Urban Renewal Goes Luxe
After the wrecking ball brought down Washington’s old convention center, the six-block (10-acre) site was used to create the kind of area that city planners dream about—a mixed-use complex of housing, retail, offices and public space. And the positive effects predicted by city planners are beginning to take hold in the few years since the area was developed: a real sense of community is being fostered through planned cultural events for shoppers and for residents, a weekly farmers market, and new holiday traditions. The sleek storefronts of high-end retailers like Longchamp, Ferragamo, and Paul Stuart attract the shoppers. (Make time for a stop at The Great Republic, a unique store full of extraordinary gifts, from a fully restored 1946 Indian Chief motorcycle to a money-clip made from a coin commemorating Washington’s inauguration.) D.C.’s food community turns out for national favorites like Momofuku CCDC, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, as well as homegrown hits like Centrolina and RareSweets. Architecture fans make pilgrimages to see the Foster + Partners–designed office buildings and condominiums. Fountains, artwork, public seating, and shaded walkways between the buildings invite lingering. Chalk up one for the city planners.
By Ann Shields, AFAR Staff
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