February 13, 2015 - 10:36 am

A bicentennial map depicts LeDroit Park in 1975

Bicentennial Map

DDOT posted this map of DC published in 1975 to celebrate the bicentennial.  The map includes a section on LeDroit Park.  Notice the groovy font, the “new” Howard University Hospital, the “nice old houses”, the long-gone bakery, and the “newly reopened Howard Theatre.”  The Howard Theatre had briefly reopened from 1975 to 1980.

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February 03, 2015 - 10:30 am

Howard opens new buildings, reduces staff

New Dorm

Howard University is reforming its hospital while its rank as DC’s largest employer slips.  These changes come as the university looks to improve its academic program and its finances.

Financial difficulty is nothing new for Howard. In 2013 we reported that sequestration had cut its annual appropriate from Congress, enrollment had dropped, and one of its Trustees publicly warned of the university’s financial straits. Later that year, Moody’s downgraded the university’s bond rating from A3 to Baa1 as the hospital ran a $21-million loss.

The university furloughed staff and cut positions, but last year Moody’s downgraded the university further from Baa1 to Baa3, citing the hospital’s losses, which had increased to $37 million.

Since then the university has hired Paladin, a healthcare management consultancy, to reverse the hospital’s losses. University President Wayne Frederick recently told the Washington Business Journal that the hospital has made progress, particularly in billing more efficiently. (The fee-for-service model may be lucrative for healthcare providers, but the Obama Administration is trying to move the country away from it.)

Last week the hospital announced it would lay off 25 management positions and look to reduce staff further.

Meanwhile the university and its hospital have slipped in their rankings as DC’s largest employers.  Over the past ten years, the university fell from first to seventh while the hospital fell from seventh to fifteenth.

Employer 2004 Rank 2014 Rank
Georgetown University 3 1
Washington Hospital Center 4 2
George Washington University 2 3
Children’s Hospital 5 4
American University 8 5
Georgetown University Hospital 9 6
Howard University 1 7
Fannie Mae 6 8
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. 113 9
Allied Barton Security Services LLC - 10
Red Coats 40 11
Providence Hospital 10 12
George Washington University Hospital 18 13
Sibley Memorial Hospital 13 14
Howard University Hospital 7 15

But the outlook isn’t all gloomy. The university recently completed two new dorms on 4th Street just north of the neighborhood and is nearing completion of its top-notch Interdisciplinary Research Building at Georgia Avenue and W Street.

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January 27, 2015 - 12:08 pm

Restaurant Costa Brava and Howard Univ. present tonight

300 Block of T Street

The January meeting of the LeDroit Park Civic Association is tonight at 7 pm in the basement of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church (enter at U Street and Bohrer Street).

The owner of Costa Brava (1837 First St NW) will introduce the neighborhood to his new Catalonian restaurant.  I had dinner at the restaurant late last year and I highly recommend it.

Howard University representatives will propose changes to university policy regarding student conduct and public safety:

  • Expanding the area around the campus deemed subject to the reporting of crime statistics.
  • Giving universities broader authority to address student misconduct that takes place off-campus.
  • Giving the Mayor or a university President the ability to request the assistance of other campus police personnel in cases of emergency, thus allowing the Metropolitan Police Department to focus their resources elsewhere.

The meeting will also include the usual committee reports and a community open forum.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

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November 16, 2013 - 8:35 pm

New movie theaters are planned near LeDroit Park

theaters

Two— possibly three— new movie theaters are set to open within a mile of LeDroit Park by 2016.  All will be located within a block or two of Florida Avenue and are easily accessible by foot, bike, and 90s bus.

Atlantic Plumbing site – 800 V Street NW- unknown screens

Prolific developer JBG is starting construction on its Atlantic Plumbing project by the 9:30 Club.  The project includes two mixed-use buildings on 8th Street NW, each on opposing sides of V Street.  The northern building was supposed to include an 11,000-square-foot movie theater, but a September article in the WBJ makes no mention of a theater.  The building will probably open in 2015.

