When you hear about Fort Totten, the first thing that comes to mind is a Metro stop. However, that limited perception is sure to change in light of recent developments.
The Modern at Art Place is a new residential complex that resulted from the efforts of Jane and Calvin Cafritz. Calvin Cafritz is president and CEO of the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. He and his wife, a foundation officer, have worked together to make a meaningful vision — also known as “Jane’s baby” — become reality.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, who came to the Modern at Art Place on Nov. 27 to do some ribbon-cutting, is personally supportive of the project. As someone who grew up in the area, the mayor remembers the way things used to be. She mentioned how the new Culture Coffee replaced what used to be a place called Tiger Market, known for selling more lottery tickets and beer than actual food.
Affordable housing is a priority for Bowser. All eight D.C. wards should have housing that remains affordable, but is still of good quality, she said. Returning to her neck of the woods and seeing significant change, she added, “I couldn’t be happier about that.”
With change in the air, the result is a development that has a lot to offer, both for residents and for people working there. In addition to apartments, there are workspaces meant to be alternatives to Starbucks and places to relax and socialize, such as an outdoor space where people can play bocce and a space where people can enjoy a movie night. A gym is also included, complete with yoga mats and medicine balls.
Further development, with the aim of revitalizing the community, is underway. Jane Cafritz said that she would like to see an advisory neighborhood commission office, a reading place for seniors, a coffee shop, a place where a dentist can do business, a school that fosters great academics, creativity and the arts, a family-oriented recreation center and other types of amenities inside these corners.
Cafritz believes that art is a key part of a healthy community. A visitor notices the cheerful color schemes that blend in with the more somber colors. Plans to make the project friendly toward the arts include having local authors come for book signings, having artists exhibit their works and hosting performances of jazz in the garden.
“We wanted to provide fantastic amenities,” she said.