Lots of activity around the Chester A. Arthur Builing (CAAB) since the Immigrations and Customs Enforcements Agency (ICE) moved to SW DC. Cranes have been removing items from the roof, Eye Street has been torn up, and today the planter barriers are being relocated.
Forklift operator moving barrier
Barriers realigned along K Street following the perimeter of parking lot
I’m very glad to see the barriers relocated as I detested them. The barriers along Eye Street were in the street taking up roadway. The barriers also obstructed the view of 4th Street southbound traffic for vehicles stopped at Eye Street’s eastbound stop sign. Additionally relocating the barriers along 4th Street will get us one step closer to DDOT’s plan to convert this road to two-way use in 2009.
Our reader Cozmot reports that an eviction notice has been posted at the Lee Loo Lounge (6th & G Streets NW).
Click image to enlarge
I had not yet been to Lee Loo. However the few times the restaurant came up in conversation with locals the same basic sentiment came across “nice owners, we try to support them, but it doesn’t seem like they know how to run a restaurant.” I certainly don’t want to kick anybody while they are down – but what should Lee Loo have been doing differently?
The winter edition of Washington Business Journal’s OnSite magazine has about the revitalization of the 900 block of F Street called F Street’s Past is Prologue. In it the author doles out grades on architectural merit of Akridge’s Carroll Square versus Douglas Development’s projects across the street (Atlantic Building, The Ventana).
Photo of National Union Building from flickr user army.arch
The print edition has far more photos including one of the old style iron-caged elevator cab inside the National Union Building.
The recently passed Single Serve Moratorium legislation, which prohibits the sale of single containers of beer, malt liquor or ale (of 70 ounces or less) and spirits (liquor) sold in half-pint or smaller volumes is set to be enacted in the coming months.
Photo from flickr user jciv
Local businesses are beginning to apply for exemptions to the ban. A thread on the Lifein MVSNA blog has an active discussion. The announcement of the final approval of the Ward 6 ban on Councilmember Tommy Wells’ blog is also worth a read.
This afternoon I made a trip east to Taylor Gourmet Deli at 1116 H Street NE. Taylor is a Philadelphia themed deli and italian store that opened earlier this month.
I knew I was in for a long wait the moment I walked through the front door. Over twenty people were lined up along the wall and counters near the open kitchen. The space was deep and narrow with exposed brick, wood that looked like it was salvaged from a ship wreck and stainless steel abound. The owners replaced the aluminum garage door the property previously had with a glass garage door that allowed for considerable natural light.
The sandwich selection includes two dozen variations of hoagies of chicken cutlet sandwiches all named after streets and landmarks in Philly. The menu also offers a sausage sandwich, arugla salads, risotto balls, ravioli and mozzarella sticks. Taylor uses the freshest ingredients with cured meats and cheeses from Italy and hoagie rolls delivered daily from Sarcone’s bakery. Among the snacks offered are Herr’s chips and tastykakes.
After brief deliberation I decided on the “Art Museum” chicken cutlet sandwich and the toasted “Ridge Ave Raviolis”. I slowly slurped down several refills of my delicious Boylan’s diet rootbeer while I waited, waited and waited.
By this time I positioned myself at a vantage point along the counter where I could see what order tickets were actively being worked on. Over an hour elapsed before my order was fulfilled. My patience was not rewarded. Despite twice uttering aloud “Art Museum” co-owner David Mazza apparently made my sandwich with prosciutto rather than roasted red peppers which is the “Penn Square”. I had to pick off the prosciutto and redress my cutlet with fixings from my fridge.
Today’s experience was not good but I see the potential and I will be back. Considering the marinara with my ravioli was fantastic I may try the “Benjamin Franklin” next time. The sausage sandwich also looked enticing. I just don’t think my next visit is going to be very soon as the crowds are leading to heavy waits.
For other perspectives check out the preview from Brightest Young Things and reviews on WaPo, Yelp,
UPDATE (11/21/2008 3:30pm) – MVT Bill says copies of the volunteer commitment letters have been left at the lobby desks of the Madrigal and Sonata buildings. 12 signatures are needed by Tuesday the 25th.
I’ve got an update from DPR and the MVT CID on the proposed improvements
for the park at 2nd, Mass and H Streets.
