Jun 6, 2023 - News

D.C. has picked a design for its 14th and U makeover

Side by side: The current Reeves Center building next to a rendering of a glassy, new building to replace it

The current Reeves Center building (left) and a rendering of the redevelopment. Images: Courtesy Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.

A Dave Chappelle-backed comedy club is going up at 14th and U streets, part of a major redevelopment in the neighborhood.

Why it matters: The project will transform a marquee corner on the U Street corridor that's currently occupied by the hulking Reeves Center municipal building.

What’s happening: The District had been weighing two proposals and just tapped MRP Realty, CSG Urban Partners, and Capri Investment Group for the development.

  • Besides the comedy club, the group's plan includes 322 mixed-income apartments, a 116-unit “residential hotel,” a Frederick Douglass Plaza, and a Marion Barry Jr. Amphitheater.
  • Celebrity chef Carla Hall will open a new restaurant with a Southern influence and a “casual” vibe, Hall told NBC4.
  • The project also includes space for a new Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and School, a Washington Jazz Arts Institute, a Viva School of Dance, and the Christian Tabernacle Child Development Center.
A rendering of the proposed building with a mural of Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass Plaza. Rendering: Courtesy D.C. government

Zoom in: Chappelle famously grew up in Silver Spring and D.C., graduating from Duke Ellington High School. Hall graduated from Howard and has lived in Takoma D.C.

Catch up fast: The city sought developers who would honor 14th Street's history as "Black Broadway," a hub of Black-owned businesses and entertainment.

  • NAACP is moving its headquarters from Baltimore into the development.
  • The winning design “marks yet another pivotal step towards preserving the deep, historically Black roots of the U Street corridor,” NAACP head Derrick Johnson said in a statement.
A rendering of the interior of the redevelopment showing an amphitheater
Rendering: Courtesy D.C. government

Flashback: Four-term Mayor Barry spearheaded the building of the Reeves Center in 1986 to revitalize the U Street corridor.

What's next: D.C. has been planning the phase-out of municipal workers from the building to other offices along with sensitive IT equipment.

  • The project is expected to break ground next summer and finish in spring 2030, according to Richard Livingstone, a D.C. government spokesperson.

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