There are few properties in Historic Anacostia more derelict than those at the corner of MLK & Good Hope and the 4 buildings on the Big K Liquor block. Both sites reek of greedy, out of touch landlords and a complete failure to protect the fragility of the buildings on them.
And, in the past five months, both have been bought by the Department of Housing and Community Development, the DC agency now headquartered in the neighborhood.
corner of MLK Avenue and Good Hope Road
The MLK & Good Hope site is the first thing people see when entering the neighborhood from the 11th Street Bridge, and has long been home to absolutely nothing. The site once housed an awesomely art deco People's Drug store, which has since fallen into itself and is now a faded and dangerous barricade of blue plywood.
DHCD is currently working with some really great artists and the Summer Youth Employment Program to put a mural on the corner. I know the folks in charge of this at DCHD, and they are working hard to make this corner better. The mural will be in place only temporarily while the agency works to either sell the property or find a development solution for it on their own.
the Big K Liquor site, spanning MLK at intersection with Chicago
The Big K Liquor site, above, is home to the liquor store, a rowhouse, and two very sad yet very incredible estate homes. Earlier this year the block was listed as one of DCs most endangered historic places (pdf).
The news that DHCD was purchasing buildings on the block came on Wednesday as I was preparing to testify on behalf of their preservation. While it isn't clear if the sale is final, the move certainly turns the DC government into a major landowner in the neighborhood (as if they wasn't already). I look forward to seeing something positive come out of these sales.