May 31, 2024 - Development

Plans for former SunTrust site in Adams Morgan include plaza, stage

A rendering showing a plaza placed at the intersection of two streets.

A proposed plan for a plaza at the former SunTrust site. Rendering: Courtesy of Eric Colbert & Associates

The much-disputed former SunTrust site in Adams Morgan could eventually contain affordable housing and a public plaza with memorials and a stage, per plans filed with the area's ANC.

Why it matters: Debates about the future of the plaza at the busy intersection of Columbia Road and 18th Street NW have dragged on for years, and the community has demanded that the area — which has hosted local gatherings and farmers markets — remain open to the public.

State of play: Nonprofit Jubilee Housing's initial plans for a subsidized housing complex at the site show 50 units across seven stories.

  • The ground level will have retail and a public plaza, per the proposal, with a stage and displays acknowledging the deadly 1922 collapse of a theater formerly located there, plus the area's history of resident activism against redlining.
  • Also included: A parking garage level and a penthouse with office space and a community room.

The development will be available to households at or below 60% of the area's median income.

Catch up quick: Controversy sparked in 2016 when The Wharf developer Monty Hoffman proposed building a high-end apartment complex on the property.

  • Two neighborhood groups sued, saying the 4,000-square-foot plaza was dedicated to the public by previous owners.
  • Last year, Truist Financial Corp., which owned the land, donated the space to Jubilee.

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