Cafritz's Icebox

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Early reactions to the proposed building were largely negative. The apartment complex’s proposed gleaming modern façade struck a dissonant tone with nearby homeowners, whose drab brick and wood homes would look backwards and outdated if compared to the new building. The conspicuous building materials would also stick out like a sore thumb on the Connecticut Avenue corridor, which is largely made up of brick buildings over fifty years old. The more urbane apartment building would seem out of place when surrounded by older single-family homes and understated brick apartment buildings. The Cafritz Company’s renderings of the building (ONE is shown to the right) tacitly do not picture any single-family residences around the apartment complex. Furthermore, the proposed building’s spacious buffer between its entrance and Connecticut Avenue would position it much further away from the street than neighboring buildings, resulting in a noticeably inharmonious streetscape.

Apart from its physical presence, the apartment complex would exert an influence on the neighborhood. It would, for example, alter the neighborhood’s demographic composition. Its contemporary design would attract young professionals to a traditionally older neighborhood. The complex’s anticipated average unit size (900 square feet), too, signals a move away from the previously upper middle class family-based neighborhood ambience.

For many Americans, home ownership is tied to an ideological commitment to the character of a neighborhood. The identity-forming nature of home location is well established. Development, especially when it attracts new people to an area, can meaningfully change a neighborhood’s atmosphere. Groups opposed to Cafritz’s apartment co...

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McCarty, Jim. Jim McCarthy (ANC Chair) to Calvin Cafritz. Memorandum of Understanding. August 28, 2013.

O’Connell, Jonathan. “Cafritz project starts after 22-year wait.” Washington Post, December 16, 2012. Accessed April 21, 2014.

Penall, Rolf. “Opposition to Housing: NIMBY and Beyond.” Urban Affairs Review 35 (1999): 112-136, accessed April 29, 2014,
DOI: 10.1177/10780879922184310.

5333 Connecticut Neighborhood Coalition, “Project Issues and Impact on Neighborhood.” Accessed April 28, 2014.

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