Saturday, June 28, 2008


It was a beautiful, albeit ridiculously hot day for a stroll through the neighborhood. This post is all over the place, so get ready.

Honestly, this building at the corner of Good Hope and 15th would not have been one of Keller Williams "Preferred Properties" even last year. Love that it is now. (I think that there is already a contract on it)

This is what the building was planned to become.

Good ol' Drake's, looking from Good Hope Road. Word from Drake himself is that the restaurant is still coming, and that a new cursive "Anacostia" sign should adorn the front of the building soon.

This is what the old sign looked like. I think the new one will be an exact replica. Should be pretty cool lookin'.

photo courtesy of flickr user ellievanhoutte

This is one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood. It reminds me of New Orleans.

Remember how this playground wasn't finished during the whole HGTV weekend? Well, it's up now.

Yep, this is a sign from 4 years ago. You can add littering to the list of laws Marion Barry has broken.

Remember the Carver Theater building? Turns out they built a sweet giant glass skylight on top.

photos by DG-rad

Thursday, June 26, 2008

DC Gun Ban Overturned

Well, folks, 32 years after its inception, the Supreme Court has ruled that DC's ban on handguns is unconstitutional.

I don't really have a strong opinion on the matter (yet), other than that I really do not want to see or hear about more guns. Obviously people already have them, so hopefully with this ruling there will be more regulation on existing handguns and who is legally allowed to carry.

The Anacostia news related to this is what I read in this article, which describes one man's quest to, get this, build a shooting range on V Street in Anacostia! I would love to know which property he is hoping to build at, and at first read am adamantly opposed to the idea. A shooting range is the absolute last thing that needs to be built in our neighborhood - not because it is dangerous here, but because come on people, let's at least get a sit-down restaurant before this trash.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

we come in peace

That's an especially freakish angle, but it isn't quite as scary in real life. Too bad those great big angled windows are completely filled with HVAC equipment and tubes. And too bad you can totally see that from the street.

alien spacecraft peekaboo

I'm hoping for a Wallgreens...

savoy school, etc

While I still have yet to receive any clear word on what exactly the extent of the renovations/rebuilding at Savoy Elementary is, the construction fences have gone up:

Looks like a good team. Bowie Gridley Architects has done a lot of private school design projects in the past, as well as the Thurgood Marshall Academy right next door. Sigal Construction has overseen its fair share of educational projects.

Update 6/25/08, from the DCRA's list of approved building permits:

Also adjecent to the new Savoy School is the Carver Theater project (building with big chimney, above). Right now I am extremely hesitent about this project, both because it has taken way longer than originally planned, and because now these windows look way cheap:

Maybe I will be proven wrong, but right now it isn't looking like it will be the awesome contributing building when finished that I have been hoping for. ...crossing my fingers, though.

photos by DG-rad

Monday, June 23, 2008

sort of stadium news

- See Update Below -

The CityPaper has the scoop, but here is the abstract:

- more than a dozen people were laid off last week from the Washington offices of MacFarlane Partners (developer / owner of DC United)

- [among those laid off] is Linda Mercado Greene, the former top aide to Marion Barry who became MacFarlane’s VP for public affairs and community relations in the summer of 2006

Of course, this does not necessarilly mean that DC won't get the stadium. Does make you wonder why people are losing their jobs, though, as well as what it means for a new stadium anywhere in the region. The company does not have a separate office in Maryland.


UPDATE, 7:53 P.M.: The positions being cut, 14 of them, were not in the D.C. office only, Chase says, but also included the New York and San Francisco offices. As for Greene, she says, MacFarlane “no longer has a need for the role that Linda Greene was filling in D.C.,” which included responsibility for securing support for the soccer stadium. But Chase says that Greene has been offered a position with D.C. United itself “that would allow her to continue to focus on the team’s stadium in DC and Prince George’s County.”

