11 Unit “Pop Up” Development, The Brookland, May Be Coming To 12th Street

The Brookland at 3614 12th Street NE., rendering courtesy of Lock 7 Development

You’ve seen them in other neighborhoods, and now Brookland too – “pop up” developments – that add a number of floors to a building and in the process dwarf their surrounding homes/buildings.  The practice has become so common, and extreme in some cases, that DC’s Zoning Commission issued new rules  a couple of years ago to bring some order to the situation.

So, we thought neighbors would be interested in knowing about The Brookland, an 11 unit residential development planned for 3614-16 12th Street (within the row houses along the western side of 12th Street between Newton and Otis).  Right now, the rowhouses are not residential, they are all current or former businesses. We spoke to a business owner within that row of buildings and all he would offer up is that the project is “slow going”.

The developer is Lock 7, which also built the sold out Brooks Row development at 12th and Franklin. Coincidentally, just after we drafted this post, the buildings hit the market for $2 Million, from the listing:

Prime Brookland development site for sale. Over 3000 SF of MU-4 zoned land. Two adjacent parcels have been combined and plans convey for an 11-unit condo building with three parking spaces.

So, who knows what will actually happen? According to the project page, the development will be a mixture of one, two and three bedroom units. While it may be aesthetically jarring, there is no doubt that DC needs more housing, particularly close to the Metro. Also, we need more density on or near 12th Street if we want a vibrant main street. So, what do you think? We will keep an eye on this development and let you know when we learn anything new.

20 thoughts on “11 Unit “Pop Up” Development, The Brookland, May Be Coming To 12th Street”

  1. I think it’s a great idea! Might be a bit jarring now, but if the rest of those buildings get developed too at some point, it’ll bring some more life to the street. Also, it’s nice to see that there are some plans for 3-bedroom condos included

    1. Hi Scott,
      I agree about the 3 bedroom condos! You don’t see that often. With today’s blended families, I could see a lot of scenarios where this makes sense. OR, I could see someone buying it and renting it to CUA students. We will see.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks for commenting. I am not a zoning specialist by any means, but I do know that developments are required to include a certain number of parking spaces, based on the number of units to be built. This one will have 3 parking spaces, which could be the required minimum. This location is very close to the Metro, as well.

        1. +1. There’s no reason to induce people to drive by forcing parking to be built. Either people need parking enough that there’s a capital incentive to build it, or they don’t and it doesn’t need to be built. The worst thing we can do is force it to be built and make real estate needlessly more expensive, while inducing people to drive because they’ve been forced to pay for parking.

  2. I’m pro pop-up, particularly outside areas where views would be obstructed of key things (eg the Capitol, Wash monument, etc) that would negatively impact property value and outside of certain historically protected areas. It is already too expensive to buy in this city and the zoning and height restrictions just add to that.

    I would, however, like to see some different architectural detail for these new condos. They all look exactly the same.

    1. Hi Katie,
      Great points, there are places where it makes sense and others where it doesn’t. For me, I feel like the blocks close to Metro stops absolutely should be denser than further away. We have a pop-up next door to us (granted, it’s only one extra floor), and the row house has been broken into 3 units. We have had no problems. I would like people who are anti-density and anti-height explain how we will accommodate DC’s new residents and solve our low income housing shortage without it.

      Also, +1 on the boring architecture!


    2. I agree that the architecture of a lot of these buildings look similar, but the beauty of pop-ups (as opposed to large buildings) is that, eventually, blocks of rowhouses can reflect a lot of different styles. Sure, everything built from 2015-2018 or thereabouts will have that one look, but it won’t be so bad mixed in with a lot of other looks (including some faithfully preserved 1920s-style and 1950s-style buildings).

  3. In order to have a vibrant Main Street we also need vibrant businesses. The businesses on 12th street, save for several, aren’t exactly luring people in. I think nearby neighborhoods like Ivy City etc are surpassing us as far as commercial development. It’s getting ridiculous. Promises of a grocery story in Brookland hasn’t yet happened. We need so many businesses to truly make our neighborhood self sufficient. Don’t get me wrong, I love Brookland, I just want it to have better businesses.

    1. Hi Mollie –
      I agree, 12th Street has a lot of unrealized potential. But, it is really apples and oranges to compare us to Ivy City. In Ivy City you have one local developer with very deep pockets that owns almost all the land. Therefore they can pick and choose a nice mix of complimentary businesses in one fell swoop. On 12th Street, my impression is that you have a hodge-podge of various commercial storefront owners who are not only greedy, but don’t even live in the area, so couldn’t care less about what amenities (like a grocery store) that neighbors need. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I have spoken too that are interested in coming to 12th Street, but are repelled by the outrageous lease prices. Some 12th Street land owners would rather have an empty storefront than a reasonably priced tenant, it seems. It is what it is, unfortunately.

    2. If we want a vibrant Main Street, we want more homes to be built, because these are built-in customers. Developments like this are a step in the right direction.

  4. If Lock7 is the developer for this building, it will be slow going indeed. As a resident of Brooks Row, we learned very quickly not to believe any of their projected schedules and delivery dates.

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