Can I boycott a place I'd probably never get to
Some of ya'll are aware of the kerfuffle regarding
U Street Girl and the owner of a wine bar threatened legal action
. She has recommended that others join her in not patronizing or promoting the 14th Street business. Okay.
I totally agree on principle, but honestly I haven't even gotten to the wine bars I actually want to go to, like Cork, so I don't know what use that would be. Also as a fan of redemption and forgiveness I hope that the owner of Du Vin Osteria, David Shott, will make an honest effort to undo the damage done.
Hopefully, we'll have none of that in nearby (to me) Bloomingdale. Tonight there is going to be an open house Q&A for a proposed bar/pub/wateringhole
at 116 Rhode Island Ave NW between 6 and 8pm. I guess it would be a good place to unwind after some yoga 'round the corner
. Seriously, I'm looking forward to the development, growth and appearances of all the small businesses in the Bloomingdale and eastern Shaw area.
Labels: blog, business, development, events, food/dining
Feh, PUDs and other complex development deals
I just rejected a SPAM comment for a old post (any post older than 14 days is moderated) about the Radio One deal
. That was back in 2007. It is 2010. So 'cuse me if I'm not as hopeful as some of you about the other projects proposed back in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004.... You get the idea.
So far, in my mind, which means you're welcomed to disagree (and I'll just ignore you), anything requiring financing more complicated than a credit card form is something you shouldn't hold your breath for. Yes, complex projects do get built. You know that National Harbor thing in PG built over a year or two ago? Yeah, they started that in the 1970s. I know where the paperwork for that is to prove it. So O Street Market may be done sometime in 2020 at this rate.
Yes, yes, I hear things are moving with O St. I will believe it when the machinery arrives, then a bunch of guys in hard hats are there 4-5 days a week for 3 or more months and something like framing. Real framing, not just stuff to keep the walls from falling down, forms. Don't just adjust the fence and move the bricks around and call that progress.
Don't hold your breath
Mt. Vernon Square lists all the stalled/ held up/ and snailed
projects in Shaw. And another project that is snail or sloth-in-a-coma type projects, the Howard Theater, had its marquee fell down
ex-Shiloh Property under some renovation
PoP reports here
, with a hopeful picture that work is being done on this former Shiloh Baptist property. If I have the address right (1600 8th St NW?) the property was sold 12/30/2009, so if the new owner is starting now, three months later, the future is lookin' good.
Labels: development, real estate
A few things revisited
a grocery store in ne
On the Eckington listserv there is all this back and forth about the old Safeway and hoped for replacement. Please take the Harris Teeter off the list. According to an old press release
HT is scheduled to open Winter 2010/2011. According to a recent DCMUD post
(hat tip eckington blog
), that date could be November 2010.
Honestly Eckington/Edgewood area, I don't see what that area has to attract the kind of store y'all think you deserve. The two favorites according to Debbie Smith's poll were Trader Joe's (which tends to like small spaces with hidden parking) and Wegmans. What no Balducci's
? I left the Logan Circle are a few months after the Whole Foods opened, and from what I remember the civic authorities of that area showed how the population of Logan/Shaw (and Dupont) could support a Whole Foods. The Soviet Safeway, the O Street Giant, and the no-name grocery in the area were no competition for the kind of shopper that would support WF. If y'all can prove that a national or regional grocery chain can thrive there despite a Giant nearby that happens to be very convenient to a metro station with many buses, go for it.and regarding sidewalks and the problems for those in wheelchairs (from Scott Roberts list)
See this 2/17/2010 message from ANC 5C04 Commissioner John Salatti:
Bloomingdale does it again: another resident is helped!
Once again, Bloomingdale residents have shown their concern for their neighbors and done it with more than just words. This past weekend I heard from Angela xxxxxxx who uses a motorized wheelchair to get to and from college in Rockville, MD. She makes that daily trip using Metro. That trip is long and difficult on the best of days (Angela has some hairy stories of having to drive her wheelchair down Michigan Avenue from the Brookland Metro Station when the buses have not run), her trip became impossible after the snow storm because she could travel barely 20 feet from her property before the sidewalk became impassable for her wheelchair.
After meeting with Angela and hearing her situation and what she needs to go back to school, I called on a number of residents for a major operation: get Angela from her home in the xxxx block of Flagler Place to the bus stop at North Capitol and W Street, about a third of mile. And once again Bloomingdale responded. Many, many thanks to Sara Kaufman and Mike McNeil of the Unit block of W Street, and Dodd Naiser, Alastair Pakiam, and Brandon Skall of Flagler Place for joining me to widen the path on the sidewalk and for chopping out a lot of ice so that Angela could make her way safely to the bus stop and back. We went with her on a test drive back and forth. She couldn't believe that people would do so much to help her.
Please clear the sidewalks.
Labels: ADA, Bloomingdale/Eckington, development, weather
Waltha Daniels Shaw Library
Slowly it is coming together.
Labels: city services, development
News from other blogs or Friday Misc.
Over in Bloomingdale The Yoga District is having a mommy & me, but with a more inclusive title of Family Yoga and Community Playtime
The Great Scott Roberts also mentioned some tasty info
he got from a Bloomingdale restaurant hopefully to come at NJ & R. According to WashBiz Journal
, Beau Thai, a carry out, is due to open in March, hopefully, maybe, fingers crossed.
Speaking of restaurants on R, anyone know what's going on with 6th and R for the proposed Toque Cafe
? I've noticed a change of windows and the application of paper over the windows, so I hope there is something good going on behind the paper.
Over here in the TC, the BACA blog tells
that there will be a grand opening of the Eckstine and Ellington Theatre
at the Dorothy I Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools (CAPCS)school, also known as Armstrong, this weekend.
have a great weekend y'all.
Labels: Bloomingdale/Eckington, business, development, events, food/dining, kids
Change in the corner of my eye
Last night I spent some quality time with the Help, the Help's landlord, the landlords' dogs, and another guest in Beltsville. The Help made some comment about the drug dealers on my corner, to which I responded that the dealers have cut back their hours and days of operation and laid off staff, and are hardly there [pause & sigh]"it's the economy." I got a chuckle from that. The friendly neighborhood drug dealers are less of a problem then in years past and that's a change for the better, which only Spring can tell. Sadly they have been replaced by bored violent teens
picking fights and robbing adults. Not sure which is worse.
