Friday, October 31, 2008

autumn comes to anacostia gateway

it's a shame that each time I go to the roof it is overcast, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the green roof has turned into an awesome fall colors roof:

still loving this view:

these guys were filming a promotional video for Main Street Anacostia, likely showing off the neighborhood's direct proximity to other areas in and around the city:

photos by DG-rad

Thursday, October 30, 2008

eminent domain?

Councilmember Barry has introduced legislation to acquire the Anacostia Square block via eminent domain. Called "Downtown Anacostia and Pennsylvania Avenue Eminent Domain Authorization Act of 2008", the bill hopes to jumpstart development where it has been languishing for far too long.


right on. please continue.


you make an interesting point. do go on.

ok. getting back to the facts. i like it.

nothing to argue with here.

which is why we are uber-eager to get it started.

My first instinct was to say something along the lines of "yes, but I'm not sure that eminent domain is the right way to go on this".

...but then I was sitting here and I couldn't think of any good reasons that I felt that way, and kept going back to how great it would be for something to actually happen on this block. fortunately this bill moves the whole development idea out of the sugerplum dreams phase and into something a little closer to reality.

and even if the eminent domain "option" isn't how it all happens in the end, it certainly puts pressure on some of the property owners to shape up or sell off.

For more, check out these articles:
The Examiner

graphic by DG-rad

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

big welcome to DC Yoga!

Located at 1242 U Street SE (on Rosie's Row), DC Yoga is a totally exciting addition to the neighborhood. Although they haven't officially started classes yet, they will be offering all sorts of awesome yoga and pilates classes beginning in 2009. No worries, I will keep you all updated.

Interested in Yoga Teacher Training? DC Yoga is offering a comprehensive 200 hour teacher's training progam based on Bodhisattva Yoga, starting on November 1.

For more information, check out DC Yoga's website.

ahh, inspiration to get my stretch back on

before & after

new walkway, restored columns and porch, and new subtle-but-true blue on the 1300 block of V Street SE.



photos by DG-rad

New Poll!

you are all so jazzed to see a new poll, I just know it.

The question: What would you most like to see open shop in Anacostia?

Personally, I would like to see all of the above. No lie, I want a Garden District in Anacostia. I also want a Trader Joe's / Yes! Organic Market / Ellwood Thompson's / Whole Foods / Safeway. And an Elevation Burger. And a pub called The Sage and The Lion (two names for Fred Douglas .. I'll allow you to steal that idea).

But, if you had to choose one, which would it be?
poll is on the right, but please discuss in comments

Saint E's East Campus Meeting Tonight!

Five new mixed-use neighborhoods in a historic district? A new Metro station? This is big.

And this is potentially the last public meeting where the city is seeking comment on preliminary plans for the St. Elizabeths East Campus redevelopment. I'm sure there will be many more after a master developer is chosen, but it's still a great opportunity to speak up on the way we want it to look, be, feel, and grow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 from 6:30-8:30 P.M.
Saint Elizabeths Chapel, Main Sanctuary
2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE
The DC Office of Planning has published for public review and comment the Saint Elizabeths East Redevelopment Framework Draft Plan (PDF). The Plan is an update of the 2006 draft plan which provides more detailed guidance on how the District should respond to current development opportunities, transportation, historic preservation, and sustainability challenges. In addition to receiving written comments on the Draft Plan, the DC Office of Planning, in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, is hosting a Mayoral Hearing.

The public is invited to view boards with visual representation pertaining to the recommendations in the Draft Final Plan and ask staff questions relative to the graphic displays. Following this, members of the public will have an opportunity to offer comments. All oral comments will be limited to three minutes for each person.
See you there!

unedited photo by Flickr user dullshick

rainy day restorations

a bee's knees house on V Street that is undergoing a pretty extensive exterior restoration. Even in the rain:

down at 2026 MLK, these guys were busy replacing the storefront with something a little more historically appropriate. There is absolutely nothing not to love about surprise window replacements:

a sneak preview of what's to come:

photos by DG-rad

Monday, October 27, 2008

Anacostia Retail & Restaurant Recruitment Fair

Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, October 29, 11 A.M. - 2 P.M.
Anacostia Gateway Building,
1800 MLK Avenue SE
If you currently own a retail store or restaurant in the District of Columbia or beyond, this is an opportunity (or just call anytime..) to talk with you about a great place for a second location. Main Street Anacostia also seeking first-time entrepreneurs.

