This Thursday the former city museum will host a presentation by the 4 short listed developers of the District-owned parcel at 5th and Eye streets, NW. It is crucial that as many neighborhood residents attend as possible so we can make our presence known and have our say in what we want our neighborhood to look like in the future.
And for those of you who are tired of hearing me talk about neighborhood happenings when you’ve never seen me at any of them brace yourselves, I’m back in the district, ready to make my debut. Say hi to the short, dark-haired man… it’s me, I’ll be there ready to get in on the action.
In preparation for the meeting here are the four shortlisted developers, check them out:
The meeting will take place this Thursday, May 1st from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at The Carnegie Library at 801 K Street. This is the site of the former City Museum, smack in the middle of Mount Vernon Square.
See you there!
I took a few snapshots from the unfinished rooftop at the Madrigal Lofts today. I’ve included two below, and you can see a few more [here].
Towards the Capitol:
Over the Chester A. Arthur towards Museum Square Apartments, City Vista and the Convention Center:
I would guess the overwhelming majority of Mount Vernon Triangle residents have some level of anticipation about the new Safeway opening up at City Vista. Well, yesterday Adams Morgan finally had their grocer aspirations answered with the opening of a new Harris Teeter.
DCist and The Washington City Paper reported on the opening. This new grocery location already has reviews on Yelp. The 42 bus doesn’t think the new store matches the hype and suggests Harris Teeter is (just) a grocer. DCMud reports that this Harris Teeter was originally scheduled to open in Fall 2006. Let’s hope the City Vista Safeway doesn’t succumb to this fate.
Any predictions about the new Safeway? My thought is it’s just going to be an above average but unspectacular grocer and that’s plenty good enough. That’s far better than the typical D.C. Safeway or Giant. It’s not going to be a Wegman’s that people would drive dozens of miles for. Quite frankly I wouldn’t even want it be like a Whole Foods as I can never get half the stuff I need there.
image from Prince of Petworth
Wheels have been set in motion here in the Madrigal Lofts. Exciting wheels, that shall carry us into the future. But, dear friends, we know not toward which future these wheels may be propelled–and the steady hand of experience is needed to turn our pinion.
Enough of the high-falutin language. The residents of the Madrigal Lofts have just started a mailing list for the building. This is our first step towards becoming a community. And this raises the question: what next? What do we communities do? Much of this is defined by the condo’s documents: when and how a board will form, what it will do, and how. But that’s not what I’m interested in here. Rather, I’m interested in the organic part: what we do to as a community, not what we do to run the building.
For instance, I’ve seen some condos organize “time pools,” where participants promise a few hours of their time to help others in the building. When you need help moving furniture, or watering your plants while you’re out of town, you can ask someone who’s promised their time to help, and “repay” them by promising that much of your time back into the exchange. It seems complicated, but where it’s worked I’ve heard that people really like it. There are of course other, simpler ideas: social events, either recurring, for special events, or a one-time get together to meet everyone; efforts to welcome new residents; sharing information about events outside of the building; or organizing a building newsletter.
Some of these seem like good ideas, some like bad. And I’m certain that there are many other things that we could do. So I ask, what have other buildings done, what’s worked well, and what is to be avoided?
David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington recently linked to a NY Times article about Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) Car insurance. The article has a freakonomics-esque slant to it discusses the negative externalities of driving that the public bears the brunt of when the individual decides to drive more. This is a lead in to discuss the merits of PAYD insurance to society as a means of transferring costs to those whose habits warrant them.
The exercise will no longer be academic theory as a new PAYD product from Progressive is slated to be rolled out soon. Currently insurance providers offer small discounts based on self reported estimates of annual mileage. However actual mileage from your car will be transmitted directly to Progressive under their ‘MyRate’ product. Mileage then becomes fact rather than a self-reported estimate thereby enabling Progressive to trust the information and provide deeper discounts.
Pretty cool idea. I’m not bold enough to entirely give up my car but I plan to drive much less living downtown with much of what I need a short walk from my front door. Yet Geico wanted to more than double my insurance when I told their quote engine I was moving from Zipcode 22201 to 20001. Yikes. I eventually shopped around and found a reputable carrier that would ‘only’ raise my premium by 35%.
Is anyone else intrigued by PAYD as much as I am? Throughout my whole process of picking a new provider it became apparent to me that my costs were skyrocketing because I was subsidizing the people who drive a lot and/or park on the street. My car is substantially more secure in my garage rather than the streets but no provider was willing to acknowledge that fact in the form of a discount.
Cary Silverman wrote the following on the MVSNA blog about the Mount Vernon Triangle Parks cleanup that is happening this Saturday, April 26th from 9AM-Noon.
“Residents are invited to help clean-up the parks in Mount Vernon Triangle on Saturday, April 26 from 9:00am-12:00 noon. Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District is sponsoring the clean-up beginning at the pocket parks at 5th and Massachusetts Avenue NW and working east to the large DC park at 2nd and Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Residents are asked to wear work clothes, bring their work gloves and strong backs to help rake the grass, pick up trash, shovel muck, and prune low-hanging branches. Rakes, brooms, pruners, and trash bags will be provided.”
I’d love to make it out to this. Unfortunately I have to spend Saturday at the DC DMV.
I attended my first Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA) meeting tonight. The agenda was had a wide range of items ranging from after hours club Sanctuary 84, Shotspotter implementation, DDOT and police issues regarding wrong way traffic and speeding on streets surrounding New York Ave, as well as a Q&A with Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Jeff Parke took meeting notes that you can browse [here]. ANC2C02 leader Kevin Chappel has video of the crime discussion [here].
