Edwin Slipek looks at the recent development along the 21st Street corridor in this week’s Style:
No local precinct has undergone so remarkable a transformation as Shockoe Bottom’s eastern edge, where North 21st Street slams hard against the weed-infested and dramatically steep cliff of Church Hill. […] …. as in-fill they provide much-needed urban density and establish intriguing architectural tension between two abutting but radically different districts. On the one hand, atop restored Church Hill, there’s the human scale and understated elegance of mostly 19th-century structures. On the other, anchoring the Bottom like ballast, are solid and muscular warehouse-scaled buildings.
Despite some architectural missteps, these ambitious residential projects signify a major step in replanting a neighborhood where past generations imposed demolition. These apartment buildings also validate the Herculean preservation efforts, begun in the late 1950s, to restore once-dilapidated Church Hill. With that historic neighborhood’s successful renewal, things on its periphery have been invigorated, including Tobacco Row, Fulton Hill, North Church Hill and Union Hill. But Shockoe Bottom was the slowest to make a comeback.
PREVIOUSLY: Development will bring almost 500 new apartments to Shockoe Valley (5/31/2010)