In the new year, you may be able to go straight from Spanish class at Hill Center to shop for makeup or electronics, get an Asian meal and then do your Trader Joe’s shopping all just down the street a block or two.
Hill Center’s newest neighbors are part of a mixed-use development on the site of the former Hine Junior High School along Pennsylvania Avenue and up 7th and 8th streets S.E. Amy Weinstein, the project architect, and Ken Golding, one of the developers, were interviewed by journalist Bill Press at his final Talk of the Hill of 2017 at Hill Center.
Golding said cosmetics company Sephora, “a tech company,” an Asian restaurant and “an exercise place” all are expected to open in the complex. “There are a lot of leases out for signature,” he said. “It’s a slow process.” Trickling Springs Creamery and JRINK, a juicery, should open soon, and a nail salon is expected. Trader Joe’s and Antiocha, a Turkish linen store, and a veterinary hospital have already opened. A STEM child-care facility is also in the works.
A central plaza has been planted with trees and will soon have a fountain. The apartment building on the plaza has 46 apartments, 25 percent of which have been rented. Affordable housing units are scattered throughout the buildings. Golding and Weinstein said the project will add 500 to 1,000 new residents and office workers to the neighborhood. Yes, parking is open to the public.
Weinstein, who has done a lot of work on the Hill, explained that all projects in a historic district must be “compatible but contemporary.” She said this modern take on Victorian style should be “second-glance architecture.” At first glance, it looks like everything else in the neighborhood. On second glance, you see it’s the same but different.
She chose designs reflecting various eras of Victorian architecture so the complex would look like the rest of the Hill. Which usually brings her to brick, most of which is brought in from no more than 500 miles away. “The Hill is predominantly brick,” she said. “And I love brick.” She has used brick designs to break down the scale of the large buildings, to reflect light and to introduce design elements, some inspired by weavings. And it’s all just across the street.