From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.
A look at recent developments related to business and politics in the Borderstan area…
Gold Mines on 14th and 11th Streets
Lydia DePillis at Washington City Paper has the details on the effort by Monument Realty and another developer to convince the owners of prime Logan Circle property to sell. The townhouses on 14th between Riggs and S Streets NW and another grouping at 11th and N Streets NW — perhaps best known as textbook examples of bad 1970s architecture — were built as affordable rental properties and then sold to residents in 1998 for bargain prices. The developer’s plans for redevelopment hinge on whether the parcels may be rezoned for higher density and the vote of condominium association members who are being offered top dollar for their homes.
Monument is offering the current owners six or seven times the price they paid almost 10 years ago in order to take over the property, demolish the buildings and redevelop it. 14th & You has a great assessment of the article. “‘We’re living on a gold mine!’ one resident protested. ‘You can live on the gold mine for the rest of your life!’ said Monument’s Josh Olsen… ‘You’re not going to get gold out of the gold mine unless you sell!’ ”
Evans Rents Campaign Office Space on 14th Street
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans (D) will locate his re-election campaign office in the front part of the Abdo Development office at 1402 14th Street NW in Logan Circle, according to his spokesman Andrew Huff. (A few months ago we reported that the space would become an Italian restaurant, though it looks like those plans are on hold for now.) An August 1 opening is expected for the campaign office. Why the early opening? Normally, D.C. primary elections are held in September, but in 2012, the primaries for local offices will be held in conjunction with the U.S. presidential primary on April 3.
Evans was first elected to the Council of the District of Columbia in the 1991 special election. Prior to the Council, he served as chair of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission. Evans’ campaign chair is Washington Nationals Vice President Gregory McCarthy and his treasurer is James Kane. Evans was challenged in the 2008 Democratic Primary by Cary Silverman (who has since moved to Maryland).
VIDA Fitness Faces Opposition to Penthouse Pool Lounge
With opening day of the newest VIDA Fitness location at 1612 U Street just a few weeks away, owner David von Storch is facing a liquor license protest for the planned rooftop pool and lounge scheduled to open later this year. In his column for the Washington Blade, business advocate Mark Lee summarizes the protest by the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission and a group of vocal neighbors of the project. VIDA is putting the finishing touches on a $15 million renovation of the former Results Gym.
ANC Redistricting Up Next
The City Council passed and the mayor signed legislation last week for redrdawing the city’s eight ward boundaries, a task that is required after each U.S. Census. The only big changes in the area are that Shaw is going to Ward 6 while some of downtown/Chinatown is going to Ward 2 from Ward 6 (and some of the National Mall goes to Ward 6 as well).
Next up is redrawing the boundaries for the city’s 37 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. Locally, Dupont Circle is served by ANC 2B, Logan Circle is in ANC 2F and the U Street corridor is in ANC 1B. The ideal size, as mandated by city statute, is 2,000 residents and this means some new seats will have to be added to reflect D.C.’s increased population in the 2010 Census. However, the number of commissioners on each ANC can vary widely. 2F currently has six members, 2B has nine and 1B has 11 members. Population growth in the U Street and Logan Circle areas will surely require the addition of seats and moving of boundaries.
Councilmembers appoint task force members for their respective wards to work on ANC redistricting. The city requires that the process be completed within 90 days after the Ward boundaries are redrawn — which means a deadline of the third week of September.