Landmark Theater – New York Avenue & N Street NE- 10 screens

Capitol Point, another JBG mixed-use project, is located on New York Avenue NE near the maddening intersection with Florida Avenue NE.  The mixed-use project is slated to receive a 10-screen Landmark Theater showing foreign and independent films.  The chain currently has a location downtown on E Street and one in Bethesda.  This new theater is scheduled to open in 2016.

Angelika Film Center – Union Market (5th Street & Neal Place NE) – 8 screens

Soon after you pass under the railroad tracks on Florida Avenue NE, Union Market appears embedded in the background on the left.  These blocks constitute a wholesale food market that is slowly being redeveloped.  The new Union Market building has met great success, featuring produce, prepared foods, oysters, meats, and dairy products along with chairs and tables for the impatient.  The market fare is definitely upscale and vendors never shy from the word ‘artisanal’.

The market building’s developer announced it will open an 8-screen Angelika movie theater on an adjacent lot.  Angelika theaters feature foreign and independent films and, as the Post described it, “culinary offerings from former Food Network executives.”  The developer expects the theater to open in 2015.

Are we over-theatered?

Another movie theater is coming to different part of the District.  In the Navy Yard, developer Forest City is planning an upscale 16-screen theater near Nationals Stadium and the Navy Yard Metro.  The theater, at N Place and the future 1½ Street SE (a terrible name for a street), may not open until 2016 or later.

Can’t wait until 2015? There are four existing theaters within a 2.5-mile radius of LeDroit Park as the crow flies.  The Landmark E Street Cinema (1100 block of E Street NW) and the Regal Gallery Place (7th & G Streets NW) are easily accessible from the Green Line, Yellow Line, and 70s buses.  To the west of us, the West End Cinema (23rd & M Streets NW) and the AMC Loews Georgetown (3111 K Street NW) are easily accessible from the G2 bus, whose eastern terminus is LeDroit Park.

Theater Screens Location Opening Distance
Atlantic Plumbing (??) ? 8th & V Sts NW 2015? 0.5 mi
Landmark – Capitol Point 10 New York Ave & N St NE   2016 0.8 mi
Angelika Film Ctr. – Union Mkt. 8 5th St & Neal Pl NE 2015 1.3 mi
Regal Gallery Place 14 7th & G Sts NW open 1.4 mi
Landmark E Street Cinema 8 1100 b/o E St NW open 1.8 mi
West End Cinema 3 23rd & M Sts NW open 2.1 mi
AMC Loews Georgetown 14 3111 K St NW open 2.9 mi
Showplace Icon Theater 16 1½ St & N Pl SE 2016 3.3 mi
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November 06, 2013 - 11:19 am

Shaw Giant reopens Nov. 22

City Market at O

In 16 days the Giant at 7th & O Streets in Shaw will reopen after closing for redevelopment in 2011. The new store occupies 78,000 square feet, making it the largest grocery store in the District, and the closest grocery store to LeDroit Park.

Unlike the previous Giant, which was situated with its back to 9th Street, the new Giant will occupy the former historic market building along 7th Street.  LeDroit residents can easily access the Giant by foot, bike, or the G2 bus, which runs along the north side of the store along P Street on its way between Georgetown and LeDroit Park.

The store is part of a larger development, City Market at O, which includes 182 hotel rooms, 407 market-rate apartments, and 90 affordable apartments for seniors.

Giant isn’t the only store opening soon.  The new Trader Joe’s at 14th & U Streets is set to open early next year.

Store Location Distance (mi)
Giant (opens Nov. 22, 2013) 7th & O Streets NW 0.6
Trader Joe’s (opens early 2014) 14th & U Streets NW 0.9
Safeway 5th & L Streets NW 0.9
Harris Teeter 1st & M Streets NE 1.0
Whole Foods 1400 blk. P Street NW 1.1
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September 06, 2013 - 9:44 am

Three new restaurants and one beer garden open in Shaw

The opening of new restaurants on 14th Street has been prolific enough to merit attention from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.  These papers might want to turn their attention to Shaw, which is seeing three new restaurants and one beer garden open within a two-week period.  All of these new places are within a mile of LeDroit Park.

