Thursday, January 31, 2008

in black and white . . .

. . . and in need of redemption .

images by DG-rad

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

$10 Million for MLK Ave Corridors

This has been the week of neighborhood development funding announcements. Mayor Fenty announced today the distribution breakdown for $95 Million made available for struggling retail corridors throughout DC.

Developers can apply for money to accentuate retail projects of at least 10,000 square feet, but must "demonstrate true financial gaps" in their effort to attract retail, according to a statement from Fenty. -Washington Business Journal
Overall, this is great news for Historic Anacostia. However, our allotment must be shared between:

Historic Anacostia:

and Congress Heights:

It is interesting that the Martin Luther King Ave / South Capitol Street SE corridor in Ward 8 -arguably the DC corridor most in need of revitalization- was only doled out $10 Million, while the other corridors in NE and NW are getting $25 Million each. We may be across a river and in a less-known part of the city, but we still deserve the same chance for economic development as other, more visible neighborhoods.

In any case, it will be exciting to see how this infusion is put to use.

**editor's note: commenter IMGoph makes a good point in saying that attracting retail to corridors in NE and NW costs a lot more than in SE. Which would at least partly explain the major disparity in funding...

maps courtesy of Neighborhood Grant Application

Neighborhood in the New York Times

There is an excellent article in the New York Times today -our press is getting more and more widespread- titled "A Comeback Story Decades in the Making". It's just too bad that they chose pictures of places not in actual Anacostia (but still in greater Ward 8), making it look like we are some Anywhere, USA suburb.

I like that there is a Giant in Ward 8, I don't like that it looks like this:

courtesy of the New York Times

Instead, this is the pattern new development should follow, and hopefully even more dense:

Summer on MLK
Photo by DG-rad

Here is a clipping:
...ambitious projects are expected to inject new life into the old Anacostia historic district, whose Martin Luther King Avenue resembles an early-20th-century Main Street. A new 600,000-square-foot $77 million headquarters is to be built there for the city’s Department of Transportation, housing 800 workers.

The developer Doug Jemal, an investor in downtrodden areas that ultimately revive, is poised to take advantage of the changes. Mr. Jemal owns three small commercial buildings in old Anacostia that are currently empty and is eager to assemble more parcels to create a commercial, retail and residential development. “It’s going to take time, but it’s certainly going to turn around,” he said.
Definitely take time to read the article. It may not be new information for all, but it is nice to begin to join the ranks of other more NYTimes'ed about neighborhoods (cough cough H Street NE).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Attention 1100 Block of Good Hope Property Owners!

(*note: the 1100 block of Good Hope Road is where Drake's is going to be, and where the "before and after" photo was from my recent post)

From the District's website:
The District’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on Monday announced it will make available $500,000 in grants for improvements along Great Streets corridors.

The funds are available for grants to property owners for facade and other improvements along H Street, NE, the 1100 block of Good Hope Road, SE, the 3600 block of Georgia Avenue, NW, and the 3100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

The improvements are expected to help make neighborhood shopping districts more appealing for existing and new customers. The District anticipates providing reimbursable grants up to $20,000 each until this pool of funds are exhausted. Property owners will be reimbursed by the District upon regular submission of invoices, receipts and cancelled checks.

Applicants must submit a completed application to the District no later than Friday, February 29, 2008, no later than 3 pm. Applications are available for pick up at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 317, Washington, DC 20004.
All inquiries should be directed in writing only to or fax number (202) 727-6703.

Great Streets Grant Application (PDF)

Readers: if you know a property owner along one of the above corridors (especially on Good Hope), please pass this information along to them!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Examiner has a good piece on Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry. Here is the hook:
A responsible, morally upright politician might level with his constituents and tell them their children would be better served by a modernized school with a full array of classes and extracurricular activities, rather than a half-empty school with a leaky roof and no music or art classes.

Not our Marion Barry.
The article was written by Harry Jaffe, author of Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, D.C. (Simon & Schuster, 1994).

For the full text, Click Here

Sunday, January 27, 2008



...except now the building next to it is boarded up.
(hopefully in preparation for a major overhall?)

Friday, January 25, 2008

The good word from a representative from Lewis Real Estate Services, the company leasing the space at Anacostia Gateway, is that they are currently in negotiations with a financial institution and a local coffee shop for the ground floor retail. There is an additional 10,400 square feet remaining, of which 6,200 square feet is available for a restaurant.

Really, a local coffee shop? That would be a-mazing.

And a reminder of what it will (at least sort of) look like once the government center is built:

images courtesy of Lewis Real Estate Services

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Poplar Point Proposal Summaries

I was browsing the Poplar Point website and came across these very helpful summaries of each development team's proposal.

Click Images to Enlarge

Archstone / Madison:

Clark Realty Capital:

Forest City:

We should hear an announcement on this in the next week or so. Exciting and important times, these.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

weekend pictures

I'm not sure how long this sign has been in the window, but I noticed for the first time that they are specifically advertising for a restaurant at Anacostia Gateway.

Good thing this house is being restored/significantly replaced during the W Street condo and townhouse project!

Salvation Army building update: bricks are going up, and they look really nice. I'm eager for the scaffolding to come down so we can get a real view of the positive impact on MLK. Right now it still has the look of a hulking mass of cement.

It is really too bad that these potentially beautiful houses (just a few doors down from Salvation Army) look like this. I have reported them a few times to the abandoned property people - hopefully their owners are at least getting ridiculously taxed until they fix them!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pedestrian Bridge, Please

DC Council Chair Vincent Gray is quoted in a WTOP article about Nationals Stadium parking:

"Poplar Point really is very close to the site of the new baseball stadium, " says Gray.

With 20 to 25 dates reserved for soccer, Gray says baseball fans would have access to the soccer stadium lots.

"You could park over at Poplar Point, come across a pedestrian bridge, or otherwise be transported the short distance to the baseball stadium," says Gray.
Please build a pedestrian bridge over the Anacostia River! ..and bring DC up to par with:

...and many more.

Flickr photo credits: SubEclipse, ColinS., mineme73, Andrew.O, shaporama

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Anacostia Walking Tour

Source: East of the River's community calendar

Sneak Preview - see sights like this, the oldest surviving house in Anacostia.

photo courtesy of flickr user stgermh

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tomorrow evening there will be a lecture by Dr. Robert D. Bullard about environmental justice and livable communities. It is part of the museum's 23rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Program.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 7:00pm
Anacostia Community Museum (click for map)
For a flier in PDF, Click Here

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Note on Poll Accuracy

I have no way of knowing who is voting in the Poplar Point poll, at right, so just wanted to put out the warning of the possibility that it is members of the development groups themselves who make up some portion of voters in each category.

(This may explain why the Archstone "I think Poplar Point is a suburban lifestyle center" team has suddenly made significant gains only today after the poll was mentioned in the news.)

Anacostia (Now) in the News

An article in this morning's Washington Post Metro section discusses the Poplar Point proposals from a Ward 8 perspective, and mentions that a decision on the master developer could be made as early as next week. Way to go Historic Anacostia Block Association for all the comments and publicity!

Click Here for article.

And another hit from the Washington Post's "WashBiz Blog".

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mid-City Urban out of the Running

The field of contestants for the redevelopment of Poplar Point has now been narrowed to 3 teams. Good thing, as Mid-City / General Growth's proposal was pretty weak - thank you DC for not picking America's Mall Developer. Fingers crossed for an awesome Point.

Here is the Wash Biz story
(the story does not mention the fact that this team had the least votes on my blogger poll, at right, showing them by far the least popular)

Monday, January 7, 2008

We won the HGTV contest!