Rejuvenating a Historic Neighborhood through a Diverse Community Partnership
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the historic Shaw neighborhood was widely regarded as the city’s center of African American intellectual and cultural life. As the home of the legendary Howard Theatre and esteemed Howard University, this once flourishing area took a turn for the worse in 1968, when riots erupted. For decades following, Shaw was plagued by economic and population decline, but in 2010, a resurgence of development began restoring the historic neighborhood to its former glory.
Through a joint venture with Gilford Construction, our DAVIS team built Progression Place: a mixed-use residential, commercial, and retail property located directly above the Shaw-Howard University Metro Station. Substantial rehabilitation of existing historic buildings was an important piece of the puzzle. Converted and updated into retail and restaurant space, they blend the old and new, and keep the neighborhood ties alive. Living up to its name, this project is all about progress — advancing a community through more than just real estate revival, but through a commitment to diversity and minority outreach.
Project typeResidential Commercial Buildings
Architectdp+partners; Eric Colbert & Associates
awardsAAREP DC Deal of the Year
Attracted by the modern space, historic location, and proximity to Howard University, The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) chose Progression Place for its new headquarters. As the anchor tenant, this philanthropic organization occupies five floors of the seven-story office tower.
Tilting Toward the Future
Lining 7th Street between S and T Streets NW, Progression Place includes two new buildings: an office building and a residential building with 205 apartments. The office building’s signature modern design — sleek with outwardly canted walls — symbolizes a structure tilting toward the future. This progressive quality, combined with the building’s historic location, made it particularly attractive to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) — which became the office building’s anchoring tenant, with a workspace also built by DAVIS.
Maintaining diversity, community, and inclusion, the property’s residential tower — known as the 7th Flats at Progression Place — is an apartment complex with a mix of affordable housing units and units that meet special requirements. Residences are intentionally set back from the street, so as not to overshadow the adjacent, historically significant Howard Theatre.
With Metro access on the property, Progression Place set the standard for accessible, transit-oriented, mixed-use development in Shaw. We are proud to have played a role in the rejuvenation of this historic neighborhood — while empowering local businesses and residents through our work.
DCHA recognized DAVIS' support and commitment with a Certificate of Appreciation for our team's work in creating opportunities for DC public housing residents.
Exceeding Requirements and Empowering Residents
Through effective and diverse community outreach, it was important that we enabled residents — and local businesses — to become a part of the project’s workforce. One of the ways we achieved this was by reaching out to the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) community. We exceeded our collaboration goals with the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), First Source Employment Program, and with DC resident hires. We are proud to stand behind these results, and of our strong ties to organizations like the Department of Small and Local Business Development and the Department of Employment Services.Photos by Dan Poyourow Photography