Dacha

In time for Oktoberfest, Dacha beer garden opened Wednesday at 1600 7th Street to serve a variety of American, German, and Belgian beers.  Dacha, like the Garden District beer garden (née Standard) on 14th Street, will close for the winter.  After Dacha closes for the season, the owners will start construction on a permanent building to house the kitchen and bar.

Dacha is open weekdays from 4 pm to 10:30 pm and on weekends from noon to midnight.

Tomorrow from 2 pm to 3 pm, Mayor Gray is cutting the ribbon for three other restaurants, Mandalay, Thally, and Baby Wale.

Mandalay

After you finish your beer at Dacha, walk two blocks to Mandalay at 1501 9th Street, a site that has been in the works for several years.  Though the building has been finished for some time, the restaurant, which sits on the ground floor, will open Sunday night for dinner.

Mandalay serves Burmese food, including many vegetarian options.  The restaurant will serve eight family-style dishes at seatings at 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.  Bring your wallet, though, as the prix-fixe menu is $40 on weekdays and $50 on weekends.

Thally

If you’re not in the mood for Burmese food, walk two blocks south on 9th Street to Thally (1316 9th Street), which opened last week.  The restaurant, pronounced like ‘tally’, serves “modern American” food.  First course items range from $8 to $10 and include peach and prosciutto soup, fancy BLTs, and crab roulette.  Main course items range from $17 to $28 and include roasted duck, delmonico steak, and rockfish.

Thally is open from 5 pm to 11:30 pm Tuesdays through Sundays.

Baby Wale (I hope that’s not a menu item!)

If you’re more in the mood for wine and snacks, continue walking two blocks south to Baby Wale (1124 9th Street), a project of the Tom Power, who started Corduroy next door.  Baby Wale, which opened last week, is far more casual than its upscale neighbor and serves soups, salads, sandwiches and “upscale bar food”.  As for alcohol, the place serves specialty cocktails, 80 different bottles of wine, and six draft beers.

Baby Wale opens at 5 pm Mondays through Saturdays.

It’s amazing how quickly new restaurants are opening on Shaw’s primary main streets.  Even more food options are on the way as Progression Place’s storefronts continue to fill and as the new Giant opens in November at 7th and O Streets.

3restaurants1beergarden

 

Name Address Distance Cuisine
Dacha 1600 7th St 0.6 mi beer garden
Mandalay 1501 9th St 0.7 mi Burmese
Thally 1316 9th St 0.8 mi Modern American
Baby Wale 1124 9th St 1.0 mi wine and bar food

 

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September 05, 2013 - 8:58 am

The Lincoln Theater is back in business

Lincoln Theatre
Photo by NCinDC on Flickr

The Post reports that music venue owner IMP, which operates the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion, is now managing the District-owned Lincoln Theater.

As we noted before, the Lincoln Theater’s revival in the 1990s failed to measure up to the Howard Theatre’s recent rebirth.  Last year we compared the number of scheduled events at both theaters from May 11 to June 30, 2012. The contrast was stunning as the Howard had announced 51 scheduled events compared to the Lincoln’s paltry five.

The District’s new operator for the Lincoln has already booked comedians Ira Glass and Cheech and Chong, as well as musical performers Janelle Monae, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and KT Tunstall for next month.

The Lincoln is just one of four big venues within a mile of LeDroit Park:

Theaters within 1 mile of LeDroit Park

Theater Distance Capacity
Howard Theatre 0.3 mi 600 if seated; 1,000 if standing
9:30 Club 0.6 mi 1,200 standing
Lincoln Theater 0.8 mi 1,225 seated
Black Cat 1.0 mi 700 standing and 200 in the backstage

The Lincoln Theater’s 1,225 fixed seats set the venue apart.  Though this configuration limits the types of acts that will perform, it also guarantees each patron a reserved space.

Check out the Post’s handy comparison chart, including typical headliners and food options for each venue.

