Saturday, March 31, 2012

DC Council Prohibits Medical Marijuana Cultivation Centers on 7th Street, NW, in Shaw; Should Dispensaries be Next?

The D.C. Council last week passed legislation that prohibits medical marijuana cultivation centers (where medical marijuana will be grown) from locating in the District's retail priority areas. The legislation does not apply to medical marijuana dispensaries.

One of the District's retail priority areas includes the portions of 7th and 9th Streets, NW, that are located in Shaw.  Although no cultivation centers  have been proposed for Shaw, two groups have proposed to open dispensaries in Shaw — one at 1537 7th Street and one at 1539 7th Street, NW. (See prior posts on the applications here, here, and here.)  The proposed dispensaries on 7th Street have drawn community opposition, in part because of the potential negative impact on the redevelopment of the 7th Street corridor.

The legislation restricting where cultivation centers could locate was sponsored by Councilmember Yvette Alexander, who stated that the Council's approval of the legislation "is a great victory for neighborhoods that are fighting for vital economic development in their retail areas." She added: "With the absence of cultivation centers in retail priority areas, we will be in a better position to attract high-end retail stores to areas that have been designated for development...."

What do you think: Should the Council also pass legislation to prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from locating in retail priority areas?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Agenda Announced for ANC2C Meeting on April 4, 2012

The agenda has been announced for the April 4, 2012, meeting of ANC 2C. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Shaw Library, 1630 7th Street, NW.

Agenda items include a presentation on a proposed development project at 435 R Street, NW; request for support of zoning relief for a Douglas Developmennt project on the block bounded by 6th Street, 7th Street, L Street, and New York Avenue, NW; a status report on options for improving the availability of parking for residents during Howard Theatre events; and a status report on security, staffing, and maintenance concerns at the Kennedy Recreation Center.
The full agenda is after the jump.

Duke Ellington Sculpture Arrives at Plaza Outside Howard Theatre in Shaw

Duke Ellington sculpture
with sculptor
Zachary Oxman (WTOP)
WTOP reports that the Duke Ellington sculpture, which will be located in the plaza adjacent to the Howard Theatre, will be delivered to Shaw this morning.  WAMU reports that the sculpture has arrived at the plaza.

In the WTOP story, the sculptor, Zachary Oxman, describes the sculpture (pictured to the left) as follows:  "[Ellington is] at the piano, but the piano itself turns into notes and moves up, almost like music.  The G clef that he's sitting on is actually not your traditional G clef, but it's inspired like his actual handwriting."

The plaza is currently under construction by DDOT as part of the streetscape improvements surrounding the Howard Theatre.

(Credit: WAMU)
Check out the DDOT plans for the plaza after the jump.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Owner of Corduroy Restaurant Enters Into Agreement to Purchase Mood Lounge Building

Tom Power, owner of Corduroy restaurant at 1122 9th Street, NW, has entered into an agreement to purchase the building that houses Mood Lounge.  The agreement is contingent on Power receiving financing, and the agreement may be terminated if the closing doesn't occur before March 31, 2012.  The agreement is also subject to the approval of a bankruptcy court.  (As previously reported on this blog, the owner of the Mood Lounge building filed a bankruptcy petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia.)

This is likely to be welcome news to the neighbors of Mood Lounge, which has been the subject of a number of complaints and proceedings before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board — although it is not clear what Power's plans are for the Mood Lounge building, should he be successful in his effort to purchase it.

In a review by Washingtonian magazine, Corduroy was called "one of the hidden gems of Washington dining", and the restaurant has been on Washingtonian's list of the 100 Very Best Restaurants for three years in a row.  It's also been reported that Power plans to open a second restaurant on 9th Street, adjacent to Corduroy.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Real Estate Crowdsourcing Company Popularise Targets 626 S Street, NW

Startup company Popularise has selected 626 S Street, NW, for its newest "drawing board" and it's seeking resident input on what type of store or service should locate there.  (626 S Street, NW, is pictured to the left; the building is located across the street from the Wonder Bread building and Progression Place.)

Popularise is a bit difficult to explain.  It describes itself as "an online crowdsourcing platform focused on local development".   The way Popularise works is that a developer or business submits its property (which is generally vacant or underutilized) as a "drawing board" in order to solicit community input on how the property should be used; residents are then able to submit their ideas and those ideas are then voted on by other website users. Residents' input is supposed to help direct how the proeprty is utlimately used — resulting in a more community focused, and less corporate-focused, development project.

