Little things to be thankful for….

Sorry but at the shitty real estate computer so I need to insert the URLs again but I thought I’d catch up. Three bits of good real estate news. 1. the market is up again in DC for the third month in a row: 2. Housing starts may be down, but renovations are up: (Side note: Warren Buffet said in TIME that he thinks the recovery will be lasting when new housing starts rise to 1 million per year from the current position of 635K) Finally 3. good transportation news, renters are willing to pay more to live near a metro line. This is good for those of us who live close to a metro but also that hopefully the number of cars fight for parking will decrease – a sensitive subject when you look at the many restaurants going in on 14th Street.

 I know Christmas was last month but I’m thankful for action around the hood:

How does everyone feel about the new All Souls (mostly) bar going in at 8th & T Streets. I know neighbors are happy to be rid of the drug dealers who used to live on the corner but a bar with 40 indoor seats and a large, exposed corner outside could cause a loud outdoor drinking crowd: What do you think?

I’m thrilled that the Howard theater has it’s new sign as of today. I’m hoping I can see it from home:

I’m doubly excited that Solly’s has reached an agreement to expand into Madjet and add a kitchen.

I’m with PoP in wishing that Bar Pilar woudl hurry up and reopen:

I’m glad the KGB graffiti group has been caught but upset that there seems to be a new group terrorizing the neighborhood (Cove? – pictures tomorrow) Is anyone slightly disturbed that the oldest member of the KGB gang was 46yo?

I’m moderately glad to get a new pizza place on Florida and 4th Street for the traffic it will bring down by the Howard but wish it was another type of food. We seem to have too many pizza places at the moment:

I’m happy to see that the condos at Rhode Island and R Streets are coming right along. They will be a good addition to the neighborhood.

Looking for a deal on new furniture? Well Built at 14th & R is having a closing sale:

What do you think of the relaxation of regulations for food trucks? I was in favor of these rolling institutions but think things may have gotten out of control. Metro Center has 5 trucks every day selling all types of food. Now the mayor is making it (a bit) easier for them. While I am not sure about the number of trucks, I think the free market and fashion fickle hipsters will do away with the excess

Here is a nice little interview with the man behind the 11th Street dog park:

I have to say that I am not happy with Congress’s ploy to seize the DC World War One memorial. This extraordinarily bloody conflict deserves its own monument and DC deserves to keep its. I hate to say it, but I’d be in favor of moving the DC memorial since the Park Service has let it become overgrown in the forest for the past 80 years. I think it’s a beautiful structure which would look nice in a more DC controlled area. Maybe the waterfront? 

Sad news – kinda – Sam’s Pawnbrokers on 14th by Church Street is closing. I’m sad to see a neighborhood business go but home we can find a better neighborhood business to go in there:

Thanks all for me. Time to go home. I hope you enjoy and provide comments!


Green Rules!!!!!

You need to check out this video. It has DCers down to a T. I hate to say it but I have uttered probably every phrase…..

Good news: I’m proud to note that DC leads the country with the most Green buildings. On that theme, many have said “Green is the new Red” when referring tot he Metro. Now it seems that is true. The green line, which opened in 1991, has a higher percentage of young professionals than most neighborhoods in the city.  Go Green!

Food News: Borderstan rates the new Taylors. I hope to check it out this weekend. Update on the new Shaw Tavern owners. A new Pizza place on 14th. Black and Orange is set to open on Jan 31!

For fitness Gurus there seems to be a lot on offer. There is a new cycling studio going in at 9th / U and a Praxis gym at 14th / Florida. I recently met Jamie Andrews who has opened her own boot camp Studio at 1440 N Street. She has been in the community for a while helping Vida open its new U Street location before going it alone. If you want to get in shape fast, go see her. She’ll kick your butt.

This seems to be the week for bitching. The latest is a group of us in our condo building want to complain about our building manager. We have been debating the best methods so there has been a lot of back and forth. I think we will end up with a letter to the board and a survey to residents.

Along those lines, it seems as though the City and the Verizon Center are trying to make money by covering the Verizon Center with LED lights. Vida is leading an effort to stop the new rules. Full disclosure: I work out at Vida Verizon and do like the windows. I don’t think a wall of lights would be good for the area.


Uber Debate..

OK once again short week + family visit + real job = few posts. I barely have time to real all the blogs let alone post but I have been saving them and will try to list more tomorrow.

First an update on the Bitch Session. Yesterday I was able to speak with Joe of American Ice. I told him about the noise. He was more concerned with what day it was than the fact they were rowdy but it’s a start. I plan on documenting through letters and voicemails more complaints in the future. Many thanks for the white noise machine suggestion in the comments. Even if the bar is not going full blast, the ambulances, cop cars and garbage trucks can be quite noisy.