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August 14, 2013 - 4:28 pm

More retailers on board for Progression Place

Progression Place’s retail spaces are nearly leased out. Here is a list of what’s coming:

  • Wanda’s—The hair salon that existed before construction started.
  • SiTea— The second location for this Takoma-based tea shop.
  • Bank of America
  • Mockingbird Hill (already open)— Bar specializing in sherry and ham. [Read an earlier post on it]
  • Eat the Rich— Oyster house from the owners of Mockingbird Hill.
  • Sprint— Cell phone store
  • (vacant retail bay)
  • Fishnet— The second location for this Berwyn Heights-based, Mediterranean seafood and sandwich shop.
  • Uprising Muffins
Progression_storefronts

Don’t forget that Right Proper Brewing Company will open around the corner on T Street.

Here is the official leasing prospectus from Streetsense, the project’s retail broker.

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August 07, 2013 - 8:58 am

Construction on Florida Avenue apartments begins next month

Designs for the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue

Designs for the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue

Shortly after Labor Day, construction will begin on the two JBG apartment buildings on the former WMATA sites on the 700 and 800 blocks of Florida Avenue.  The project involves constructing two new apartment buildings flanking 8th Street at Florida Avenue.  The project, which already received Historic Preservation Review Board approval, will include 242 apartments above 29,000 square feet of retail.

The buildings, designed by Seattle-based Miller Hull, are six-story structures— five floors of wood stick construction over concrete podiums for the garages and retail areas. This hybrid construction type is cheaper and faster to build than concrete-only highrises.

Construction is expected to take 20 months and should be completed in May 2015.

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July 31, 2013 - 8:17 am

Is something like Eastern Market coming to the U Street area?

The Griffith as seen from Florida Avenue

The Griffith as seen from Florida Avenue

There’s some big news over on Florida Avenue by the 9:30 Club.  The District has chosen the MRP-Ellis Development team to develop 1.45 acres of city-owned land at 965 Florida Avenue.  The site sits on the east side of Florida Avenue at the intersection with Sherman Avenue.  The MRP-Ellis proposal, dubbed The Griffith*, is a 370,000-square-foot building with 35,000 square feet of retail topped with several floors of residential.

I haven’t found the apartment unit count, but the retail component is envisioned as a market somewhat like Union Market and Eastern Market.  Furthermore, The Griffith proposal extends Bryant Street from 8th Street to the intersection of Florida and Sherman Avenues.  East-west connectivity is a goal of the DUKE Small Area Plan and something that the city has been seeking as that area is redeveloped.

Site plan and surrounding streets for The Griffith development

Site plan and surrounding streets for The Griffith development

Part of the story for this award is who didn’t win.  Both MRP-Ellis and JBG competed for the site.  Many people following the competition thought JBG had the upper hand, since it controlled an adjacent site on Florida Avenue (see the big blank area above).  JBG’s plan involved connecting W Street instead of Bryant Street.  The JBG plan also included a Harris Teeter, 125 hotel rooms, 30,000 square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of retail, 150 condos, 250 apartments, and 200 micro-apartments.

According to the Washington Business Journal, the District preferred The Griffith’s program for several reasons:

What put MRP over the top, according to [the District], was an offer to build more affordable housing, an agreement to submit to the District’s planned-unit development process (ensuring community coordination) and its willingness to pay more for the land.

Don’t expect shovels in the ground just yet.  The details of the deal will have to be finalized and then approved by the Council.  Then the project will go through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) process that involves a few months of community input and zoning hearings during which the developer will likely negotiate a community benefits agreement.  After that’s finished, the permits will need to be approved and construction can finally begin.  It may be four or five years until we see a ribbon-cutting.

In the meantime, JBG may build a smaller project on the land it owns immediately to the south of the awarded site.  No plans have been released, but whatever it is, says JBG, it won’t include a Harris Teeter or a W Street connection.

View the proposals:


* “The Griffith” is an homage to Griffith Stadium, which once stood where Howard University Hospital now stands.

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