The company was co-founded by two sons of the founder of Western Development, which developed Washington Harbour, the Gallery Place project at the southeast corner of 7th and H Streets, NW, Georgetown Park Mall, and Market Square at 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, so the company has something of a pedigree. 

Check out Popularise's drawing board for 626 S Street, NW, here.

To learn more about Popularise, check out their About Us and FAQ pages.

Also check out an article about Popularise on the Atlantic Cities website here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Old City Green Reopening March 24, 2012; Events Planned for March 31, 2012

Old City Green will be reopening on Saturday, March 24, 2012.  Its spring hours will be:
•  Monday:  Closed
•  Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
•  Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
•  Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

On the following Saturday (March 31, 2012), Old City Green will mark its "official" reopening with a guerrilla gardening/seed bomb making activity and an herbal tea party.  Read more details on those events and RSVP here.

Old City Green
Old City Green is a "retail garden center with pots, plants, seeds, compost, mulch, soil, and artifacts to help you achieve your 'dream' green-space."  It is also a pickup location for the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative's community-supported agriculture program.

Old City Green is located at 902 N Street, NW, at the southwest corner of 9th and N Streets, NW.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Latest Plans for the Wonder Bread Building

The Left for LeDroit website has the latest news on Douglas Development's plans for the Wonder Bread building at 621 S Street, NW.  Left for LeDroit reports: "[Douglas Development's] plan for the Wonderbread Factory includes a ground floor and basement floor for retail space, which they imagine may include restaurants or a microbrewery. The upper floors will include loft-like office space.  They are setting an agressive timeline to have the project finished in the spring of 2013 and they say they have had numerous inquiries about the space, especially from restaurateurs."

Check out the Left for LeDroit post, with a full set of design drawings, here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"Container" Store Proposed for 919 U Street, NW (No, Not that Container Store)

The Hilton brothers restaurant development team — which has created The Gibson, Marvin, and American Ice Company — has proposed to open a restaurant built out of shipping containers at 919 U Street, NW.  (The Georgetowner has reported that the restaurant will be a taqueria called El Ray.)  The restaurant would have a takeout window on U Street and an outdoor seating area.

The proposal will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on March 22, 2012.  The HPRB staff report describes the proposed development as follows:
The front elevation would consist of a combination of corrugated shipping containers flanking a recessed aluminum and glass storefront system with glass entry door, and open take-out window with an angled metal canopy. The design calls for the first floor to be topped by a shipping container with a centered internally illuminated sign. The remainder of the site would consist of an open summer garden enclosed by a 7-0’ wood fence and topped by a partially covered metal truss roof system.
Apparently (according the HPRB staff report) the "use of shipping containers for temporary retail and arts uses is an increasingly popular option for activating vacant urban sites." In fact, a Starbucks comprised of shipping containers recently opened in Washington State — check out the image below.

Recently opened Starbucks in Tukwila, Washington(image credit: Starbucks)
The shipping container structure would be temporary, pending future redevelopment of the site.

View the developer's submission (including a recent photo of the site, the developer's floor plans, the U Street facade elevation, and an axonometric view of the proposal), along with the HPRB staff report, after the jump.

Friday, March 16, 2012

HPRB Staff Issues Report Supporting Conceptual Design of JBG Florida Avenue Project

JBG Florida Avenue project site
The staff of the Historic Preservation Review Board issued a report today supporting the preliminary site organization, height, massing, and general architectural direction of the planned JBG project on Florida Avenue, NW, between 7th and 9th Streets.  (Recent project renderings can be viewed here.)  The Board will meet on March 22, 2012, to consider JBG's conceptual design proposal and the staff's recommendations.  Even after the March 22 meeting, further HPRB review will continue, as the staff recommended that JBG "continue working on the designs, materials, and articulation of the proposal and return for further review when appropriate."

Excerpts from the staff report are after the jump, along with a copy of the full report.

Rendering of west building, at Florida Avenue and 8th Street, NW

Stables Project on Naylor Court Approved by Board of Zoning Adjustment

The Board of Zoning Adjustment has approved zoning variances for the Stables project, which will be located at 1321-25 Naylor Court, NW.

The project site currently consists of one lot, with approximately 4,940 square feet of land; the lot currently houses a dilapidated one-story garage.  The developer will demolish the garage (an action previously approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board), subdivide the exsintg lot into three new lots, and build a rowhouse and rear carriage house on each new lot.  All three lots will share a motor court that will be located between the rowhouses and carriage houses.  View the project renderings after the jump.