Also, more from the Washington Business Journal

Friday, June 20, 2008

Development at Poplar Point, please

The Washington Business Journal has a front page article this morning on how a variety of groups from the other side of the Anacostia River (not our side) are teaming up to try to "save" Poplar Point from being developed.

Pretty ridiculous, as the one thing that both Washington generally and Anacostia specifically has in complete abundance is waterfront parkland. The thing we do not have enough of is waterfront development. Also, Anacostia desperately needs to be reconnected to the water, not remain disconnected as it is now thanks to Interstate 295.

I guess we can consider this the start of a new campaign:
Yes! to Development at Poplar Point!

graphic by DG-rad

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dr. Ralph M. Stokes, Dentist

Has anyone ever been inside?

Although I am not necessarilly drawn to the building as a place to have dental work done, I like the small-town feel of it. I'm also glad they painted over the formstone.

Savoy Court Condos

- Sponsored Post -

I had a chance to tour the Savoy Court condos this week up in Congress Heights. Located at 210 Oakwood Street SE, the building is literally right on the other side of St. Elizabeth’s from Anacostia, so I consider it to be part of the big picture of what is going on over here. It is so encouraging to see projects like this, because they really speak to the true investment and quality of development that is taking place on this side of the river. Savoy Court is a stone’s throw from the Anacostia Naval Station and Bolling Air Force Base (the original building was first developed as “off-base” housing), which makes it ideal for people working there. It is also extremely accessible because it is just a few blocks up the hill from 295 (but not close enough that you can hear it), which easily zips you into Alexandria, downtown DC, etc.

One thing I usually look for in development projects is the balance between standing out and fitting in with surrounding properties. As my pictures prove, this building has great curb appeal, and achieves it without being the total design outlier of the block.

Named after the Savoy Jazz label, the building is filled with classy black and white photos as well as original works of art – definitely not something I have seen much of in conversion projects over here.

It also has some pretty unique features, as far as offerings this side of the Anacostia go: a gym in the building, one and two-car garages in the building itself, video security on the building’s exterior, and a sweet roof deck. Honestly, if you want my vote on almost any project (generalizing here), slap on a roof deck. They are amazing.

The units themselves are quite nice. There are a handful that are still being built out, so I was able to see the comparison between the old and new. Let’s just say it’s nice to see that so much work has been done to make these condos a whole lot nicer than they were before. I am not the only one that noticed, either. The development was named by the Washington Business Journal as one of the “Best Real Estate Deals of 2007” in the Rehab/Renovation/Re-use category. Finished with great cabinets, cool countertops, and a whole lot of light, the units range in size from efficiency studios to two-bedrooms, and in price from $149,000 to $249,000. If you buy early enough, you have the option of paint colors and hardwood floor stains.

For more information on purchasing, visit or contact Helene Debardeleben of McWilliams / Ballard at 202-561-3644 or

Also, you should definitely check out the building this Saturday for Jazz, BBQ (Red Hot & Blue), and tours. The music will be by DC-native Nasar Abadey, and the event is from 12-3pm. Click Here to RSVP on the building's website.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Demolition Progress

It's getting pretty ridiculous(ly exciting):

this machine has been chomping away

blue skies

the depth of the buildings

almost a strange optical illusion

Last week the workers finished re-mortaring the brick facades that will be saved:

photos by DG-rad

Monday, June 16, 2008

E.H. Norton on Anacostia

DC Congresswoman (non-voting) Eleanor Holmes Norton spoke with a few local bloggers (unfortunately I got stuck in a downpour on my bike) on Saturday, and according to Prince of Petworth and DC Metrocentric, she talked some about our neck of the woods, saying that we are definitely the next hub of development, and that the new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security at the St. Elizabeth's campus will be the Federal Government's first real investment east of the Anacostia River.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Updated Library Design

Last night's meeting was interesting -- mostly because the Freelon Group (architects) had updated renderings, with a few new design elements included. Most notably is a giant "A" in the vertical portion of the facade, as well as a new green color scheme. Not sure I dig the bright green, as it seems a little glaring for a reading environment, but I like how striking it appears. Hopefully it won't get too value engineered.

