Columbia Plaza is the only executed part of what was planned as two extensive urban renewal development areas for Foggy Bottom. Since the 1940s, planners had deemed the area ripe for a massive reconstruction effort similar to the plan implemented in the District's Southwest Quadrant. The project was scaled back gradually to a single, albeit large, block: a “packaged living” composition, with a hotel, apartments, commercial plaza, and underground parking. The plan called for four groups of high-rise apartments and one hotel arranged around a shopping center and a low-rise serpentine building containing
Finally, an office block replaced the hotel, and the supposed town center is usually devoid of pedestrian traffic, for few people chose to live, work, and shop within a single block.