The developer received a variance from the the lot width and area requirements and a variance from the lot occupancy requirements.  The BZA approved the variances after a March 6, 2012, hearing.  (The written BZA decision is not yet available.)

View the following after the jump:
  • A link to the project website
  • A map showing the site location
  • A larger image of the site plan and project renderings
  • The developer's list of exterior design features
  • The developer's application to the BZA
  • The Office of Planning report on the BZA application

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Travel and Adventure Show at the Convention Center this Weekend (March 17-18, 2012)

The Travel and Adventure Show will be at the convention center this weekend, March 17-18, 2012. The show includes approximately 150 exhibitors, speakers and seminars, and hands-on activities.

Exhibitors include national and international destinations (such as the Aruba Tourism Authority, Mexico Tourism Board, and Beaches of Fort Myer and Sanabel), tour organizations (including Planet WildlifePalace Tours, and Reality Tours-Global Exchange), adventure groups/companies (including the American Hiking Society and Adventure Scuba Company), and even Frommer's Budget Travel.  Check out the exhibitor list here.

The featured speaking presentation is by Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die.  Schultz will discuss some of her favorite destinations, take questions from the audience, and sign her books. (The presentation is managed by the District's own Politics and Prose.)  Other speaking engagements include "Drivable Desintations: Vacations Within Reach" and "Best Budget Destinations in 2012".  The full speaker/seminar schedule can be viewed here.

The show also includes hands-on activities, including free scuba lessons, rock climbing, and an aerial zip line.  The full list of activities can be viewed here.

If you've been to the show in the past, please leave your comments in the comments section. 

Hours and ticket prices are after the jump.

Monday, March 12, 2012

JBG Submits Updated (March 5, 2012) Renderings for Its Florida Avenue Project

JBG Florida Avenue project site
JBG has updated the renderings for its planned project on Florida Avenue, NW, between 7th and 9th Streets. Changes include the repositioning of certain building bays, an increase in the use of "warm" materials, the inclusion of raised curbs or seat walls where storefronts comes to grade, and the relocation of suspended lighting. The new renderings, dated March 5, 2012, can be viewed after the jump.

The changes are based on ongoing discussions between JBG and the District's Historic Preservation Office in preparation for a March 22, 2012, hearing before the Historic Preservation Review Board.  The renderings are likely to be further updated before that hearing.

Rendering of west building, at Florida Avenue and 8th Street, NW

According to the JBG website,"the lots of the Florida Avenue Project are 15,956 square feet, 8,621 square feet and 3,799 square feet respectively, totaling 28,376 square feet."  Also according to JBG, "preliminary feasibility studies for the project have included a mixed-use plan with residential units above a retail podium, conforming to the Duke [Framework] Plan that seeks to establish “a cultural destination district within in the greater Shaw/U Street neighborhood”."

The Duke Framework Plan, a product of the District's Office of Planning that establishes goals for the redevelopment of the 7th Street/Georgia Avenue and U Street/Florida Avenue commercial corridors in the vicinity of 7th and U Streets, NW, can be viewed at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Last Chance to Comment on NPS Restoration Plan for Carter G. Woodson Home Historic Site at 1538 9th Street, NW

The deadline for providing your comments on the National Park Service's draft general management plan for the restoration of the Carter G. Woodson House historic site is this Tuesday, March 13, 2012.  The site currently includes Dr. Woodson's former house at 1538 9th Street, NW, and two adjacent row houses located at 1540 and 1542 9th Street, NW.

The general management plan describes "alternative directions for the development, visitor use, and management" of the site.  The plan contains two alternatives.  Under the so-called "no action alternative", "visitors would have the opportunity to tour Dr. Woodson's neighborhood, view the restored and/or stabilized historic structure facades, and understand how the neighborhood influenced his life or work."  The interiors of the buildings would not be restored, and visitors would not be allowed inside the buildings.

Under the second alternative, the so-called "preferred alternative," the "emphasis ... would be to learn about Dr. Woodson's life and legacy.  Visitors would learn about Dr. Woodson through tours of his restored home, and through innovative and interactive interpretive exhibits, materials, and programs in the adjacent buildings."  The preferred alternative is comprised of two options — the first option includes only the buildings currently owned by NPS and the second option includes both those buildings and 1544 9th Street, NW, an adjacent building currently not owned by NPS.  This additional building is located at the corner of 9th and Q Streets, NW; it is in the historic site boundary authorized by Congress, but is currently privately owned.  The first option would be implemented upon approval of the plan; the second option would be implemented if the building at 1544 9th Street, NW, is acquired by NPS.

