Client: North America Sekisui House, LLC and Roadside Development
Location: Washington, D.C.
Size: 9.71 acres

Creating a much-needed neighborhood center on a high-profile site in the heart of one of the most desirable and affluent areas of Washington, D.C.

Complicated and high-profile

The large size of this site, complex mix of uses and extremely high-profile location combined to elevate the critical importance of creating a thoughtful vision that served the needs and desires of the client, the community, and future users who would live, work and play there.

From Fannie Mae to the future

North America Sekisui House, LLC (NASH) and Roadside Development bought the Fannie Mae headquarters site at 3900 Wisconsin Ave. N.W., in the prestigious Upper Northwest of Washington, D.C., in November 2016. It became available thanks to the mortgage giant’s relocation to a new headquarters in Downtown Washington.

The site is 10 acres, with a 228,000-square-foot building that was originally erected in 1958 (inspired by the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Va.), and added to in 1962 and 1978, plus a parking garage. A green belt runs behind the site. Sidwell Friends School, which educated the children of multiple presidents, is directly across Wisconsin Avenue.

NASH and Roadside envisioned a mix of for-rent apartments, for-sale condominiums, townhouses, retail anchored by the city’s first Wegmans supermarket, a hotel, offices, cultural space and public amenities.

A sustainable, high-tech, mixed-use neighborhood center

Looking at Washington, D.C. in general and the Upper Northwest in particular, Red Propeller researched demographics, employment, retail and cultural facilities, transportation, competition and more to understand who would live, work, shop, dine and play at City Ridge. These target audience segments informed an umbrella positioning recommendation for the site, plus distinctive yet related positioning recommendations for each of the planned residential buildings. This positioning included creating a much-needed neighborhood center in the heart of the Upper Northwest.

The target audience and positioning then became the basis for recommendations on:

  • The unit mix and sizes in each of the residential buildings;
  • Parking needs;
  • The layout of the site, and exterior design elements for the buildings;
  • Retail uses and would best serve the project and community;
  • Public spaces, art features and programming throughout the site;
  • Shared space and amenities for each of the residential buildings; and
  • An interior design direction for each of the residential buildings.

In addition, based on the vision of the developers, we laid out a program of highly effective and visible sustainability measures (including both environmental and social sustainability) and leading-edge technology features.

The result is a vibrant community and destination, and a market leader.