American Observer article on MVT

Via random googling I came across an article dated April 23, 2008 about the Mount Vernon Triangle in the American Observer. The American Observer is produced by the American University School of Communication’s graduate journalism program. It is an online magazine is a student publication that focuses on news from campus, Washington, and the world.


The piece discusses a spectrum of issues with ranging from homeless services, Section 8 housing, City Vista, and local small businesses. The auther chats with a spectrum of people including MVT CID Bill McLeod, Kristine Thompson of Calvary Women’s Services, Vera Watson, a resident of Museum Square for 25 years, and the owners of G & J Deli and Tunnel Wine & Spirits.

an excerpt:

Other, newer businesses are banking that the new residents of the neighborhood will bring new jobs and fresh dollars to the area. Already, recent upstarts like Tunnel Fine Wines and Spirits on H Street are awaiting the influx of wealthy patrons.

The dark-wood paneling and cobbled floors of the liquor store distinguish it from others in the area. In the back of the store, a wine cooler holds bottles of white from around the world and a small, decorated room stands ready for a community wine-tasting later in the evening.

Owner Feleke Girma, a 23-year resident of the D.C. area, started the business two months ago. Despite already having survived a robbery, he trusts that the new demographic of the neighborhood will appreciate his openness.

“I used to have to work behind bullet-proof glass,” he said, describing his experience at his former convenience store on Georgia Avenue, which was not part of the Triangle improvement district. Thinking back to the Triangle’s neighborhood 15 and 20 years ago, Girma acknowledged the whole demographic has changed. Before, many of the buildings were boarded up, he said.

“These changes were necessary,” he said. “It has been neglected for a long time.”

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