View the draft general management plan, read more about Carter G. Woodson, view information about the project timeline, and find out how to submit comments after the jump.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bistro Bohem to Open March 15, 2012

Bistro Bohem has announced that it will be opening on March 15, 2012.

Located at 600 Florida Avenue, NW, Bistro Bohem is a full-service restaurant and bar "offering flavorful Eastern European cuisine."

Hours will be 5 p.m. to midnight 7 days a week.  In addition, brunch will be served on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Check out their menus at  Also check out their website at

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vote for Your Favorite New Shaw Business in Shaw Main Streets' Seventh Annual Best New Business Contest

Shaw Main Streets has announced that voting is now open in its seventh annual Best New Shaw Business of the Year contest.   The candidates for Best New Shaw Business are the following:
  • Capital Comfort Hostel, 1610 7th Street, NW
  • Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant, 1909 9th Street, NW
  • Mood Lounge, 1318 9th Street, NW
  • Pizza D’Oro, 717 T Street, NW (there isn't a website for Pizza D'Oro, but check out the Yelp page here)
  • Rogue 24, 922 N Street, NW, Rear (Blagden Alley)
  • Seasonal Pantry, 1314-1/2 9th Street, NW
  • SUNdeVICH, 1314 9th Street, NW, Rear (Naylor Court)  
Find out how to vote, and when the winner will be announced, after the jump.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's Going On At ... O Street Market?

You've probably noticed the construction activity at the former site of the Giant supermarket. So what exactly is being built there? The project is called CityMarket at O and is described by the developer as a "1 million-square foot adaptive reuse project that will include over 86,239 square feet of retail, 552,854 square feet of housing, a 181-room select service hotel, and 500 parking spaces."

As part of the project, 8th Street, NW, will be reopened through the center of the site and two large buildings will be built on each side of the reopened street.

The west building (along 9th Street) is expected to include 160 market-rate rental units, 145 condominium units, almost 13,000 square feet of retail space (fronting 8th Street), and an 181-unit hotel.  (Who would have thought, a hotel in the heart of Shaw.)  The hotel rooftop has been marketed as "featuring a pool, fitness center, and an outdoor patio with views of the U.S. Capitol and the National Monuments."

The east building (along 7th Street) will include a new Giant supermarket -- incorporating the former O Street Market space and including almost 60,000 square feet -- 240 market rate rental units, and 84 senior affordable housing units.

View the construction timeline, images of the buildings and site plans, along with a link to a construction webcam, after the jump.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Home and Garden Showing Coming to Convention Center Next Weekend (March 9-11, 2012); Extra Discount on Tickets

The Washington Home and Garden Show will take place at the convention center next weekend. The show runs from March 9 through March 11.  Hours are after the jump, along with information on how to get tickets for only $7.

If you've gone to the show in the past, please leave your thoughts on the show in the comments section.  (Based on the quality of the website and the lack of other information online, I don't have great expectations, but that's probably not the best way to judge the show.)

According to the website, this year's show highlights include:
  • Innovation Avenue: "See the newest products in home decor, kitchen & bath, outdoor living and more. Each product is uniquely displayed along Innovation Avenue."
  • Glorious Gardens: "Stroll through 16,000 square feet of gardens that will showcase the latest in landscaping and outdoor lifestyle trends."
  • Celebrity Guests: Including Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Sasha Andreev from Curb Appeal.
  • IKEA Furniture Fashion Show: "Watch models strut the runway presenting not haute couture, but the latest haute design from IKEA’s 2012 collection. Working the catwalk, models will present the latest IKEA pieces – furniture, accessories, and fixtures, gradually constructing a sleek, stylish room vignette, straight off an IKEA showroom floor. The models will work together to re-arrange the space to show off original ideas for everything from chic living rooms to elegant bedrooms."

Hours and ticket information are after the jump.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Agenda Announced for ANC 2C Meeting to Be Held on March 7, 2012

The agenda has been announced for the March 7, 2012, meeting of ANC 2C. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Shaw Library, 1630 7th Street, NW.

Agenda items include a presentation on the plans for the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, options for improving the availability of parking for residents during Howard Theatre events, a proposal to install a curb cut on the 1800 block of 6th Street, NW, and an introduction of Ward 6 planners from the Office of Planning and Department of Transportation.

The full agenda is after the jump.