I measure change by the situation I came into when I arrived on my block nearly 9 years ago. Drug dealers were at the corner or near the corner day, night, weekends, weekday, hot days, or cold weather, they were there. The Giant on O St was the best grocery option. There were quickie marts and liquor stores selling 40oz every 2 blocks and no decent wine.
But lately I have sensed another change, that is to come, and I see it out of the corner of my eye. Walking home I saw the Josephine
(the recently built condos on Rhode Island Ave) off the side, in the background a tad, and I sensed a greater density has been added to my low density neighborhood. A density that the Monique
, on the same block but on R St didn't add on its own, but the two together seems to signal a change. Also, when peered at from the corner of my eye, off in the background the new Waltha Daniels/Shaw Library getting built. Now provided no bullets mar the shatterproof glass (that's what I hear these modern architects are using for glass boxes these days) in the 1st 6 months, that will definitely signal a change provided that we see through the glass, a diverse library patronage that reflects the diversity of the neighborhood.
And the hope of change for the better is still alive and well. There is some excitement about a proposed bar near the Yoga District, and the SMD ANC/ businessman Stu Davenport is aware and seems positive
. This is something new to think about while some still remain hopeful about Baraki (1st and T) and wonder what's going with the old Bates Market
, which seems to be chugging along. And speaking with the BAANC blog editor and Ray 'o' Sunshine, it seems I should keep an eye out this year for the O Street Market.
Labels: business, development
Where are the Warrenton Condominums?
Not too long ago we were informed of the Warrenton Group and their million + contract with the city to assist in the development of Northwest One. Then other bloggers noted that they had listed as their office the shuttered liquor store on 7th and Q here in Shaw. Then their website went down. Well now their website is back up
and shiny and telling me to update my Internet Explorer. And they say their offices are on Wisconsin Ave
Now I found some of their completed projects. Warrenton West
is over on Missouri Avenue NW and the Taylor Flats
on Taylor St NW. Both seem to be fairly small project compared to what is proposed for NW 1 and the other large projects.
Good morning. As you can see it appears things are just chugging along at the Waltha T. Daniel-Shaw library. Sparks a flying, cranes and trucks blocking traffic, good stuff.
A few blocks over at 7th and Q
is the location of the Warrenton Group, (apparently spelled with and 'e', occasionally spelled Warranton with an 'a') which according to DC Mud
is joining developer William C. Smith and Co. to rebuild the Sursum Corda Area aka Northwest One. Problem is, as far as some of us can tell the Warrenton Group
is a fake front, as they have been awarded million dollar contracts but haven't built shyte. They own shyte, but haven't built or developed anything so far that one can point to. Unless someone out there knows something that we can go look at, besides the senior wreck center that is the shuttered liquor store at 7th and Q.
On a personal note this week I discovered the importance of a dehumidifier when my cellar flooded with 4 inches of water.
Lastly, sort of because I swear I meant to write something else, trick or treaters. As common on my street, we give out candy to small people who knock on our door. I'm guessing the prime time will be 5-7pm, because around 7:30-8 the sullen teens knock on the door and that's when I turn off all the lights and hide in the rear of the house, or go over to someone else's house. So check with your neighbors if you're new since last year and join in the custom.
Labels: development, events
Playground near Bundy & Middle Eastern Food
Shamelessly stolen from BACA blog
, who got it from the CCCA-Blog
Item #1- There is going to be a children's playground at Scott-Montgomery
. They broke ground, there is equipment awaiting installation, and even better.... a edible learning garden! I love edibles. I love it even better when other people, including small people with growing brains, get to learn that food does not come from the supermarket. It comes from the good earth. Yay! According to the CCCA, "Access to the outdoor tot lot in the small courtyard on 1500 Fifth St NW will be made available local families and age-appropriate children in the neighborhood outside of regular school hours." I hope this means they can keep out cursing, dope smoking adults who tend to take over playgrounds. Yeah, I'm talking about the guys around the block, who used to haunt the basketball courts that where behind KIPP/Scott-Montgomery. And hopefully this space will appreciated by some of the anti-dog park people who say children need a park. Well it's coming and that is a good thing.
Item #2- Toque Cafe- Middle Eastern restaurant to be at 6th and R
. One word, falafel. Some more words- the former Chain Reaction space is going to serve food and G-d and city government willing, there may be outdoor seating. My only concern is the corner of R and the alley running behind it seems to attract bulk trash on a regular basis, I swear it is some dumping ground. I think today I saw a headboard and some other furniture. But that shouldn't keep me from falafels. I pray they make good falafels with a decent tahini sauce. Last local mid-east place I went to (now out of business) put ranch dressing on the falafel. Bad. Bad. Bad.
Labels: business, development
Prevent a Pop-up
Well we can make this a test case. Can you kill a pop up without one of those pesky historic district doohickies?
Here's the situation, there is to be a BZA hearing for 1721 4th Street, N.W. It's the blue house that's being worked on that's across the alley from the Fourth Street Cleaners. Anyway, the owner, a nice guy I'm told, has an application #17934, for a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions under subsection 2001.3, to allow a third story addition to an existing flat (two-family dwelling) in the R-4 District. Third story addition, read Pop-up.
Now pop-ups can be cool, or they can be complete pieces of crap. It could be the house near the corner of R & 5th (cool) or the monstrosity on the unit block of P St NE, or the 1/2 done thing on the 300 block of P NW.TRIVIA-
1721 4th St NW sits on the block that was owned by the Glorius family from the 1880s to the 1900s, which was later sold
to Harry Wardman
** Public Hearing***
Start Time : 7/28/2009 10:00 AM
Case Number : 17934
Case Name : Application of Behzad Hosseinkhani
Case Summary : (Area Variance) pursuant to 11 DCMR § 3103.2, for a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions under subsection 2001.3, to allow a third story addition to an existing flat (two-family dwelling) in the R-4 District at premises 1721 4th Street, N.W. (Square 516, Lot 54).
ANC : 5C01
Labels: development, historic districts, houses
1300-1600 blk of Hell, NW
Well it appears that North Capitol from New York Ave up to somewhere around Florida is doomed, doomed to heck. As far as commercial ventures go. From the BACA notes
Comish Pinkney said the Urban Land Institute said that North Cap wasn’t suitable for development because developers would not want to invest in an area laden with so many social services.
There are several social services concentrated in that spot around NY Ave and North Cap. Because of their individual missions and management style some of those social services (not all) attracts a population whose acts are a negative force. I throw in management style because I remember the Emory Shelter on Lincoln Rd NE, which is still there. But a few years back it took in all kinds of men without checking sex offender status. It was a few feet away from the Harry Thomas Rec Center, where children congregated. Well a change was made so that only homeless men with jobs would reside at Emory and that cut down on the crowds of men just hanging out around the shelter.
A few block south of Emory back in our area, around NY Ave and North Capitol, you have several homeless services and a methadone clinic. S.O.M.E.
is one of them and I do remember the really bad complaints residents had with some when I first moved around here. Homeless where littering like crazy and using neighbors' basement apartment entryways for toilets. I'm hearing few complaints these days about meal related litter and poop at your basement door, and that has come with some back and forth between residents and S.O.M.E.
However, with the volume of people served by SOME and the other places there is a portion of that population that makes development along North Cap, 'unsuitable'. These are the loiterers, the extortionists/ beggars, the window breakers, and the weirdos who wander up and down the street. I hear that men are begining to lay around in front of the new Subway sandwich shop. The police come and shoo them away and then they come back to block entry. Hopefully the Subway can survive and not suffer the problems that closed down Luciana Cafe with multiple window breakings, vadalism, and loitering (Jemal raising the rent didn't help either).
It was brought up in the BACA meeting that the person who owns the building with the liquor store at FL and N. Cap, owns that whole corner of buildings on that corner, including the Subway. The owner was approached with the idea of matching funds to improve the facade, but refused because it would be like throwing money away.
So getting development along the NW side of North Cap is going to be hard.
Also forget about the old firehouse becoming a restaurant.
Labels: BACA, development
From the Pile: Bundy School & Park
The pile knows all, and the pile is very, very disorganized and headed for the recycle bin. I find stuff of interest and it goes into the pile.
Here's something from the pile, a 1968 report on public facilities. The most interesting stuff is about DC medical clinics in Shaw that are no more. Not counted are non-DC government clinic such as Children's Hospital (still over in northern Shaw). Anyway amongst that stuff is a listing of DC government land and US Government land in Shaw.
I'm going to cut to the chase, in 1968 Bundy Elementary School and Bundy Playground were understood to be two separate things. When I heard the Director at the meeting mention the post Home Rule land confusion something didn't sound right. It's an understandable error, and so I don't fault the Director on this, and you can say it is all up to interpretation or it doesn't matter. And even the report I'm looking at seems a little confused at times about the Bundy Playground, which on the map includes the lot were the soccer players play and the vacant lot proposed as the 1968 playground. On several pages it says the 2.40 acre Bundy Playground is owned by the US government and operated by the Recreation Department, but on one page says it is owned by the Recreation Department. A paragraph about Bundy Playground reads, "This property contains 104,595 sq. ft. owned by the U.S. Government, but under the control of the D.C. Recreation Department. The playground contains a multi-purpose playing field, 2 basketball courts and elementary apparatus for small children."
Of course, this is just a snap shot from 1968. Heavens only knows what understandings, change of responsibilities, etc occurred with Home Rule in 1973 (just 5 years later) or disorganized administrations.
Labels: city services, development, neighborhood history
Bundy Lot Meeting
By golly I hate meetings, but you wouldn't know that because I keep attending them.
These are my quick points to keep from rambling. The rambling will be in another post:
* Office of Property Management (OPM) won't be handling how the land will be used. It will be Park and Rec's problem.
*There is approximately 37,000 sq ft in the building.
*OPM will have a clearer assessment of the building's parking needs in 30 days.
*OPM Director stated that she was, "not trying to over park anything."
*The land transfer from the Federal to the District government is expected to go through sometime this fall.
*After several promises of other locations, the DC government settled on the Bundy School as a location for the multidisciplinary team response to child abuse in 2004.
*Prior to Home Rule in 1973, DC school land was owned by a mix of the municipal body and the federal government, so the assumption that the lot belonged to the DC government was a natural error.
*(not from the meeting) Up until recently the DC government had no clue as to what land it owned, best illustrated in the case of vacant residential properties.
*Si, from MVSQ neighborhood association stated that we welcome Safe Shores and (okay memory fuzzy) as a neighbor? hoping they will be a good neighbor? Regardless, we welcome Safe Shores, and her comment got a good round of applause from the pro-parking and pro-green space folks.
*Martin of the CCCA neighborhood association mentioned there are plans in the works for playgrounds/parks (didn't write this down) at Scott-Montgomery and NJ and O.**
*The proposal for a dog park was pushed forward by a group, not the ANC.
*When the land transfer occurs then Parks & Rec can evaluate the dog park application.
Now if there is anything factually wrong with my notes, please inform me with comments. No anonymous comments, those are deleted at whim.
**It will be interesting to see how the proposed people parks/ playgrounds get used. There was play equipment in the park near the other Northwest Co-Op here in the TC. However, no parent in their right mind would let their kids play on it because of the bad adult behavior in and around that equipment. That's changing, but still more adults, hang out in that area than kids.
Labels: animals, city services, development
Lunch options in Penn Quarter
Dear Wagamama,How dare you make me wait until 2010
for tasty ramen.
I thought I took a picture but apparently, no. Yesterday I spotted signage on 418 7th Street stating that the noodle chain I fell in love with in London will be coming in 2010. Better yet, it will be close enough and priced about right to make a regular lunch spot.
Labels: development, food/dining, other neighborhoods
Latin American School for JF Cook
Anyone know anything about this
Labels: development, schools
7th & RI- only a matter of time
Blocking off the sidewalk on Rhode Island & 7th St is an accident waiting to happen. There is a bus stop there and the bus lets people off. Those few traffic barriers are an island unconnected to safe passage. Okay, say the bus lets you off at the stop there and you're in the barricade island. How do you get to the metro station? You have to walk out into traffic.
Today I spotted the G8 stopped at the corner of 7th and RI to let people off, blocking cars coming north on 7th. It looked like a safer course of action than deserting them in the barricade island.
Its only a matter of time before someone gets hurt as long as that sidewalk is blocked with no connection to a safe path.
Labels: development, transportation
IMGoph has a post up about the presentation
for the streetscape around the Howard Theater area.
I've kinda lost general interest in the Howard because in the early 2000s I attended the meetings and heard the presentations for saving the Howard Theater, and then nada. Nothing. Zip. The Howard, the O Street Market, and anything else I was waiting for to get going during the real estate boom years, didn't. So now I'm jaded.
I got to thinking, if the Howard is restored and turned into a working theater, wouldn't it be in competition with the Lincoln up the street?
Constructing a Courtyard Marriott
The hotel over by the New York Avenue Metro station is coming along and seems to be going at a pretty good pace. As you can see there are windows. Windows that can peer into the souls of the ATF workers across the way.... or not.
Waiting hotel visitors, once the joint opens, is the Sisters Pizza and Mussels, the 5 Guys, Pound Coffee, and Heidi's Deli. Hopefully success on NoMa's 2nd St NE, will trickle some smaller scale development (think 14th St Shaw not 14th St Columbia Heights) over on to North Cap.
Labels: development, other neighborhoods
Tall and new, but not so much ugly
Unlike the piece of crap on P Street, this new construction, has the possibility of not looking horrid. The taller building on the left needs balconies and some greenery on the roof. Though it may not look perfect now, and if it looks meh' when done, it's not offensive. The slightly shorter new construction is just screaming for some architectural detail on that big empty space up top. Ironwork, decorative woodwork, something.
"Future Home of Harris Teeter". Over by the ATF building adn NY Ave Metro station.
Speed of plans
I grow weary of plans. Particularly the ones that never get off the ground. I find it hard to get excited (unless you provide food AND booze) over some developer's or city department's plan for something, if it is the second time in years I have heard of the plans or it takes forever for anything, any thing to happen.
I have heard of plans for the Howard Theater, or Theatre, plans for the O Street Market (they provided food and booze, so they still hold my interest), plans for the lot on the S Street side of the metro, and plans for the old fire house on North Capitol. If you haven't heard that fell through and the place is up for sale
. Citizens get worried when a project goes to a dead stop in the middle of work with good reason. There are several examples around the area of grand plans on hold.
I'm in a good mood. I've got my hot cup of British blend tea and a warm bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on multi-grain toast. Life is good. So in this good mood I'm looking over the newsletter sent to me by Empower DC
Normally, I'd just delete it as it is lefty activist stuff, but as I said, I'm in a very good mood.
According to their email "Empower DC seeks to enhance and improve self-advocacy efforts to improve the quality of life of low-and moderate-income people in DC." And looking over their newsletter, which is not available via their website (as far as I can tell) and their website they are challenging developers and private uses for DC owned property. Their newsletter has a series they are documenting and they describe it as so:
This is the first in a series of regular reports, entitled “People's Property Now”, to be released by Empower DC's People's Property Campaign, providing information and analysis about the fate of public property in DC.
Empower DC's People's Property Campaign asserts that:
• As long as community needs exist in DC, there is no such thing as “surplus” public property.
• Public property is the common trust of the residents of the District of Columbia and must be maintained as public for current and future generations, and used for the public, not private profit.
• DC's current law only provides a process for disposing of public property. Legislative change is necessary to create a transparent, community-driven input process to determine new public uses for available public properties.
I'm near the end of my sandwich and tea, so let me add my gently to the right opinion. One, why so critical of charter schools? Kingman Park is listed as being an example of 'currently threatened property' because it is slated to be a charter school. In the TC part of Shaw, Armstrong School languished as a city owned property and finally (it seems to have taken forever) the school has been cleaned up by the charter school in charge of it now. I do applaud Empower DC recognizing that McMillan Reservoir is green space, however it isn't accessible green space, except to Canada Geese. My last comment is on DC owned land. It is not that once land is sold that DC won't or can't get land ever again. The DC government, as many governments have the power of eminent domain, they can seize property for unpaid taxes or other wrongs against the city and add to the city's catalog of properties. Also DC owns enough nuisance properties, and we can point to a dozen city owned problems in Shaw alone owned by the city. If the city can offload these problem properties, turning them into housing (luxury, rentals, mod-income, mixed-use, whatever), with people who pay income taxes, the city and the surrounding community benefits.
Labels: development, gentrification, non-profits/advocates
Do it for the old people
I swear there are certain promises and proposals that get hoisted up the flagpole that supposedly wave you through, "affordable housing", "senior housing", youth something or other. I gather you propose these things and certain rules no longer apply to you and thus you get away with all sorts of foolishness. Yesterday I wandered by a site that, according to the historic papers I had been going through (1985-1999), should have had housing and job training. That site has none of those things in 2008. I'll have to look to find out what the heck happened or why things didn't happen.
According to our friends in Mt. Vernon Square, someone is suggesting a boatload of foolishness under the flag of elderly housing. There are requests for zoning variances for 1238 and 1242 New Jersey Avenue. According to Si's letter (seen here
) the owner is suggesting that he going to building housing for the elderly, despite making the previous elderly tenant run for her life when 1242's structure failed and collapsed
. Take a read of Si's letter, she's a bit more clearer about this than I.
Addition: If you are here from the DC Blogs link a list of candidates is found in my comment here
Labels: development, elderly, housing
Let no one call you easy
Eckington, don't go crazy and give away your right to demand things just because you want a new establishment. IMGoph over at Bloomingdale (for now) has a good post on the Baraki bar, pizza joint, whatever
that is looking for an ABC license. Which is fine, but reports so far have not had the owners approaching the ANC or any of the people with an official voice in protesting the license. The protests are not so much from being against such an establishment but rather wanting the owners to talk to the community and selling neighbors on the concept. IMGoph states it best when he writes:
humbly coming before the neighbors, looking to become a neighbor yourself, would do them well here in bloomingdale. i hope the owners are listening.
A little neighborhood buy in wouldn't hurt.
Another thing, according to the post Shiloh had spent $40K on protesting Queen of Sheeba. [bites tongue]
Labels: business, development
My next door neighbor B. has a blog. It's still new so he's feeling his way around. Jimbo
and I have been helping him grasp the concept and purpose of blogging, so when you visit be nice.
The main, and eventual purpose of Bohemian Yankee in the Capital: Salty dog author talks history, sports, queer imagery and urban development
is to promote two books that he has coming out, one on GLBT Hollywood and the other on stadium development in the District of Columbia. Of the two I'm more interested in the stadium book, Capital Sporting Grounds
as it tells of some of the wheeling and dealing of getting the RFK built, and the location of various other sporting venues in the city.
Labels: blog, development, glbt, neighbors
Houses to be demolished
I'd gotten several emails about the structures to be demolished on North Capitol and Hanover Place. I haven't followed through and posted anything, but luckily, Bloomingdale (for Now) did
. He's got pictures.
Labels: development, houses
Useful tool? Good Government?
While on vacation, I did watch the news so yes, I'm aware of certain big national stories. However, I didn't care. What did catch my eye was something the town of Winter Garden, FL was doing which made me wonder if DC is doing something similar, and if not, why not.
What the City of Winter Garden has is a website
showing commercial properties available for lease or sale. Then when you find a property, it gives you the selling price, the lease per sq ft, and the contact agent should you actually want to set up shop. The demographic information is possibly where the city mixes in it's info by showing what certain (I'm talking very specific like "Medical transcriptionists") occupations make per hour and annually, where other businesses are in relation to the location you are looking at, and how much money per household and per $000s was spent on things like "Women's Apparel" in a certain mile radius.
When I heard of that I thought, that would be great for parts of DC that need to attract businesses, like North Cap. However, that would require sharing information with the public, being pro-business, working with private entities, and pro-active. Yet considering that the District can be sloppy with information, anti-small business, and stubborn as a mule against change, I highly doubt the City would provide a tool like Winter Garden's that would inspire someone to open that small boutique or that dentist's office, or some other small business by seeing how much particular skilled labor and space will run them.
Another thing, looking at the long list of Winter Garden occupations and their average wages and salaries, got me to thinking about how that may be helpful for job seekers and people trying to become more valuable as workers. So not only would the tool help potential employers but employees as well.
Labels: business, development, government
Another BACA meeting missed
I'm so bad.
I was planing to just pop by the function at Vegetate for Roadside Developments
' O Street Marke
t. I figured I'd pop a few munchies and show up to the BACA meeting fashionably late. I wound up running into some neighbors from the street and well, time flew. I'm so sorry. Sorry that I can be so easily distracted by free wine and polenta bites.
Anyway they need community support Thursday before the Zoning people.
I swear I will make the next, BACA meeting.... well, unless a certain idiot finally asks me out that night.
Labels: BACA, development, events
I've thrown away the paper now. I was holding on to it for a proposed paper until I hit the "paper that was supposed to write itself." But the tossed paper was testimony or a chapter of an academic piece located in the Zoning Files for the National Capital and Planning Commission on the problem with PUDs. A PUD
is a Planned Unit Development, usually for something taking up a lot of space, like 1/2 a block or more. On ANC Kevin Chapple's site there is more information about the PUD
for the O Street Market.
What I remember from going through the different PUDs filed from the late 1980s to the 1990s, is that the longer these things drag out, some concessions get lost in the process and the PUDs kept reappearing as something new as changes (due to something...engineering/ community wants/ government fickleness) were applied. If the O Street Market project stays on schedule and no other stakeholders or late comers add anything, then all should be well.
Now let us dare to dream
Open thread on this building at the corner of New Jersey Ave NW and R St. So what do you think? What do you know?
Labels: business, development
Yes, it is ugly
Prince of Pentworth has a more up to date picture and others are calling for the mighty hammer of HDs to come in and save the day. I say there is another way, but the problem is more than this one property. This is a unit block of ugly, historic ugly, plain ugly, and cheap modern fugly. Let's start with the fugly shall we?
If I have identified the house right the place is 26 P St NE, owned by Payam Mobin of Hollowerind Court, Reston, VA. Mobin bought the property 11/17/05 for $363,000 and should have known better, but some people want to make things hard on themselves. Anyway, Mobin decided to throw an ugly monster pop up on the thin property. I can imagine a nicer looking pop-up but it would have been pointless because of all the other stuff to consider.
Next door is historically ugly. The two houses to the left of 26 P is 22 & 24 P, both burned out shells. Owned by DM McCoy (24 P) and the 22 P St LLC at 137 R ST SW. Nicely, both are being taxed at the vacant property rate, and their assessment seemed to have jumped up by 2X. Next to those shells is a 'parking lot', whose assessment for 2008 is about 5x what it was for 2007. Next to the parking lot are Refuge of Hope Disciple Center's (Capitol Heights, MD) vacant lots, and those lots have not been taxed. No taxes apparently have been collected for 2007 for any of RoHDC's properties on P. Zip. Nada. And they've owned those lots for over a decade. What's up with that? How is it charitable, when there is no building to dispense the charity?
Next door to fugly is 28 P a vacant house owned by Sang Lee of Oakton, VA paying over $8K in taxes for 2007. On the end of the block, where P meets Florida, there is a gas station. Not terribly bad, not terribly pretty. There seems to be 3 households living on this unit block of P. Everything else is vacant or commercial or crap, or all three.
Going back to modern fugly, I looked at DCRA's permit list but sadly, it is only for those issued in the past couple of months (OCT07-FEB08). Might actually have to walk up to the damned thing and see if the permit is valid. Heighwise, it may be a matter of right because the area is zoned to allow that high because it is a commercial area. Across the street from this is the DDOT parking lot. Conceviably, one could knock down the shells, the lots, and the monstrosity and build a decent looking 4-5 level building that complements the Peoples Drug Building that DDOT occupies. But this thing is so skinny and so badly designed that it is ugly.
So ugly I can't imagine it being a sound investment, short of a halfway house. Then if, that, I'm sure it will go well nicely with whatever the Refuge of Hope might be planning.
Seriously, this side of the block would be better off razed, the three resident households compensated for their trouble and turned into a huge community garden. 'Cause it's just that F*ed up.
Wrong about 3 households, make it 2. One household, 32 P St NE, owned by "HENRIETTA BERRIN" and taxed at the senior citizen rate of $0 for all of 2007 and $35.22 for 2005 is DEAD. Dead, dead, dead, dead. Deady-dead dead. Well according to the Social Security Death Index
. Apparently she died May 20, 2005. Well, she's now the second dead person paying taxes I know of, wait, no, she hasn't paid taxes, 'cause she didn't owe any. Ain't DC Gov generous with the departed?
Labels: development, houses, taxes
Old Landmark Gives Way to Modern Rowhouses
From the Washington Post:
Another old landmark is to disappear soon through the change of ownership of the square bounded by R, Third and Fourth streets, and Florida avenue northwest, and long known as the Glorious property. The land has been occupied as a garden, and by a greenhouse, and a residence, which will be removed to make way for a block of twenty-seven two story dwellings, to be erected by Harry Wardman, who will put them upon the market, Each dwelling will consist of two flats of five rooms and a bath, and be strictly up to date in all features. They will be of press brick.
Work on the structures will begin about October 1, They are intended to be ready for occupancy April 1. Mr. Wardman has just completed, at New Jersey avenue and R street northwest, five two story flat dwellings of the same character as those described above. All these were sold, before being finished. At Thirteenth street and Whitney avenue, Mr. Wardman is erecting five three-story modern press brick and stone front dwellings to be finished November 1. These are to be provided with hot-water heating appliances, and all other conveniences. Another ...
-Washington Post, September 21, 1902 p. 16
There you go another developer taking over green space throwing up a bunch of cookie-cutter townhouses (of the same character) on the edges of the city and out in the suburban parts of the District*. So in seven months time he's supposed to tear down a landmark, and quickly construct 27 whole townhouses in move in condition?
And Modern?! Phooey, what's wrong with the lovely and modest Federalist style that is the charming character of the city. Wardman wants to build these huge monstrosities that dwarf the humble classic styled houses. Modern, well I don't care for this modernism, not one bit. And two flats? Obviously, these are meant for greedy investors as what appears on the outside to be a single home is nothing but a mini-apartment complex or flop house.
But let us return to what we will lose in all of this, flowers, beautiful locally grown flowers. It is sad that none of the Glorious children have chosen to take up their father's passion to continue the family business, but I guess this is all what people call progress
*Near the turn of the century, a lot of what was above Florida Avenue (then Boundary Avenue) was farmland and he sub-urban part of the District.
Labels: development, neighborhood history
Detail of Armstrong
Blogger acting up. So, here's a pretty picture of a part of the Armstrong School. Have they put in windows yet?
Radio One, back to the drawing board
In the Washington Post Business section page D4, "Council Rejects Plan To Give Radio One Land." The land in question is the empty lot on top of the S Street entrance to the Shaw/Howard metro stop. Well, it's been taking a forever and a half for this project to get off the ground, in the meanwhile, why not turn it into a dog park until the details and whatnot have been ironed out?
Labels: business, development
Torn but supportive
Down in Penn Quarter
Douglas Jemal's comany is asking residents for their support to attract a Whole Foods on 7th between E and D Street NW. So if you want to sign their petition click here
I'm torn about support because Douglas Development
, also the cause of nasty commerical tax increases in Shaw.
Construction and Renovation Safety pt 1
Below is a citizen reporting an incident that appeared on the 5D Listserv Oct 2nd via the Brookland Listserv. There are some issues that I'll address in another posting, but there are practical bits of advice that seem to go against what we are told about giving people the benefit of the doubt, not relying on stereotypes, yadda, yadda, yadda. Read it, tell me what you think. Also be safe out there:
Today at 4:50pm the construction workers renovating the owned but unoccupied house opposite mine were robbed at gunpoint (15th/jackson) .
I saw the crimnals 1 minute before the actual robbery took place, as I was pulling away from the curb they were walking up the front steps. Fortunately, no one was physically harmed as all three had guns; unfortunately, I did not get a good look to give a better description: 3 young adult males approx 17-early 20s, medium black complexion, average height, lanky build, one in a gray sweatshirt and jeans, the other two dressed in black sweatshirts/ black pants.
What I learned from those robbed -- one guy came by earlier and walked in the open door as they were working. When questioned why he was there he said he was looking to buy a house. They told him that it was owned and was not selling. They regret not calling the police at this first round because the age, dress, and line and method of inquiry (walking in and looking around, no standard questions in line with home buying) of the person clearly demonstrated 'kid' more than 'potential home owner,' and thus after the fact realize this was the stakeout for the later return in the day, when his friends were available to assist.
What I learned FROM THE POLICE -- 1.) construction workers are an easy target for robberies of their property (tools, $) and your household property, because since they don't know every one of your relatives, friends and neighbors, they allow themselves to be approached by strangers visiting. [SNIPPED by InShaw] 3.) the pre-visit is a common robbery set up pattern, on a type of people commonly marked - contrators.
So my take away from this experience is this:
1. If someone shows up on your property that doesn't quite 'fit the bill,' better to be suspect and guarded, as you are only protecting yourself and your property. If the person is innocent, well the questioning by the cops ultimately does him/her a service to wake up and realize that in today's time you just don't walk up on someone's property and into an open door uninvited. They should know they were lucky to encounter you, a nice person who only called the cops to check them out -- another person may not be so nice and may try to physically protect their property...
2. If you are not in your property yet, make it a point to visit often, even if it is an inconvenience since you have so many other things to do ... Meet your neighbors now, not the week you move in. Let them know point blank that they are free to question anyone on your property. The neighboring young new couple had expensive things stolen from their house (whole central air/heating system) because they were
never ever there in a one years time of construction. ..
3. Same for your contractors -- let them know that a) you demand they work behind locked door, no matter how much of an inefficent hassle it is; b) no friendliness to strangers you have not specficially pointed out to them are on the ok to fraternize with list, not even the elderly woman in the floral apron with a plate of home-baked cookies who claims to be your mother, and c) they must call the cops immediately.
Labels: crime, development
Because my usual Wednesday activity has been discontinued and because I don't have a TV I wandered over to the ANC 2C Show. I don't think my skin is thick enough to deal with a full fledged meeting, 'cause y'all mean. Not to be too Deanna Troi
, but Captain, I sense hostility.
I say full fledged because Ms. Brooks appeared ill at the beginning of the meeting and the official meeting was adjourned sometime after the minutes (I believe, I can't hear that well) were approved. What occurred after she and Mr. Thorpe left was a community meeting facilitated by Misters Chapple and Padro.
I guess one good thing was the leader of the Organization for Training Others in Need, Carole A. Mumin, wife of Ibrahim Mumin, addressed her grievance with Mr. Chapple and his reporting of the DC Auditors report. She stated that she erred in giving the auditor the wrong receipts, which resulted in a damning report. There were apologies, speeches and testimonials about the program.
There was something about a building on New York Ave. MVSQ has concerns. I wonder how realistic is it to move a brick building that isn't stable. But I'm keeping my thoughts to myself.
Then lastly, there was Parcel 42 and the presentation was for a matter of right proposal. Matter of right, good, as for reasons I'm not entirely free to blog about, PUDs take for-ever. You can get married have kids and send those kids off to college before some PUDs get finished. Not so great, and I'm keeping my thoughts to myself, but the presenters were suggesting 100% affordable housing. Doesn't the Susan Reitig House of Prayer building that's up have affordable housing aspects? And then across 7th St there is a post-riot affordable housing building, which across 8th from that building another affordable housing structure, and across R Street from that a public housing. Then across R/Rhode Island from Parcel 42 is senior affordable housing. So short of the 7-11 that intersection would be a concentrated area of affordable housing if this plan was chosen. I'm no city planner, but isn't this almost like concentrating poverty? And despite being structured to have retail or some commercial space on the first level the building on 7th and R (Lincoln-Westmoreland? Name escapes me now), there is little for profit business that I see. So something is wrong if pre-existing space is underperforming.
I'll stick with the peace, love and happiness of 5C. I am gaining a greater appreciation for Jim Berry and his legacy of grace and being slow to anger.
Labels: ANC, development, housing, politics
Today must be quote other people's blogs day....
anyway over at ANC2C02 there is a post on how Kesley is to look in 2010 after being bulldozed and rebuilt
. 2010... that's 3 years.
I'm a little down on that prediction because, it's not that I don't want to see a change there, it's just that at the place where they pay me, I've been working with files covering development in the city and it seems that large things take forever to get built, if they do. Looking at the pictures it sort of looks like a zoning variance may be requested because of the height. Joe Mamo (Mammo? Mambo?) over on Florida and North Cap has been trying to get that for a good while now. And there is something about underground parking, which raises questions about how stable are the houses on the other side of the alley when all this earth gets moved. Oh, and then there is the whole construction mess.
On the upside, when this all does get built and the market rate units get filled, there will be people who may be able to support the kind of retail, I and my neighbors would like to see.
Labels: development, gentrification
You can't always get whacha wannnahant
...but if you try sometime
you just might find
you get what you need
Richard Layman has a pretty good post over on his blog RPiUS
, "Retail you want vs the retail the market can support"
. It is something to think about, particularly when we talk improving our commercial strip (N.Cap) options. Richard sorta makes another point in the comments about retail vs office in taxes and leasing and how beauty salons and offices have it easier (in terms of revenue) than retail.
I know what I want, I'm quite sure I won't really get it, and I'm relatively happy with what I got. I think, I hope we wander in enough to support the Big Bear so that it is worth it as a business venture. There are concerns about the Bloomingdale & TC hoods being able to support both the Bear and Windows, and as much, as much as I would love to have another coffee shop like place pop up in the near vicinity, I don't know if we could keep it. I eye the slight changes on New Jersey Ave over on the corner of R and in that little strip mall where G&G sits, and wonder what's that going to be. On the 1500 blk of NJ they've removed the signs and whatnot from the old art deco store that did not survive. I don't know if something is going to go in soon or if they are cleaning it up to make it attractive to potential businesses. A little farther down on R St, the old dry cleaners was getting cleaned out, maybe it's something, maybe nothing. Whatever goes in, I hope it is something that the area can support and something that would be an asset to the neighborhood.
Labels: business, development
North Capitol Main Streets event @ the Big Bear
The North Capitol Main Street had a Volunteer Recruitment Happy Hour, but face it, many of us was there cause we wanted into the Bear. Some were there for the free food. Anyway there was a huge crowd packed inside the Big Bear. Big enough that sometimes the easiest way to get from one end to the other was to go out the door, walk outside and make your way to the other.
The crowd was also diverse. Whites, blacks, gays, straights, people with dogs (dogs stayed outside), seniors, babies, and all in between. There were little black girls and little white girls (ages 4-6ish) running around outside, trying to lift each other, while adults warned them about spots where they needed to watch it. There was the trio of middle school aged boys who walked in from somewhere, checking out the scene, scarfing down food and displaying a deep interest in the coffee making machines. There were a couple of babies, they really didn't do anything 'cept look cute.
But the main reason for the Bear opening its doors was the North Capitol Main Street org. There were a few speakers who spoke briefly. First was Vicky Leonard Chambers the chair of the volunteer organization. She (I think, I wasn't taking notes) mentioned that unlike some other Main Street organization, North Cap gets no money from the city and it is completely a volunteer effort (thus the happy hour recruitment). They would like to get funding from the city, but even then the problem is the city hasn't budgeted a lot to the Main Streets program. Then Elizabeth Price of the NoMa BID
spoke, she is new on the job and has no phone, yet. After her a few other NCMS persons spoke and there was a raffle. I left.
Can't wait till the Bear is open for business.
Labels: business, development
Florida Market Meeting
The Office of Planning said they'd post the presentation in the next 2 days, so I'm not going to repeat a lot of what was presented. I'll try to sum up what took place.
