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Monday, February 19, 2007

The Washington Post on Ninth Street Development

In today's Metro Section, The Washington Post features prominently development in our neighborhood:

First is an article about the Convention Center not living up to its goals.

Second is an article about slow development on 9th Street.

Third is an article about the failings in progressing the construction of the new Convention Center Hotel.

Fourth is a video interviewing business owners on 9th Street about the impact of convention center traffic on business.

All in all, the coverage seems pretty good. The downers to me are the revealing discussions about why we aren't seeing any progress on the Convention Center Hotel front (seems like the District is really failing us and could blow the deal) and on Shiloh's expressed resolve in holding onto buildings it cannot afford to maintain*. I still firmly believe that development hasn't skipped and isn't going to skip over our little slice of the city, and I think the continued optimism expressed by people throughout the articles supports my belief that the time for widespread renewal is approaching.


*Shiloh's Pastor Smith reiterates a plan to build senior housing in its boarded up properties on the west side of the 1500 block of 9th Street. Given the state of Shiloh's occupied structures (like its threadbare life center) and the state of its numerous vacant structures (which are rotting and exposed to the elements), I already feel sorry for those unfortunate seniors who sign up to have Shiloh as their landlord.

15 comments:

richard said...

happy to read the recognition given to ray for his ideas, creativity and origionality.

Anonymous said...

ShawRez - What are your predictions re the hotel? Do you think it will actually happen? Seems like the stakes are pretty high, given the fact that the District has already spent $30M buying up land there, etc. This issue confuses me!! I can't believe they still have so many issues to work out, apparently...

Shaw Rez said...

Anon - Despite speculation in the Post article to the contrary, it seems that a convention center hotel is fundamentally necessary for the Washington Convention Center's success. And such a hotel would be a boon to our neighborhood--indeed, I tie its completion to Shaw's success as well as that of the convention center. I predict that the hotel will be built. Whether groundbreaking occurs sooner rather than later and whether its intended scope (~1500 rooms with additional meeting space) is realized will be a major statement about Fenty's leadership. This hotel needs to be a top priority for all involved.

The economics of the hotel change dramatically if/when RLJ and Marriott 1) change their roles/stake in the project; or 2) are taken out of the equation altogether. The bureaucracy, delays, higher costs, and other "snags" discussed in the Post article may indeed affect their involvement, ultimately affecting the quality and timeliness of the project. Such snags, about which I was previously unaware, are what scare me: we want and need RLJ and Marriott to be excited, committed, and invested in this project fully.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, ShawRez. . .I have to agree with all of your points. They really need to get the ball rolling on this one.

Also, of interest in the Post coverage was a comment from the CEO of Walnut Street Dev., who said they may break ground in August on the Flats at Blagden Alley project on 9th and M (although not mentioned specifically by name in the article).....There seems to be a kind of "wait and see" attitude going on.....

Shaw Rez said...

Anon--I missed that. Was it in the article itself? Good spot!

I'm disappointed that WSD hasn't yet moved forward with its Blagden project and that it has apparently scrapped its 9th Street project (the sign is gone and the land is available for sale and/or build to suit). I think both projects would do really well and the risk would pay off handsomely for both WSD and for our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Hi again :) It's in the piece (I think) about the slow development on 9th street....the quote is from Mr. Montagne, who is the CEO of Walnut Street Dev...

I just checked their website, and it says about 917 M and 1212 9th Street:

"This project is 100% approved and is currently undergoing minor revisions to the construction drawings. We plan to break ground in 2007, with sales/leasing beginning in the summer of 2008."

Here's hoping!!

Ray said...

Keep your eyes on the prize, brothahs and sistaz. Shiloh's talk about seniors housing is just that. They had their opportunity to build years ago when Manna and Habitat for Humanity --with a host of other organizations -- offered to build housing on their properties. Shiloh turned up its collective nose at them. They are scamming us, pure and simple.

Shaw Rez said...

Agreed, Ray.

ML said...

Not to add to the cynicism here Anon, but I recall speaking with the sales rep of WSD about the groundbreaking of Blagden Alley/9th Street Flats last spring. She assured me they would absolutely be breaking ground before summer 06's end. I'll believe that project is back on when I see dirt flying.

In the meantime, I'm getting my jollies watching the Exchange rise out of the ground.

Ray, props on your shout-out in the Post. Another couple of years and we'll need to petition Alex Padro to add a Shaw walking trail sign in front of the painted café.

Anonymous said...

this was sort of an interesting article, but WHY was the man representing the city planning office wondering? shouldn't this office be on top of what is NOT going on? i also was surprised this author let slip by that Shiloh is not only failing to build anything of value and perpetuating the awful look of 9th st, but didn't write anything about how Shiloh took an active role in thwarting the new wonderful restaurant Vegetate from being able to live up to its awesome potential and they have also blocked Queen of Sheba's venture too. although Vegetate now has their liquor license, it was not an easy task, and given the opportunity, i bet that Shiloh would fight them again. Shiloh should be a credit to the Shaw community and instead, it is a detriment. do other churches want their surroundings to look as junky as Shiloh?

Ray said...

Dear anonymous:
G-d and Ralph gave us blogs so we don't have to rely on superficial Post reporting for news about the neighborhood. Furthermore, we do not need socialist planners like Zak and corporate-subsidized entities like Alex' Shaw Main Streets to decide what and what not should go into our neighborhood. Vegetate is, thank G-d, not in Alex' ANC 2C, so they got community support. Sadly, Queen of Sheba did not have the lambs' blood on their doors and was not spared from ANC 2C's ignorant wrath, so they were not allowed a temporary liquor licence, despite the entreaties of more than a half dozen residents who were allowed to speak out in their behalf. Two Shiloh members, instead, spoke and the ANC imposed the ban with no protest, only constipated looks from Kevin and Alex, and no further discussion. Damn the ANCs. They should be abolished. Shiloh is far more malignant and influential than you know, Anonymous. They are the Egyptian plagues on the house of Israel times ten.

Anonymous said...

Couple of questions: What is the artwork on the building at Rhode Island Ave. and 9th St. NW called?
Do the "public housing" people have a right to live somewhere?

Anonymous said...

If Shiloh has declined all previous offers to build their senior center, and are obviously in no hurry to do anything with these malignant properties, what is their real end goal?? Are they just hoping to ultimately sell these buildings and make a bundle? I don't get it...Actions speak much louder than words.

Anonymous said...

The art work on the corner of 9th and P is Illustrative Decor.

Anonymous said...

#1 - Cool blog - I'm happy to have run across it and wish I'd known of it earlier.

#2 - I seem to recall there are some legal tools that neighbors of derelict properties are supposed to be able to use in order to force property owners to either maintain their properties or sell them. Unfortunately I don't recall any specifics. Shiloh has indeed been a malignant presence in Shaw. Any available resources which could force their hand to either develop or sell would be a boon to the entire neighborhood.