A NEW HOME FOR HISTORIC SYNAGOGUE NEAR CAPITOL CROSSING

01/02/18 — A New Home for Historic Synagogue Near Capitol Crossing
by Nena Perry-Brown

image Rendering of relocated synagogue and planned museum as seen from northwest
Capitol Crossing will be one of the largest developments to deliver in DC’s downtown area, erecting a platform atop the I-395 exit ramp off Massachusetts Avenue and delivering over 2 million square feet of mixed-use space. Now, one of the tangential components of that planned-unit development (PUD) is seeking further zoning approvals that will move the entire project forward.

A second-stage PUD application has been filed in order to relocate the existing historic synagogue building for the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHS) at Third and G Streets NW (map) to 575 Third Street NW (map), abutting it on the south and east sides with newly-constructed museum and office space.

image Aerial context massing for Capitol Crossing; future site of synagogue highlighted
The plans for relocation and construction of a new museum were initially approved as part of the Capitol Crossing PUD years ago. Now, the more-detailed plans propose a four-story museum alongside the 4,165 square-foot Adas Israel Synagogue, which will sit on an elevated plinth. Along F Street, an entrance plaza and courtyard will separate the two buildings, which will have an interior walkway connecting them.

image Rendering of lobby of planned museum, looking toward synagogue
JHS is requesting flexibility on some interior and exterior design elements, from signage to materiality to the location of various interior components. The applicant is also requesting relief from penthouse setback requirements based on the placement of the elevator shaft.

image Rendering of relocated synagogue and planned museum as seen from Third Street
image Rendering of relocated synagogue and planned museum as seen from F Street
The Historic Preservation Review Board granted the plans conceptual approval in late September. A zoning hearing has not yet been scheduled. If all other approvals proceed on schedule, the synagogue will be moved in 2019.

image Rendering of relocated synagogue and planned museum as seen from southwest
Owned by JHS, Adas Israel Synagogue is the oldest such establishment in the District and operated in its current building from 1876-1907, when the congregation moved into the 6th and Eye synagogue. Adas Israel was originally constructed at 6th and G Streets, but moved in the late 1960s when WMATA purchased the building in hopes of razing it to make way for a headquarters. JHS secured historic designation for the building to prevent its demolition; it was moved to 40 feet away from its current address in 1969.