Published on: Friday, May 1, 2015 Takoma Park Newsletter

New apartments going up on Willow Street and Maple

The long-vacant land on Willow Street and Maple Street just on the edge of Takoma’s Old Town is buzzing with construction activity, as workers begin to erect two apartment buildings. According to news reports, the buildings are expected to be complete by spring 2016.

The project, located in the historic district of Takoma, D.C. behind the CVS drugstore, broke ground in February and is currently in its initial stages: The foundation has been dug, and structure is beginning to rise. Eventually, what is now a hole in the ground will be two three-story buildings with a total of 99 “garden style” apartments, plus three single family homes. The complex will also include three single-family homes: Two existing early-20th-century homes are being preserved but moved elsewhere on the site. A third home was in such poor shape it was demolished, and will be replaced with a house the developer told will be in keeping with the historic district. Unlike other recent developments in the area, which have combined ground-floor retail with residential units above, the entire project will be residential only.

Although Douglas representatives did not return phone calls to confirm, news reports have described the concept plan for the two apartment buildings as including brick exteriors, red tile roofs and multi-pane windows. Each building has a basement and a roof deck. Recent reports indicate a 92-space parking lot, and parking for each of the single-family homes. Apartments – 49 units in one building, 50 in the other – include studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. Eleven of the project’s units will be designated as affordable housing, including 10 apartments and one house.

Douglas Development also owns the 161,798-square-foot building at 6856 Eastern Avenue, where a number of businesses and services are located. Douglas is planning renovations on that building, which was originally built in 1956 and for many years housed the Seventh Day Adventist offices and publishing operation. The plan is to convert some of the ground-floor space to retail, and use the upper floors for offices.

Among the current tenants there are the Takoma Children’s School, AYUDA, several offices and an e-commerce business, BrightLife Direct, that sells compression garments. There are also a number of arts-related businesses there: Washington Opera is on the third floor, with studios, rehearsal space and business offices. D.C. Arts Studios, formerly A Salon, is a collective of about 70 working artist studios there. And two dance studios are on the first floor: The Lab D.C., a breakdancing school, and Knock On Wood tap dancing studio.

Around the corner at 6896 Laurel St. NW, Douglas also owns the building currently occupied by the EF International Language Center.

This article appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.