Jul 2008 Rendering from Dept or Park & Recs (DPR)
The MVT CID will be submitting a proposal to Casey Trees this month to donate and plant both large and small trees in the park, as well as some native groundcovers underneath the trees. If the proposal is approved by Casey Trees, planting will happen in the spring. ***** The CID needs two community members to pledge a commitment for each of the six trees, contact MVTBill@downtowndc.org to help. ***** The commitment is minimal as the CID will be adding the watering responsibilities to the Clean Team if funding for irrigation cannot be secured.
DPR’s proposed plan also involved salvaging materials from the Art Walk at the Old Convention Center site. These materials include benches, bike racks, trash cans and lights. The timeline for securing these materials depends on Hines Archstone staying on track for their redevelopment of the Old Convention Center site.
Lastly, DDOT is still set to provide grant money for moving the hardscape pieces from ArtWalk park, as well as fixing up the concrete, coping and the central circular wall. DPR is still looking for funding to pay for light installation and possibly irrigation for the site.
I came across this WaPo article, 23 Used-Car Dealerships Closed in Citywide Crackdown, while reading the Frozen Tropics blog. I’m wondering if Jimmy’s Autos, across from Yale Lofts, will be one of the 23 dealers named. Do people actually buy cars there?
Paul Millstein of Douglas Development shared a concept his company has for Square 450 and 451 at this month’s MVSNA meeting. The Triangle had speculated about these squares in the past and it was good to hear plans straight from the developer.
RED=Square 450; BLUE=Square 451; ORANGE=Convention Center Hotel; GREEN=Old Convention Center
Douglas Development has spent 15-20 years in assemblage on these blocks. They presently feel they own or have under contract all the properties they are likely to be able to acquire. Because of this they are now ready to design their concept around those holdout properties.
Below are my long list of notes. Please remember all this is preliminary:
- Plan is for high energy mix of retail and office
- Seeking CLD to build mandated residential elsewhere in city
- Shalom Baranes will be the architectural firm
- All but 1 property on the 1000 block of 7th Street NW are owned or under contract
- Plans are solely to restore these 7th Street NW properties rather than build over them (similar to DD’s past project on the 700 block)
- On NY Avenue the plan is to move the DC Eagle building next to the Avenue/Lux building
- Will not acquire Marrakesh or corner of 6th and L
- Two office buildings with ground floor retail will occupy the remainder of the square 450
- Square 450 office buildings will be roughly same height as the convention center and have windows on all four sides
- Square 450 loading docks and other curb cuts will be on L Street
- Douglas will relocate historic properties south on Square 451 to a cluster on K Street
- Square 451 will have massive office building with ground floor retail
- Plan to rebuild The Waffle Shop on K Street
- Plan to embrace K Street’s wide sidewalks with retail and restaurant uses
- Will not acquire the rowhouse at 628 New York Ave NW or the small parking lot on the SW corner of 6th and NY Ave
- In discussion with an entertainment anchor that will have an entrance on 7th and NY Ave and below grade venue. Would not name the anchor but said “It will blow your mind.” Could it be HOB?
Douglas will spend the next year in the entitlements process including presenting this concept to HPRB in December. Another year after that would be spent filing more documents. Ground breaking would still be 2+ years out. You can then of course add another 2+ years for construction. They plan to continue dialect with the MVSNA and present at another meeting in the near future.
UPDATE (11/19/2008 2:00 pm): Cary Silverman’s blog has also posted on the presentation. Cary questions the lack of residential with mixed feelings.
The Second Annual Downtown Neighborhood Survey is being conducted now through December 26th. The survey collects demographic and purchasing behavior habits of people who live and/or work downtown. Your privacy remains protected as providing your name is not required.
This survey is invaluable to the Downtown Neighborhood to attract retailers to our area. Most national and regional retailers rely heavily on marketing data that is modeled off of Census data. At this point Census data is over 8 years old and very stale. This is especially true for the District’s downtown which has undergone a transformation this decade. Anecdotally retailers know our area has transformed and is thriving but they aren’t always comfortable making that plunge without data to support the decision. This survey can bridge that gap.
The URL for the survey is www.downtowndc.org/programs/economic_development/neighborhood-survey-08
For the purposes of the survey, downtown is defined by the following map:
The report from last year’s survey can be found on the reports page of the DCDNA website.
Images from downtowndc.org