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May 31, 2007
Takoma Walk Project Earns National Recognition
"Truly Magnificent": Proposed Development Wins Prestigious Planning Award
WASHINGTON, D.C.-Takoma Walk, a proposed mixed-use development in downtown Takoma Park, Md., has been recognized with a 2007 Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). The prestigious national award recognizes projects that reflect the principles of new urbanism, including the development of walkable and transit-friendly neighborhoods that minimize sprawl, and promote the revitalization of downtown communities.
Each Year the CNU convenes a jury of the highest caliber to review submissions and select winning entries that best embody and advance the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism. The award was presented at CNU's annual conference, CNU XV, in Philadelphia on May 18.
ICG Takoma Associates, based in Washington, D.C., worked closely with the design firm of Cunningham | Quill Architects and several community-based groups to develop the concept for Takoma Walk for downtown Takoma Park. The project calls for restoration of a historic, circa-1941 building to its original condition along Carroll Avenue in the Old Town neighborhood, in addition to the development of a mix of retail, office, and residential uses.
Plans for Takoma Walk include the addition of a single story of residential units above the restored building, which would house retail tenants. The development would also improve street frontage along Westmoreland Avenue, a street that transitions from small single-family homes to the retail area. The planned units along this street are designed as a series of walk-up, live/work units that can serve as small professional offices or low-traffic retail. The design "overcomes the awkward shape and size of the site and respects the surrounding neighborhood in a way that is truly magnificent," noted Juror Rick Cole of the City of San Buenaventura.
The site's most challenging aspect required a solution for a drop of more than 35 feet from the main entry along Carroll Avenue to the lowest point of the property along Westmoreland Avenue. Here, in an effort to mitigate the changes in scale and use and to address the dramatic grade change, the design calls for six residential mews buildings, or bungalows. These dwellings would blend in scale with the existing neighborhood to the south, originally built in the 1920s and 1930s. As with the other new portions of the project, these new mews homes are designed in a contemporary style that looks to the surrounding context for inspiration. The mews units are configured as a series of flats and duplex units that overlook shared pedestrian green space.
Noted New Urbanist and Jury Chair Stefanos Polyzoides, AIA, called Takoma Walk an "uncompromising modern project that responds flawlessly to the aesthetics of the charter [of the New Urbanism]."
The Takoma Walk property is located less than ¼ mile from the Takoma Park Metro station. The project was recognized by CNU for its success in creating a transit-friendly development within a historic overlay, while addressing complex issues regarding site topography and neighborhood context.
ICG Properties, the lead partner in ICG Takoma Associates, was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1995. The firm currently owns more than 500,000 square feet of stabilized commercial assets, including the World Center Building, 910 16th Street, NW, Penn Branch Center, and 2115 and 2121 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. ICG also owns or controls another half-million square feet of developable commercial and residential density. Notable achievements include the successful renovation and expansion of the historic Gallup Building at 901 F Street, NW, for which the firm received broad acclaim from the real estate industry, government officials, and District residents.