Multifamily Project Rekindles U Street’s Multicultural Vitality
Balfour Beatty provided construction services for The Louis at 14th Apartments, which is situated in the vibrant, urban U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The high-end residential building, designed by architect Eric Colbert & Associates, consists of 268 efficiently designed, Class A apartments that exude a modern refinement. The project also encompassed 22,500 square feet of street level retail space, including a Trader Joe’s and new restaurants, as well as 148 parking spaces in a structured garage. Though The Louis at 14th may seem like a typical, luxury apartment building, its quality construction, environmental consciousness, and rich design differentiate the project from others of its kind while adeptly communicating the neighborhood’s legacy and promise.
The Washington, D.C. area is home to many architecturally and historically significant buildings and public spaces, and U Street is certainly emblematic of the cultural intersections that inspire both young and old to reside within the Beltway. Originally developed between 1860 and 1900, U Street was a popular neighborhood for post-Civil War residents and, during the early 1900s, became the country’s largest African American community until Harlem, New York claimed that title in the 1920s. As such, U Street became a rich, cultural corridor that included the Lincoln Theater among other renowned attractions. More recently, the area experienced a significant building boom with new condos, restaurants, and retail storefronts and has been cited as one of the nation’s most successful urban revitalizations.
The Louis's intricate façade, comprised of a vast array of materials including brick, metal panels, exposed steel channel, and granite, is an inviting reflection of the area’s storied past. In attempts to preserve history while constructing a new, modern development, the Balfour Beatty team removed, restored, and re-incorporated a section of salvaged, historic façade from the El Paraiso Restaurant in the storefront of the new Trader Joe’s. Rarely has sustaining a city’s cultural history been so integral a component to the success of a multifamily development.
Further diversity is observed through the project’s design and construction of 39 distinct sections of roof areas, which are located throughout various levels and set-backs of the building. The project also features 20 different areas of green roof, which are primarily extensive systems with sedum plugs, and several planters in the exterior amenity spaces containing deeper soil depths and intensive systems – examples of sustainable building elements that contributed to the project’s LEED Silver certification.
Though The Louis beckons tenants with luxury amenities such as an outdoor movie screening area, outdoor lounge areas with fire-pits and grill stations, as well as a pool with a fountain and poolside bar, it is much more than your traditional mixed-use project. Inspired by the area’s iconic history and celebrated resilience, The Louis even pays homage to the past through its very appellation. One of the development’s two namesakes is King Louis XIV of France, who established the opulent court at Versailles and was widely known as having a penchant for decadence. The reference is fitting. The Louis at 14th is a regal development boasting an impressive, monumental staircase inside the two-story main lobby and a spa-quality fitness center. Perhaps no feature is more majestic than the project’s panoramic city views. The development was also named for jazz legend, Louis Armstrong, who helped cement the U Street Corridor’s status in the music world. Balfour Beatty was proud to bring the dream for this project to life – a dream that allowed our team to become an active participant in rekindling U Street’s multicultural vitality for decades to come.