The fair will begin with a showcase of new development projects, followed by a roof-top reception and presentation. We will proceed with a walking tour of available properties for lease and for sale.
To RSVP, email Yavocka Young, or call 202-266-2989. Or you can just show up: the current Anacostia retail environment is such that no one is going to be turned away.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

the Anacostia sign is back

After being off the facade of 1115/1117 Good Hope Road for over a year, the cursive "Anacostia" sign is back!

The sign is a landmark in the neighborhood, and helps define the area to all those coming down Good Hope and across the 11th Street Bridge.

And while the sign isn't the first one to grace the building...

Victory Grill, 1952. Ah, the days before 295.

nor was this the first location for the sign...

Anacostia Thrifty Liquor Store, 1205 Good Hope, 1947 is a welcome addition and adds a certain character to the intersection. A lighting ceremony is planned for Friday, November 7 at 6:30 pm.

Victory Grill photo courtesy of DCHS
Anacostia Liquors photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Friday, October 24, 2008

sweet house on V Street

I respect the picket fence with flowing grasses look - not sure how it flies with dc historic preservation, but hey: it looks good, it's unique, and it isn't vinyl.

true, the bars on these windows don't look half bad, but on the whole I think the season of the window bar is coming to a close.

Extreme Makeover: 1916 MLK Edition

okay, so the first picture is from april, but it kept the overgrown flaking paint chained up appearance until last week, when all of a sudden this aqua makeover started. Lookin' good.

if it looks jarringly sea-green in the pic, it really is pretty classy in person. and with its location right across from the future Anacostia Square (see reflection in the windows) and at the heart of the gateway, this is/will be a hot ticket spot for a jazzed-up storefront.

to lease this space, contact Douglas Development's Normal Jemal at 202-638-6300

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

big chair coffee gets its permits

it's just nice seeing the word restaurant

still kind of crossing my fingers that the culture-clash front porch can be made to look nice

and a P.S. to Main Street Anacostia and the owners of BCC - Here is some signage inspiration:

sign photos courtesy of flickr users glistensound, jaremfan, Bonzo McGrue, thoughtsinbuttermilk

copper window screens

so far I've seen two of the grant recipient houses restored with copper window screens. and although I am not a huge fan of window screens on the front of houses, these definitely look unique:

turns out copper was the first material used for exterior window screens, but is a little harder to find these days ...and a little bit more expensive.

- - -
Check it out: story picked up by Apartment Therapy

Monday, October 20, 2008

the mighty warriors e x p a n d

I had literally just snapped a photo of the "storefront for sale" building pictured below when I heard someone remark through a car window "sold last week". A brief but all-smiles conversation and handshakes all-around later, I learned that Bethel Christian Fellowship's Mighty Warriors Ministry (remember the playground?) will be expanding into the storefront next door:

And although part of me wishes it were sold to a Top Chef contestant, a hip and happening gallery, or a used book shop entrepreneur, I'm glad for the space to be filled, and happy that this ministry can expand.

(one question, though: if the "exempting religious institutions from historic district/designation requirements" law is passed, does it include buildings that said institutions bought after the designation is in place?)

