shut down its operation for two years by working with the company to renovate the historic market and make it the crux of the new development. The 78,000-square-foot Giant now spans the ground level of the project, but residents and pedestrians aren’t bothered by any trucks delivering products. Robert Sponseller, a design architect and principal of local architecture firm Shalom Baranes Associates, worked with his team to develop an underground loading dock that keeps trucks out of sight.
Sponseller melded the old market’s brick with a new, urban-industrial style that brought the architecture together as one building. Attached to the Giant is the senior living community and a portion of City Market at O’s market-rate housing.
Across the street is the main City Market at O structure, which was completed in the project’s second phase of construction this year. It houses 407 market-rate units and features a parking garage, gym, bike storage room, dog run, and rooftop lounge and deck, complete with a chef’s kitchen, television, 360-degree views of D.C., pool, and cozy fire pits.
The promise of City Market at O is how it has truly enveloped the community. Roadside Development hired roughly 2,000 local construction workers to help complete the community, contributing to 51% of new construction jobs for D.C. residents. The company was even able to keep some of the workers on board for other developments in the city. When neighbors asked the company to add more exterior lights to brighten up the area at night, Lake obliged. There’s also a following of locally renowned chefs who live at City Market at O. Lake brought them on to host a cook-off in the rooftop lounge, and they often use the space as a test kitchen to create new recipes for their nearby restaurants.
The third and final phase of development at City Market at O is under way. With it, Roadside Development is planning 142 more market-rate units, available in one-, two-, or three-bedroom plans, that will attach to the main building. The existing rooftop deck will be extended to feature more outdoor living spaces, with a 16-foot-tall waterfall and pool, organic garden, and outdoor bar and kitchen.
Take a walk-through tour of the project with developer Richard Lake and learn more about the community from Lake and architect Robert Sponseller in these videos: