Thursday, March 27, 2008

Meet Anacostia Gateway

Today I had the chance to tour Anacostia Gateway, the future home of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, with Mike Wallach, Vice President and COO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation. In a perfect world, it would have been blue skies and sunny, but with this building's views, it is hard to not be impressed, however gray the day.

The Green Roof:
for some reason I didn't take any pictures of the patio part, but this roof is accessible to all building users.

you can see Grandview Estates up on the hill

a little sedum

From the 3rd Floor:

tear me down and build something in my place

good ol' mysterious Drake's

the old Green Derby. AEDC did the exterior renovation, and is currently seeking approval to build stairs out the front door

Anacostia Square:

Mike telling me about the Anacostia Square project, to be developed by AEDC and Douglas Development.

According to him, they own the entire block all the way down to the railroad tracks (except Drake's). They are currently waiting on HPRB on design issues, but it is still very much in process. Once Historic Preservation signs off on the project, then it goes into the PUD stage. (I didn't know it was a PUD until now. This is a good thing, because it means that there has to be a good amenity base in the project)

at least it can really only get better than this

Before the DDOT Building arrives:

future roundabout / traffic circle

Good Hope:

new Elks lodge signage

...and new gate: secret entrance to the Daily Planet?

From the 2nd Floor:

Honfleur Gallery! (the blue one)

FYI, they are having a show opening this Saturday called Into the Light at 7pm. Free.

I seriously hope this won't be someone's corner office

The Retail:

they are still looking for a restaurant in this corner

Industrial Bank is [purportedly] headed for this spot (dang, I was really hoping for a Wachovia..)

Lobby and Exterior:

they are still deciding which work of art to display in that back frame

Conclusion: the Gateway building is very impressive, with fantastic views of Anacostia and beyond. I am confident that once those employees move in, it will definitely inspire future neighborhood investment and growth, as well as more retail in the surrounding area.


Nik said...

Thank you so much for doing this!!! I am getting so excited. :) As I was driving home today I crossed over the corner of MLK and Malcom X I was just imagining the time when this portion of the city will be on the other side of progress (and maybe a Caribou Coffee and some decent takeout). :)

fartynonsense said...

Knowing literally nothing of this building before reading this post, I was very excited by the initial green roof pictures. I'm sorely disappointed by the overall exterior architecture, though. The building looks like it wouldn't be out of place on King Street near the Metro in Old Town. I guess you have to crawl before you can walk? Here's hoping future projects have a little more character.

DG-rad said...

I am totally with you on that opinion. This building makes very little attempt to be anything but a large box in a neighborhood of otherwise eclectic architecture.

Lynne said...

This is about the poll in the upper right -- how come there is no "work here" option? Leaves a lot of people out of the poll, including me. Seems a bit odd to assume no one works in Anacostia unless they live there...

DG-rad said...

Hi Lynne,

Thanks for the feedback. You are totally right, and although I can't change the existing poll, I will make a new one soon that will have that option. Keep checking back!

bruce.godfrey said...

Great blog, great detail in photos and great across the board!

I would be grateful for blunt opinions about the viability of Greater Southeast as a place to live. My kids will be living with their mother in Baltimore County and they will be with me on weekends.

Today I took a driving tour of Anacostia down MLK Avenue, Alabama Avenue and then up Branch Avenue from Maryland. While it wasn't paradise by any stretch, it seemed very green orderly and livable, particularly near the new Giant with condos being sold for 100K more than what I am selling my townhouse for. Your thoughts on practicalities? Would be grateful for opinions from any and all who are knowledgeable.

Chopin Girl said...

Thanks so much for putting the pics up! You can see my grandfolks house (where I was raised) from one of the photos.
Also, about the Wachovia comment, I think it's very fitting that the Industrial Bank would be there--- it's largest minority-owned bank in the DC area and has had a great deal in starting up a lot of businesses that we know today in DC. I think it's a great "stamp of approval" with the changes going on in Anacostia. :)
Again, thanks sooo much for posting your photos! :)

Jason Cherkis said...

I sure hope they put a restaurant in that space. At least one! They should replicate something like Navy Yard or U Street.

Briony Evans said...

Hi David-
I see that they are "still deciding" on artwork for the Gateway building lobby. Perhaps Honfleur can be of some assistance? Do you know who tasked with the art hanging in the building?


DG-rad said...

Briony- my suggestion is to just walked across the street to the offices of AEDC (entrance on MLK side) and express your interest.

Anonymous said...

Anacostia is a good place to live. While there are many good areas, some areas should be avoided (like most quads in DC). I've been here for almost 4 years. I don't particularly see it as a place to hang out yet (outside of Anacostia Park and Museums), but hopefully that will change. For now, I usually head to Capitol Hill for amenities. I see Anacostia as mostly residential. Also, be sure to check it out in the summertime. You'll certainly get a different feel for the community in some areas. I live near Talbert St. & MLK. and that lintersection is usually packed with folks "hanging out".

Anonymous said...

I'd love to get a profile of the people on this blog that live in Anacostia. Demographics would definitely be of interesting. Social as well as income demographics.

Golden Silence said...

"Today I took a driving tour of Anacostia down MLK Avenue, Alabama Avenue and then up Branch Avenue from Maryland."

I thought Branch and Alabama Avenues were in Hillcrest, not Anacostia. I guess those neighborhood borders really become fuzzy at points!

DG-rad said...

reading the link, part of that driving tour was in anacostia, but definitely not all.

Bruce Godfrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Godfrey said...

Is the term "Greater Anacostia" a taboo around these parts? I ask because much of DC considers "Anacostia" to be approximately all of the land in Southeast (and Southwest" East of the River. Yes, I know even as a novice (note the word "tour") that the official designation of "Anacostia" is for a relatively small fraction of that land. But it appears that this distinction is meaningful.

Cartographic fine points aside, can anyone provide an admitted novice some insights on how best to enjoy either Anacostia or any non-Anacostia neighborhood located in DC east of the Anacostia River? Everyone I have talked to says "stay the heck out" but maybe they are taking the narrow view.

BTW I just signed a lease with Clark Realty at Fort Totten Station, they were running specials there and the development looked great for my specific purposes.

DG-rad said...

Check out today's post on walking tours, which are a great way to learn about and see the neighborhood!

Also, despite the fact that many people consider all of the areas SE/NE of the Anacostia River to be "Anacostia", it is not. What that does is dilute the special characteristics of the actual neighborhood of Anacostia, which is much older and closer to other parts of DC. The neighborhood of Anacostia gets a bad rap largely because it is lumped in with other neighborhoods further out towards Maryland.