This D.C. neighborhood in Ward 5 has a colorful history. Ivy City, bordered by New York Avenue, West Virginia Avenue, and Mt. Olivet Road was laid out as a suburban development for African Americans as early as 1873. Now the hub of new investment, anchored by the Hecht Warehouse District, there are a number of amenities within walking distance, and residential developers are creating new living spaces to accommodate.
From 1879 through 1891, there was an active horse racing facility in Ivy City, eventually shut down when Congress passed a law that there could be no lotteries or bookmaking within one mile of the original Federal City. There was also a rail yard, started in 1907. Much of the facilities were demolished in the fifties as coal-fired locomotives became obsolete. That said, there is still an Amtrak presence across New York Avenue from Ivy City.
After years of decline and neglect, economic conditions in Ivy City began to improve in the 2000s, and land values in the area rose appreciably. In 2006, the Hecht’s Warehouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Beginning in late 2012, Ivy City began to show some new promise. It became a center for craft beer and distilled beverages as Atlas Brew Works opened a craft beer brewery, Green Hat Gin opened a distillery, and One Eight Distilling, opened. In 2016, the city’s first women-owned distillery, Republic Restoratives, opened a tasting room and distillery in a former warehouse, producing vodka and eventually bourbon.
A major redevelopment of Ivy City began in 2014 as the Hecht’s warehouse began to be renovated into apartments, retail space, and a parking garage. Retail tenants include MOM’s Organic Market, BicycleSPACE, Nike, and Planet Fitness. Soon after, Compass Coffee is building a new coffee roasting factory nearby. According to The Washington Post, D.C. recently announced plans to turn the landmark Alexander Crummell School into a community center by 2024.
Residential development is also on an upward trend. Our friends at Khan Konstruction are currently building six luxurious condos at 1914-1916 Capitol Avenue. These homes will feature two levels flooded with light, 3 bedrooms and a separate family room perfect for watching TV with friends and family. The penthouses will feature private roof decks. The project is currently being framed out, and we can’t wait to see the finished product!
Transportation: The closest Metro station is the NoMa-Gallaudet U station on the Red Line. The D3, D4, D8, and E2 Metrobus lines serve the area.
Schools: Wheatley Education Campus (elementary and middle) and Dunbar High.
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Photo credit: Historic American Buildings Survey, retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/dc1051/>.