I went to a presentation/tour last night inside Crystal Ice on R Street. The new owner is the same person who did the Loftworks project on J and 16th, and he has a similar sort of adaptive reuse plan for Crystal Ice. One of the structures is not really stable enough to remain (the one closest to 17th) but the original brick structure and the newer concrete structure on 16th are planned for adaptive reuse. He wants to build up on top of the 16th Street side to about 90 feet, and open up the walls. A new structure on the 17th Street end will go up about as high. A second set of structures will replace the existing buildings between 17th and 18th, again about 90 feet high.
While inside, I took some photos with my cheesy cellphone camera (curse me for not bringing my digital camera!!)
I got a chance to talk with the developer. He expressed a serious commitment, as evidenced by his earlier projects, to adaptive reuse and the importance of historic architecture in placemaking. Of course, this all has to meet up with the realities of the bottom line--which means a tall building, expensive rents, and other compromises. But the ideal is there, and the folks involved have a pretty good track record. I wouldn't mind if 16th and R were as bouncy as 16th and J on the weekends, as long as there was a place I could get a cheeseburger for under eight bucks.