Really, so much to talk about. I have a feeling many of the large issues will be addressed by the prominent posters on the MVSNA blog over the next couple days. So I’m going to focus on a few police & DDOT items from the Triangle and Mayor Fenty’s discussion of the homeless shelters.
400 MASS CVS
Concerns about increased prostitute and gang presence around the the 24 Hour CVS at 400 Mass. Apparently a nearby 24-hour CVS at 1st & K closed down. That closing has displaced some of the late night loitering to this 400 Mass Ave location. The police are aware of the issue and will monitor it closely. From the back of the room I didn’t hear what the full plan of action might be. But I did want to bring this up on our blog so our readers would be aware of the issue. Those 2 AM trips to the pharmacy may require greater caution in the short term.
DDOT comments on Mount Vernon Triangle
There was a big DDOT Q&A with Karina Ricks. Much of it focused on the intersections of New York Ave and the residual traffic issues. She did field one question that specifically asked about future improvements to the streets in the Triangle. She stated DDOT would be doing work on L Street along City Vista later this year and that improvements for 4th and 5th streets were slated for 2009.
Mayor Fenty on the Homeless Shelters
During the Q&A with Major Fenty inquiries about both the widely discussed move of the Central Union Mission to the Gales School at 65 Mass Ave as well as the rumor mill about additional shelter sites within the same immediate vicinity. Fenty confirmed that the Gales School had been used as a shelter in the past and was always earmarked to resume that use after renovations to the building were completed.
Members of The Sonata condo association also brought forth scuttlebutt about the park above the I-395 tunnel at 2nd and H Streets NW becoming a site for a construction of a new homeless shelter. It was suggested this information arose from Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells and a Washingtonpost article. Concerns raised included losing scarce green space and impact to the community that increased concentration of homeless services in a radius of a few blocks would yield (such as noise, litter, safety issues). Mayor Fenty went on to explain that the city wanted to reduce the number of homeless shelters rather than build more. The goal is to take a Housing First initiative that will put more of the chronically homeless in transitional housing units spread across the entire city. He admitted his administration may not have done a good job communicating this given how many concerns have been escalated by those who interpret the plan as filling apartment buildings with concentrations of homeless. To ensure that all concerns were addressed fully Fenty offered that the deputy mayor could provide answers regarding the specific park and lots that attendees inquired about for next month’s MVSNA meeting.
image from Si Kailian
Sorry all for my non-blogging these past several weeks. The explanatory piece of advice: when you have consulting or small business income, use a tax preparer who knows the ins and outs of self employment tax…
Anyhow… there have been a few big construction-related events across the street, and on the street, from the Madrigal Lofts over the past few weeks that are worth noting.
First, on the streets, the streets all around the Madrigal Lofts were repaved over the past week or so (everything except Mass Ave). This is a welcome change, since they had been pretty torn up by construction. Presumably, too, it’s an indication that there won’t be any more heavy construction for the Dumont’s east side, because that would just tear up one of these streets again.
Speaking of the Dumont, all of the external scaffolding on the east side of the building was taken down just before the repaving (perhaps non-coincidentally). Other than the work elevator, all of the scaffolding is down on the north side, and there is only one small platform on the south (Mass Ave) side. To explain, this is the crane-like scaffolding that I’m talking about, where a few posts are anchored to the building from the ground to the room, and there is a platform that “climbs” these posts (a bit can be seen in the picture in the fourthandeye’s post below this one).
A few weeks ago, shortly after installing the underground electrics vaults that I spoke about previously, they took to moving large quantities of drywall (or equivalent) in through the work elevator–so they’re pretty well done with the outside I’d say and are working on earnest on the inside. To whit: I looked out of my window this morning and though that I saw aliens or space men walking around inside the Dumont–people walking around in white plastic suits with breathing gear on.
Unfortunately, my camera is out of commission for the time, so no pictures.
The blog For the Love of Growth (DC That is) wrote an interesting post about the rowhouse at 433 Mass Ave that The Dumont and Penzance Building had to build around. Apparently the owner of the property turned down 2 to 3 million dollars for a property assessed at just shy of $200K. One source suggested he wanted $17 million. He has reportedly taken out a 650K loan to open a Ledo Pizza. He’ll have to sell alot of pizza pies to earn 2 million. =)
The WashingtonPost has more on owner Austin Spriggs and his decision (part1 | part2).
WalkingTown, DC Spring Edition 2008 is the weekend of April 26-27.
Among the numerous tours scheduled is one related to the Triangle.
Mount Vernon Triangle Development Tour
Saturday, April 26th, 1 – 2:30 pm
Sunday, April 27th, 1 – 2:30 pm
Meet and end at Mount Vernon Square (Eighth and K Streets, NW, south entrance of Carnegie Library)
Mount Vernon Triangle is one of the city’s newest historic districts, a developing mix of 19th-century residential and commercial buildings and high-rise apartment buildings. Explore the remnants of the old neighborhood as they are incorporated into new developments and visit the site of the Northern Liberties Riot, Convention Hall, and a new condo and office building recently completed on the east end of downtown.
Led by Bill McLeod and presented by Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District. Special thanks to Four Fifty Five Massachusetts Avenue and ASB Real Estate Investments.
As an aside, I recommend the helpful visual schedule that David Alpert of GreaterGreaterWashington.org compiled of the tours for this big weekend event. Clicking the image below will take you to his posting on this.