DC United Family Day

I got a flier in my mailbox a couple weeks ago about this, but for some reason didn't process that the DC United Family Day was going on yesterday until I started walking towards the sounds of the live band amplified through the neighborhood.

the amazing inflatable fire engine slide

There was a noticeable attendance change once the Skins game started, but overall it looked to be a total success: lots of families, lots of fun activities, lots of food.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Auction! 2004 MLK

Monday, November 10, 2008 at 10:30 A.M.
At the Property:
2004 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE
Remember the old bowling alley? Well, it's going on the auction block on November 10th. At 22,000 square feet, this is a remarkable opportunity to redevelop along what will soon be the most active development block east of the Anacostia River. Get in while the getting is good.

What it could become: a CVS, a bowling alley / bar / restaurant, a museum, a boutique design firm's office with artsy retail on the ground floor, a grocery store (Trader Joe's would be perfect, thanks), etc and so on.

For much more detailed info, Click Here

Good Luck!

Last Walking Tour of the Year Tomorrow!

Main Street Anacostia is hosting its last walking tour tomorrow, October 18, at 10 AM. These are an awesome way for people both inside and outside of the community to learn more about our great neighborhood.

From the MSA website:
The tour travels along the historic routes of Anacostia giving participants the opportunity to see and learn about various landmarks in the historically-rich neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. Tour stops include Rosie’s Row, Frederick Douglass home, Old Carver Theatre, the “Big Chair”, and a host of others.

The walking tours will be held every third Saturday at 10am through October 2008. The tour begins and ends at the Anacostia Metro Station (green line). Donations are appreciated.
Remaining 2008 Tour Date: October 18

To Make Reservations (free): call 202-889-5090

Bring a group of friends!

photo for graphic courtesy of flickr user stgermh

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

1916 MLK Upgrades

looks like Douglas Development is finally starting to work on one of their properties, located just west of the MLK / Good Hope intersection. Workers were installing new storefront windows and a new glass door today, as well as beginning to repoint the brick.

It looks like they are actively seeking a retailer or restaurant for the space:

i wish that the storefront windows were full-size...

Building Permit:
Repair and renovation to existing facade, including new windows, door, storefront and masonry repairs.

photos by DG-rad

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

a Cabbie's perspective

I recently took a cab into Anacostia, and upon entering from the 11th Street Bridge asked the driver if he came to the neighborhood much and what his perceptions of it were. He hadn't driven there in about two years, so I remarked at changes that I could point to: Anacostia Gateway, refurbished commercial buildings, cleaner streets, etc.

His response, although not a revalation, was interesting. He told me that in order for people to really recognize the changes in Anacostia, its gateways sorely needed to be addressed, especially at its most visible approach - the southwest corner of MLK and Good Hope:

He also said that although Anacostia Gateway was great, it is in the visual periphery (from this direction, at least), and therefore doesn't have the same effect on first impressions.

I'm sure that the corner will eventually change, but its "I look like a deserted failure" appearance only serves to scare people, retailers, and investment away. The AEDC's Welcome to Historic Anacostia sign would better serve the neighborhood on a symbol of its emergent success than on one of misrepresentative blight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

this time the endorsement comes from DC Metrocentric's James Hickman on
Best up-and-coming neighborhood to buy in right now:

“It’s a tossup between Anacostia and Petworth. Both areas are undergoing major demographic changes, but the sheer volume of great-looking older houses that can be had for a bargain, combined with the many new neighborhood amenities currently being built make both places attractive right now.”
check it.

graphic by DG-rad

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

in San Francisco

I'm in NorCal this week, and have been impressed by San Francisco and some elements that could be brought over to Anacostia.

this sculpture right on the bay along the Embarcadero is amazing, and huge. It would be great to have a playful landmark like this at Poplar Point.

it's the little details that really make a difference...

yep: awesome.

rails: just a regular part of the road.

reminder: the streetcar allignment was moved off of MLK because they said there wouldn't be enough room for all modes to share the roadway. i beg to differ.

1357 Good Hope Road, anyone?

good example of creative cornice preservation.

awesome multi-mode disposal bins. functional and snazzy.

nope, not a cobbler shop anymore, but the fancy furnishings store saved the sign. Industrial chic at its most urban classy.