Looking up Good Hope Road:

Looking Down Good Hope Road:

What it looks like now:

Are they planning to underground the utility lines? I certainly hope so, and the renderings assume as much.

The architects have already won a 2008 Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects for the design, in the "unbuilt" category. I'm looking forward to seeing this thing come out of the ground. But, as with any uber-modern design (is it really, or does it look like it was built in the 1960s.. can't tell), I can only hope that it won't be irrelevant in five or ten years. To really last, buildings must be designed to be loved for a long time.

photos by DG-rad

Consultants Advise Against Metro HQ Move to Anacostia

From the Associated Press:
Metro consultants are advising against relocating the transit agency's downtown D.C. headquarters to Anacostia or Prince George's County, saying the move would be too expensive.

Metro consultant Eric Smart told the board of directors Thursday that selling the downtown office and constructing a new one would cost the cash-strapped agency as much as $69 million
While this is definitely a setback, I don't see it as the nail in the coffin. In any case, DC Government agencies aren't always the best revitalizers, so hopefully this means something better will eventually be developed in its place. Never loved the "will look very dated five years from now" design, either. Bitter? No, I just don't see this as bad news.

photo courtesy of the DMPED's site

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Final Library Design Meeting Tonight!

If you are interested in what the new library will look like and how it will contribute to the urban structure of our neighborhood, this is the meeting to attend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 6:00 P.M.
Anacostia Interim Library, 1800 Good Hope Road, S.E. at 18th Street, S.E.
The DC Public Library is hosting its last Community Meetings regarding the design of the Anacostia Library. Not sure if they will be asking for more input, or simply giving an update, but it should be well worth it.
Hope to see you there!

old yeller

one of my favorite houses in Anacostia:

love the porch, love the tall shutters, love the scale, love that they are restoring it with quality materials.

houses on Valley Place

Around 1855:

Yesterday, 2008:

The identical simple forms still stand, in various stages of restoration and disrepair. One of the houses was featured for being among those given historic renovation grants.

This one, at 1326 Valley Place, is for sale:

needs a lot of help / has a ton of potential
(Reminder: this is 3 miles from the US Capitol)

old photo courtesy of the DC Historical Society

salvation army update

Definitely looking better with the glass in. I like the contrast of the aqua glass with the orange bricks:

Still eager to learn what retail tenant (please let it be retail) will take the ground floor.

about "sponsored posts"

Just a quick word about the "Sponsored Posts" thing. This isn't in response to any negativity towards the sponsored posts, but just wanted to keep you all in the loop. I posted the first one last week, and will post these every so often. One of the great things about this part of the city is that there are a lot of development projects going up, and while most of the time I will just comment myself, with my own positive or negative opinion on what's coming, this format provides the chance to show off some of the developments along with actual prices and features.

I'm definitely not selling out, so don't get the impression that this is at all now a sponsored blog. It isn't, and won't be. I want this to be an honest resource for All Things Anacostia / Greater "Far Southeast", so won't accept offers that compromise the site's purpose.

And don't worry, I try to be as straightforward as I can about developments, so will not be sugar-coating projects that I think are out of place or cheaply built. Hold me to that.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Industrial Bank - Confirmed

It has been semi-confirmed for a little while now, but these new Industrial Bank window signs at Anacostia Gateway give the confirmation some extra oomph:

At least banks seem to see the sense in opening up in Anacostia. And while I wish other retail would follow suit, it will be nice to see that space filled.

I also got confirmation that a non-profit will be taking the corner retail space. Big disappointment, but again, it's better filled than empty, and the time will definitely come - soon - when we have some quality restaurants over here.
sweet new(ish) tree boxes

- - -

yep, definitely time for this to go and for the Department of Transportation building to be built.

photos by DG-rad