They tried to make clear, or distance themselves, from was the New Towns project. No, this was just about the study of the area, which is a more in depth study than the general one that done before. However, because New Town's running parallel to this study, the confusion was hard to avoid.
There were presentations about the historic and economic aspects of the area. Construction of the market began in 1929 and other buildings were added later up until about the mid-20th Century. The economic presentation looked at possible land uses, but what was interesting about it was pointing out that there is not a lot of land in the District of Columbia zoned for light industrial, thus making Florida Market special.
On the topic of zoning it was pointed out that the area is not zoned for residential. Currently, no residential can go there. Also the New Towns project wants to put in a high rise, and zoning limits buildings to 40 ft in height.
In the citizen commentary and in the presentation by OP there were some valid points made. Yes, the market needs better signage. Apparently back in the Barry years there was a plan for signage but there was no money, so it didn't get done. Yes, the market is ADA unfriendly. Yes, it is run down and dirty. And yes, it is hazardous for pedestrians.
There were other points brought up that I didn't agree with that boils down to my fear of the area being sanitized and losing its affordable flavor. First off, the market shouldn't have to be all things to all people and not every development has to serve a primarily middle class mainstream audience. It serves immigrants (and other ethnic groups), ethnic businesses, small businesses, and people looking for deals. Yes, there is a demand for housing in the area, but more housing doesn't necessarily mean it will be affordable or available to the very transient student population.
I will mull over the handout I got some more and probably come up with a better post later.
Labels: ADA, business, development
Open letter to developer
You knocked over half of a building. You left one side open. This looks very attractive were I a person looking for free shelter for the cool Fall weather.
You also left doors unlocked and windows open on your other project. A bit more attractive, for say Winter. If I were a prostitute both locations would make suitable offices for work.
Please secure your property.
Labels: crime, development
Let's go out to the movies
Let's go out to the movies.
Let's go out to the movies.
Let's go out to the movies,
and have ourselves a treat!
Flipping throuh the Weekend section of the Post, I saw it. Regal Cinemas
will open their theater at Gallery Place-(fake) Chinatown Friday October 22! If you were here with me as I saw it you would have heard me squeal with delight.
A theater I can bike to! I can't bike to Union Station because a)bike theives will steal your bike (never ever leave your bike at Union Station) and b) it involves crossing 2 roads of death (NY and North Cap). I could sorta bike to E Street, but it is deeper into downtown, where I don't like to bike. Particularly on my everyday bike, the one with only one brake.
House of the week
I don't know how often I'll do this but I have mentioned this house before. I see it as a good example of adding more squarefootage without looking ghetto or butt ugly. On the corner of R and 5th you'll see a house with the extra floor.
. From the street you can sort of see the 3rd floor addition but when looking at the adjoining houses it doesn't look too out of place. Pix 1Pix 2
Labels: development, houses
My Dream of Shaw
Taking an idea from my church's reading group that we are constantly changing the world into what it aught (ms) to be, I began thinking about what I would like Shaw to be in the near future.
I want a diverse neighborhood. Diversity meaning a strange balance between rich and poor; black, white, hispanic and asian; poor, lower income, middle class, upper-middle class, and rich; old and young; gay and straight, all these in numbers where one does not stick out like a sore thumb or overwhelm and dictate the nature of Shaw.
Jesus said the poor shall always be with us. As long as there is public housing in Shaw and Section 8, we will have our poor. Yet, I have been reading that poor can
be a temporary situtation. I grew up poor, in a lower class neighborhood. Some of my friends grew up the same, working class, or homeless, but have transcended poverty and wander somewhere in the middle class zone. I hope the same for my neice and nephew who are currently on public assistance, that they too may transcend their current economic standing. In order to transend poverty or at least not have it as a permanent designation for a family, there must be opportunities in the form of education, training and jobs; things lacking in areas of concentrated poverty. In order to de-concentrate you have to bring in the other classes. Bringing in the other classes will result in the displacement of the poor but not all the poor
To balance the economic groupings of Shaw, the area needs a healthy middle class population to deconcentrate poverty. This middle class should range from contractors, plumbers, teachers, police, civil servants, IT, and retirees who invested well. They should provide the tax base to help fund social services and give to socially minded charities. But realistically, their numbers will displace some, raise prices (rent, real estate taxes), and they will make demands that old timers will find annoying.
In an 2001 Washington City Paper article an author, writing about his U Street neighborhood, mentioned that as soon as the area blacks begin moving into the middle class they move out of DC and into PG County, just over the border. He noted how the houses in his immdediate area were being bought by whites. My point, you can't force black folks to stay, especially when they aren't convinced that the crap they put up with (drug dealing, crime, trash, etc) isn't going to go away soon enough. Why wait 5 years for the area to get better if you can buy in a quieter lower crime area today? If blacks aren't moving in great numbers to replace the ones moving out, and there are whites/hispanics/asians willing to pay top dollar, then logically the racial demographics of the area will change. There are middle class black buying and staying in Shaw, but not in the numbers to maintain an overwelming majority. We come as singles, working married/gay couples, not so much as families with children. We are putting up with the crime, the trash, and all the other reasons of why those who have moved out, moved out, hoping that in a few years it will improve. I hope more black middle class households move to Shaw to make it the gleaming neighborhood it once was before the riots and to maintain the history of the area. But realistically, non-blacks are attracted to the area, and hopefully their numbers ( I'm specifically thinking of the clutch you purse ever time they see a black person population) will not overwhelm making it uncomfortable for blacks.
As far as businesses go, I dream of fewer liquor stores. A few places where I can walk to in 15-20 minutes from the house and grab a pastry, or sit down and eat, or buy a book. U Street has a lot of that with Cake Love (great cakes!!!) the kazillion Ethopian restaurants, the Islander Restaurant, and the other stores along U and 14th Streets. I would live to see some of that along 7th Street and North Capitol. I dream of places where I want
to spend my money because they have something I want.
Shaw should be diverse. It should have services and businesses for everyone. It should be low in crime and as clean as a city can be. It should feel like home.
Labels: development, quality of life