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MVT Development Map

Earlier this month the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (MVTCID) published an updated development map (press release). I’ve included the map graphic below, but to review for all the accompanying descriptive information for the numbered areas you should visit the PDF hosted on the MVTCID’s website.

Excerpt from MVT CID Development Map

Interesting changes from past unveiled plans:

  • Two new potential I-395 Air Rights sites (#26, #36). One site is that current large parking structure behind Mount Carmel Plaza.
  • MRP Realty site at 6th & K (#4) now listed as apartments (formerly office)
  • Quadrangle/Wilkes now plans to place some apartments on K Street (#16)
  • L Street no longer shown as connecting across highway in future. Although this may not have been an intentional omission.

Updated (12/1/2011 1:30PM) DCMud took the development map and ran with it further. They’ve aggregated all the most recent news on the major projects into one posting. Very convenient and Kudos to them. I just don’t have the hours to devote to such long summaries as this is just a side hobby and not a day job for me.

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Louis Rogue closed for renovations

The Louis Rogue Club (476 K Street NW) has closed for renovations. Owners George and Tony Sigalas hope to reopen in March as a more upscale strip club. The strip club resides on the second floor and the Sigalas brothers are seeking a tenant, possibly a restaurant, to lease the ground floor space.

Rogue Strip Club

Image of Louis Rogue from Mr T in DC

This planned new investment would seem to signify the Rogue is here for the long haul and the one-time plans to sell have all but dissolved.

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Changes at Safeway

The Safeway at City Vista (490 L Street NW) has made several changes over the last few months. Early in the year we noticed all the tables and chairs removed from the cafe space as the area was generally only being utilized by the homeless and employees. In July the Fifth Street entrance was closed due to reports of high levels of shoplifting (estimated at ~$11K/mo). A month later the store expanded operations to be open for business 24 hours per day. In September the store began asking to check receipts of customers upon exit to attempt to further squash shoplifting. Many customers felt this to be merely security theater than a meaningful way to curb shoplifting.

In late October Safeway had a mini-marketing campaign suggesting they would have a grand re-opening. I was mailed a reusable grocery bag and information on discounts related to the re-opening day. I was out of town that re-opening weekend and had some skepticism that there would really be much change going on.

On Saturday morning I did visit the Safeway and noticed a series of improvements. I was only in the store for a few minutes but here are my observations of the positive changes:

  • Former Cafe space now repurposed for greeting cards. This allows the aisle space the cards previously used to be allocated to product. Seems several aisles have been reorganized.
  • Two new Self checkout stations. Not next to the other self-check outs. They are at the other end of the checkout area.
  • Refrigerated beer area expanded substantially. Some of the wine aisle space was converted.

What other changes have you noticed? What else would you change? Let’s try to be forward looking and constructive rather than repeating the same gripe about a couple of bad experiences from two years ago.

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AAMC HQ Renderings

As reported in the past, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has arranged a deal to purchase property from Douglas Development in the Mount Vernon Triangle to build a new headquarters office building. The parcel is on Square 451 and is bounded by 7th Street NW to the west, New York Ave NW to the north, K Street NW to the south while the east boundary is an alley. Several historically protected properties spread out along the K Street segment will be relocated to a cluster on K Street near the alley.

Until now we did not have renderings to display what AAMC has planned. Lydia DePillis of the City Paper tracked down four renderings from Shalom Baranes architectural firm. I’m displaying two below and encourage you to visit her link for the other two.

K Street elevation of AAMC; from Shalom Baranes (via WCP)

[Read more...]

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Chinatown Disneyfication?

Lydia DePillis of the Washington City Paper argues that much of the next wave of planned public realm enhancements to Chinatown is nothing more than superficial Disneyfication.

Among the items she singles out as superficial are converting the usually-blue wayfinding signs to ornamental red, installing Chinese inspired lampposts and benches, designing bike racks and crosswalks in the shape of stylized dragons, adding a “Chinese-themed” sculpture to Chinatown Park, the translation of street signs into Chinese characters, commissioning “Chinese-inspired” murals for blank commercial storefronts, and installing more decorative Zodiac pavers.

What are your thoughts? Do you support the improvements? Is it all too superficial? Or do you think some improvements make sense but the incorporation of dragons may be taking it farther than it needs to go?

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