City Vista (Wax Museum Site), 5th & K Streets, NW

Located on the former Old Wax Museum site and in walking distance to the Washington Convention Center, this mixed-use residential/retail development on the 3.2 acre site contains a total of 685 condominium and apartment units, a 55,000 sf Safeway grocery store, 65,000 sf of additional retail space, and 830 below-ground parking spaces.  The project’s residential units were divided among two condo buildings, “The K” and “The L”, both 12 stories, and one rental apartment building standing nine stories tall, “The V.”  Additional amenities for the residents include a rooftop pool, a large third floor courtyard landscaped with tree pits, a large truck loading dock serving the residential units and the retail rooftop terraces, and a second floor fitness center.

The design of the buildings entailed several structurally challenging features including the vertical transition of the building’s columns and walls from garage to retail and then to residential-architectural floor layouts.  A large amount of transfer girders and sloped columns were introduced on different levels of the structures to accommodate the transitions.  The Safeway grocery store beneath the residential building required 55,000 sf of two-story open space.  This necessitated 30-foot tall unbraced columns that support the residential building above.