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What We’re Reading

A couple of postings around the DC Blogosphere that caught our eye:

1005 7th Street NW; Image credit: Lydia DePillis

Washington City Paper: Lydia DePillis  reports that 1005 7th Street NW will host a Temporium in February right before DC Fashion Week. A Temporium is part of the Office of Planning’s Temporary Urbanism iniative and aims to transforms vacant storefronts or spaces into a temporary retail space for local entrepreneurs to exhibit and sell their work. The Temporium at 7th & New York will  house local fashion, design and art installations, as well as host workshops and events. The grant for this effort was awarded to Shaw Main Streets.

Urbanturf: Michelle Lerner discusses both the pros and the cons of serving on the board of your condominium in a two part series. Mark Wellborn provides an explanation behind the high fees of living in a co-op. For one thing, property taxes are included in the co-op fee rather than something the individual unit owner pays for via a tradtional escrow.

Greater Greater Washington: DC’s best urbanism blog brings our attention to a new tool to predict Circulator Bus arrival times.

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Yet another small update on 5th and Eye

Late last week we learned from DCmud that The Arts at 5th and I was very close to completing it’s land disposition and securing financing.

Hotel rendering from original Donohoe/Holland proposal

The Washington Business Journal also had a small update on the mixed-use hotel project. Most of the content is behind the subscriber wall but below are two excerpts.

Regarding timeframes:

“We expect to meet or beat the convention center hotel’s opening day” in 2014, Donohoe said. “Let the friendly competition begin.”

[Read more...]

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Zestfest in NoMA

ReadysetDC and the NoMa BID are producing on an three-week event series this October 7th – 23rd called ZESTFEST in the nearby NoMA neighborhood.

The event sponsors will be activating spaces, beautifying parks, opening a “pop-up art cafe”, throwing parties and placing art, music and dance on street corners – plus hosting a retro bike show and playing Beatles Rock Band on the Loree Grand Field on Friday Oct 22nd.

I may ride over on a Capital Bikeshare cycle and peer into the windows of the future Harris Teeter in NoMA to see how close the new grocery store is to opening.

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Curbside Cookoff at City Center

Curbside Culture Art and Performances Announced including Music, Graffiti Art, Classes & More

Always wanted to try that street vendor your friends are always talking about but never had time? Always seem to miss the hottest new food trucks when they’re in your neighborhood? Want to see some amazing art and performances? Now is your chance.

The District’s 20 most popular street vendors will converge in downtown DC on October 7 and 8 for two full days of art, music, dance and of course the best food the vendors have to offer.

The Department of Consumer and Affairs (DCRA), in proud partnership with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Brightest Young Things, and the Downtown BID, presents the city’s first annual Curbside Cookoff.

The event is being held at CityCenterDC, the site of the old Washington Convention Center, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on October 7 and 8. Admission is free and open to everyone.

The vendors invited to participate were selected from a week-long online open voting process and the vendors chosen can satisfy anyone’s cravings including:

Attendees will be able to vote for their favorite vendor on-site via paper ballot and via American Idol-style SMS text messaging. More details on the voting process will be announced in the next few days.

Brightest Young Things (BYT) is sponsoring a happy hour beer garden sponsored by Flying Dog after work on both days. They also mentioned something about a Winnebago. More details coming from BYT.

[Read more...]

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Street Soccer USA Cup 2010

Street Soccer USA (SSUSA) in partnership with sponsors the Leonsis Foundation, HELP USA, the Washington Kastles, Nike, and Deloitte hosts the annual Street Soccer USA Cup for the homeless this year in Washington DC. From July 30 through August 1 teams of males and females from 18 cities across the US will compete at Washington Kastles Stadium at the future site of CityCenter DC (H & 11th Streets NW).

During the Street Soccer USA Cup, over 20 teams representing a variety of agencies (grassroots, city wide, and national homeless service providers) from cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco, Charlotte and Washington, D.C., will compete for the Street Soccer USA Championship in fast-paced, 4 versus 4 street soccer action.

The event includes exhibition matches, live entertainment, and thousands of cheering fans and volunteers from the local and national communities. The festivities begin at 5PM Friday, July 30 with confirmed attendees including Mayor Fenty, Ted Leonis, Sheila Johnson, Mark Ein, and members from the Washington Freedom.

To reserve your FREE ticket, go to www.streetsoccerusa.org

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Rosslyn to showcase Temporary Urbanism

Just across the Key Bridge in Rosslyn a new temporary urbanism space is about to be unveiled this week on the site of a stalled Central Place office tower development. The lot is a few hundred feet from the Rosslyn Metro at the corner of Wilson Blvd and Fort Myer Drive Lynn St. The colorful design incorporates a mixture of landscaping and hardscaping and features tables, chairs, canopies for shade and a stage. The Rosslyn BID has plans to program events in the space over the summer.

The Arlington County officials demonstrated a commitment to those who have invested in their community by adding a vibrant temporary use to this site. On the other hand, DMPED was happy to disregard Mount Vernon Triangle residents for a meager $50K and leased 5th and Eye off to be yet another parking lot.


[Read more...]

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Dick Gregory to attend 5th & Eye picket

As mentioned in early February the city surprised us with plans to pave over the 5th and Eye lot for a temporary parking lot before development of the Hotel project begins. Commissioner Keith Silver has been organizing small daily pickets at the lot regarding this move by the city.

I received a memo from Silver that Dick Gregory will be joining him at the picket site on Friday March 12th. As noted by wikipedia “Gregory is an influential American comic who has used his performance skills to convey to both white and black audiences his political message on civil rights.” Comedy Central placed him as the 81st on their list of the 100 best standup comics of all-time.

I’ve had my doubts that picketing was truly the right tool for a protest. I think a similar approach to the Park View community “Stop the Lot” campaign would have been more successful. In fact Greater Greater Washington has a recap of Park View’s success in convincing the city to employ temporary urbanism at the site of the demolished Bruce-Monroe Elementary.

All that said I would implore you to stop at the picket site on Friday if you see Dick Gregory (pictured above). He deserves our appreciation for attempting to assist our community.

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WBJ discusses Temporary Urbanism with Harriet Tregoning

In today’s Washington Business Journal staff reporter Jonathan O’Connell discusses “temporary urbanism” with Office of Planing Director Harriet Tregoning as a means to to bring dead construction zones and storefronts alive with active, temporary uses.

Examples of temporary urbanism around the city include the Washington Trapeze School and Kastles Tennis at the City Center site, the yearly Artomatic event and and outdoor event area coined the Bullpen outside Nationals Park.

O’Connell points out that developers are often luke warm to the idea of temporary uses as they are concerned that when the time for development does arrive the public will object to displacement of the temporary amenity.

I support the concept of temporary urbanism. When the stop gap for every stalled development is a parking lot it stifles livability. The district has made strides in this regard under Tregoning’s tenure but other cities show that much more is possible. Portland Oregon not only has pioneered the modern streetcar line but also prominently features temporary urbanism in the form of a vibrant downtown food cart scene. The perimeter of most downtown surface parking lots in Portland are lined with food carts (over 400!) that offer diverse and cheap dining options including Bosnian pitas, Venezuelan Arepas, Deep Fried Double Dogs, Poutine, Vegan options, and much, much more… This leads blocks with parking lots to become hubs of activity rather than barren wastelands.

A 555 Mass resident send in a tip that a successful venture in Austin called the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery would be a great idea for temporary urbanism. It merges the foodcart concept of Portland with picnic tables and kid friendly attractions.

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