About the Northwest One Neighborhood

SeVerna building

SeVerna Phase I

The Northwest One neighborhood is bounded by North Capital Street, New York Avenue, New Jersey Avenue, and K Street, just blocks from the United States Capitol. The Northwest One community benefits from robust public transit access:

Five minute walk to the Florida Avenue/New York Avenue Metro station, with metro bus service along North Capitol and K streets.

Two blocks south of US 50, and bordered by I-395 on the west.

Eight minute walk to Union Station, a major regional and commuter transit hub serving the east coast Amtrak rail, tri-state commuters, Reagan National and the Baltimore Washington International airports.

At present, the District Department of Transportation is studying the feasibility of implementing a streetcar line on K Street, NW abutting the southern border of the redevelopment footprint.

The proximity of the Northwest One Community to transit, the Central Business District and the Capitol has begun to attract new investments in and around the community.  Additionally, Northwest One is flanked on both sides by two of the most active developing neighborhoods in the District of Columbia – Mount Vernon Triangle and NoMa, an acronym for “North of Massachusetts Avenue”. The Mount Vernon Triangle area, located immediately to the west and south of the Northwest One redevelopment footprint, is a newly vibrant community.  Since 2005, 150,000 square feet of new retail has opened in the Triangle, including Busboys and Poets, Safeway, Taylor Gourmet, Henry’s Soul Café, Kushi and most recently Vida Gym.  The mixed-use NoMa community, one block to the east of Northwest One across North Capitol street, has recently experienced rapidly rising real estate values, and as a result new interest in the community  has attracted world class tenants including the National Public Radio headquarters and the largest Harris Teeter gourmet supermarket in the District. 

In its early years, the Northwest One neighborhood was known as Swampoodle, a predominantly Irish area characterized by large industrial uses abutting rail yards, dense rowhouses and alley dwellings extending north from Union Station and west from the railroad tracks. By the end of the Second World War the area was infamous for its blighted housing conditions. Calls for reformation resulted in demolition and redevelopment through urban renewal programs. In fact, the name Northwest One originates from the initial urban renewal designation for the area surrounding the neighborhood.

The significance of the primary avenues within the neighborhood, especially North Capitol Street and New York Avenue, lead to the early and rich presence of civic, religious and education institutions including St. Aloysius Church, Gonzaga College High School, Mount Airy Baptist Church, Bible Way Church, Holy Redemeer Church and School, Southern Baptist Church and St. Phillips church.

Redevelopment in the area included construction of the adjacent Sursum Corda community in 1968.  Led by advocates from nearby Gonzaga College High School and St. Aloysius Church and supported by the DC Housing Authority and then-Senator from New York, Robert F. Kennedy, the housing was inspired by the need to provide safer and more decent replacement housing for lower income residents. At that time, Sursum Corda  was considered unique for its “modern” site plan and architecture. Other housing developments followed, including Temple Courts, Golden Rule, Tyler House and Sibley Plaza.

In January 2005, the District of Columbia, in collaboration with the Northwest One Council, initiated a public planning process to revitalize the Northwest One community to address high rates of crime, unemployment, poverty, and poorly maintained subsidized housing.  In 2006, DC Council approved the Northwest One Redevelopment Plan to guide the vision of a revitalized mixed-use, mixed-income community. In recent years, new developments in Northwest One, as well as the neighboring communities, have enhanced property values and opportunities in the community.