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Posted at 1:25 PM ET, 04/28/2010

A taller Washington?

By Washington Post editors

Every so often the question of Washington’s height limit comes up. Someone suggests we raise it, and a debate ensues. I’m on record opposing raising the height limit in downtown Washington, but supporting much taller buildings in secondary areas like Rosslyn.

I have opposed raising the limit downtown because:

1.) I don’t think concentrating more office space downtown is necessarily in the region’s best interests. I’d rather we have a bunch of mixed-use neighborhoods than an office ghetto surrounded by bedroom communities.

2.) There’s so much land near downtown in places such as Southwest and NoMa that we have ample room to expand the central office district without raising the height limit.

3.) I fear that eliminating the height limit downtown would result in a push to tear down and redevelop too many historic buildings that are culturally valuable.

However, there is one benefit to raising the height limit downtown: It could make downtown a better neighborhood.

Downtown Washington might be the most intensely built part of the region, but it is almost completely commercial. There are so few residential units that vast swaths of downtown are almost completely devoid of people outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If I want Washington to be a city of mixed-use neighborhoods, then downtown is failing.

Even the downtown BID thinks this is a problem.

[Visit Dan Malouff's blog,, to read more.]

Dan Malouff blogs at . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Washington Post editors  | April 28, 2010; 1:25 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, development  
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