Bars, Bikes, and Buildings
Highlights from Thursday’s monthly meeting of ANC1B: New restaurants and lounges are on their way to U Street. Office construction in the District may be hurting, but neo-Victorian townhouses will replace an old parking lot on Vermont Avenue. Fifteenth Street’s protected bike lane will finally enter Ward 1.
Several commissioners bickered over the process of approving liquor licenses— in this case a procedural dispute— but the commission relented and took no further action on Cuckoo Marans and the U Street Music Hall, both of which we wrote about earlier. The ANC typically protests all new licenses officially as a means to goad applicants to reach voluntary agreements with the ANC. These voluntary agreements tend to be less permissive than the District’s standing liquor laws.
In new business, a new liquor license applicant presented his plans for Café Society, which he billed as an affordable and upscale (oxymoron?) steakhouse that will feature steaks (of course) and local produce. The 139-seat steakhouse will occupy the ground floor and upper floors (and a roof terrace) of the newly renovated building on the northeast corner of Fourteenth and U Streets. Cuckoo Marans will occupy the basement of the same building.
Against the Grain
DDOT sought and received the ANC’s support for extending the Fifteenth Street southbound contraflow bike lane from U Street northward to the foot of Meridian Hill at W Street. Fifteenth Street is one-way northbound from Massachusetts Avenue on the edge of downtown all the way up to Columbia Heights. Though one resident complained of renegade cyclists disobeying traffic laws, the ANC voted to support the lane anyway. Commissioner Brianne Nadeau (ANC1B05 - Meridan Hill) expressed her desire to see the lane extended all the way up Meridian Hill to Euclid Street, but DDOT is not seeking that extension just yet, though they seem to be studying it, if informally.
When DDOT began installing the contraflow lane in November, Councilmember Jim Graham (D – Ward 1) flipped out at DDOT’s alleged inadequate notification of his constituents. In response DDOT built the lane along Fifteenth Street in Ward 2, but stopped at Ward 1′s boundary at U Street. A chastened DDOT now has the ANC’s approval.
A local developer and his architect presented plans to build three townhouses (two units each) on the south side of the parking lot at T Street and Vermont Avenue. The architect displayed several handsome elevation drawings, all in a Victorian style, that match the rich neighboring architecture. Each of the three townhouses will feature alley-accessible garages. The developer will also replace the existing concrete sidewalk with brick, our favorite paving material. The north side of the parking lot will also be redeveloped as part of a separate project.