I have plenty more to add on local businesses but just wanted to make a comment on a scandal going on in the Taxi community. It seems a new smartphone app called Uber has started offering smartphone users the opportunity to contract with off duty livery drivers for rides home. The Taxi & Limousine Commission has a fit and actually staged a sting last weekend. It seems Taxi Drivers are objecting to the service as violating the transport regulatory regime of DC. Now there have been many articles so I cannot link to all of them. David Albert makes an interesting point in that Taxis complaining about Uber is like Safeway complaining about Whole Foods. How can we let a group complain when the new service is more expensive and nicer. Doesn’t the law of supply and demand work in favor of a cheaper more convenient service? For so many years taxis held residents of the city hostage to the zone system. Fares were always high and service / equipment poor. Now we have a more reasonable fare structure but we are hit with the fees and ride charges. I believe cab drivers are hard working and deserve a livable wage that is why I am in favor of increasing the meter fare. I’d rather see it all on the meter rather than wait until I get to my destination. The TLC needs to keep focus on the public that pays for them and not fall victim to the industry lobbyists.

More tomorrow but 2 things: ANComissioner Myla Moss is holding an comment session on the proposed marijuana dispenary in the 1500 block of 7th Street: Friday, January 27, 2011 at the Kennedy Recreation Center 7 – 9pm.

Artomatic is coming back! They’ll open in Crystal City in May in a 300k sf building bigger than last time.

Bitch Session……

OK I need some advice. I have wanted to complain about the American Ice Company for a few weeks now. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a very cool bar, draws a good crowd and improves safety on our block. My complaint is about late night and closing time. Over the past few weeks I have been awoken by loud customers emerging at 130am screaming and yelling in the courtyard. I know this because I actually get up, look out the window, see the screamers and look at the clock. I am OK for a dull murmur from smokers outside until 3 am on Friday and Saturday. But this screaming on weekday nights is too much.

Up to now I have wanted to take the friendly approach. I can always see Andy Duffy outside his bar around the corner and tell him if I have any concerns and learn neighborhood gossip. I had met the founding manager of AIC in my many dog walks in front of the bar and wanted to bring it up when next I saw him. Finally I called the bar and spoke to an abrupt manager who said she would handle my complaint. I have no idea if it was received or passed along or whatever.

Now I don’t want to escalate this. I advocated for AIC. I support the benefits it has brought to the block. I just want to make sure that the manager keeps the noise down after midnight and moves people along after closing. How does one do that in a corporate bar environment? Who can I hold accountable?

Latest & Greatest on U Street

Sorry the getting back to work thing has been keeping me busy.  I launched into the new year with a client last Friday showing her properties up in Bethesda which was lots of fun. I am really excited to start doing real estate full time. Now to U Street News…

DC Mud has a good summary of the DC “Great Streets” plan for  14th Street from P up to Florida. It will cause endless chaos for 2 years but in the end it will make the area look great. DC is also going to buy new streetlights to replace the ugly cobra style that has been so common.

Borderstan has some great ideas for new years resolutions to  help our neighborhood grow. They also have a list of the 35 local restaurants participating in Restaurant Week. For a view of what DC looked like in the olden days, check out the new website Ruined Capitol. There are great before and after shots of blocks around the city.

Sad News: Love Cafe, the little cafe that could at 15th & U Streets will be closing at the end of January.

Good news: On the Housing Market in DC, check out PoP’s stats which will hopefully benefit us all. The building at the NW corner of 14th/ T will host a Stubs Kitchen Restaurant – assuming they can get a liquor license which is hard to do on that block. Shaw Tavern may re-open with a new owner which will be a boost to the neighborhood. Arlington is piloting real time transit screens which will notify passerby when the next bus / metro is passing. I would love to see these around more. Progression Place (7th/ T) is coming up fast – check out the new pictures.

In the endless battle for additional revenue, Capital Bikeshare may look for corporate sponsorship. I don’t think it’ll be pretty but I’m cheap enough to be willing to ride a bike with a logo if it means a free ride.

New Year, New Happenings…..

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I got a bit into vacation mode and slacked for most of the week. So what has happened on U Street? More than you would think…..

First: Please go see Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at the Lincoln. The proceeds go towards saving the theater and it’s a GREAT movie. Tickets are only $10 so cheaper than Gallery Place so worth the trip.

Signs of a boom: I mentioned the former church and residence at 13th & S Streets went up for sale listed for $599k but ended in a bidding war. Last week we learned the final price was $950k. The site does not include parking and the building is a gut job – that says a lot for demand.

Greetings: Taylors Deli opened Tuesday on 14th Street in the former Rough & Ready space. Lots of proposed businesses: The dry cleaner building at 14th & Q is applying for a liquor license (not the building but the owners). That is a block from the Well Built store which is leaving to be replaced by a restaurant. Also on 14th, Local 16 may open a Local 14 between to Taylors and Room & Board. Cork market is expanding it’s offerings to To Go Meals. There is a Copy store coming to 9th & U Streets which is a nice sign of local business.

Also the Police instituted new PSAs (Police Service Areas) on Jan 1 to better inform the community.

Development: The CityMarket@O continues with drilling to start the foundations. RenewShaw and CityPaper now tell us what is going in just to the northeast at 7th & P Streets: a Valor Development building. It’s the same group doing the former Italian Embassy on 16th Street so it may be a year or two before they pursue the new project. Also take a look at the new Marriott complex going in next to the Convention Center.