SYMHM: Michelle Grades DC Edition
From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at [email protected]
It’s the end of September already. How did that happen? For me in my day job, it means end of the month invoicing. So let’s check in on the state of the District for their monthly ‘activity report’. If you disagree with the grade, rationale or the final invoice, feel free to tell me in the comments. All agreements are considered paid in full, anything else may be subject to an upcharge.
DC Economic Health, By the Numbers
Grade: Above Average. Rationale: While every Gallup poll will show that people think the country is on the wrong path and the economy is in the toilet, recent numbers on the state of DC may indicate our little bubble is intact. The Washington Business Journal has found that some real estate is returning to pre-recession levels. Median housing prices in some parts of the area (DC, and parts of Arlington and Alexandria) are back up to the boomtime, eye-popping listing and closing figures of 2005. And our unemployment number is holding steady at 6.1% for the area and dropped .4% in DC proper. I know that’s not great news, or a surge, especially since DC’s number is one of the higher percentages in the nation (also the WBJ). But in a time of so little optimism, I’m going with no news is good news.
DC Economic Health, By the Businesses
Grade: Needs Improvement. Rationale: While the idea that a rising tide will lift all boats (see: Reaganomics), it seems the 14th Street NW corridor is a case study in what a higher tide of rent means to established at sea level businesses. The evidence is in the shuttering of businesses that helped create the growing community — 1409 Playbill Cafe (from us), PULP (DCist), go mama go (14th and You). While not all of the closures (and there are more beyond that short list) are rent-related, the majority of them are, according to their owners. If you get motivated to do something about it (at least about the building edifices), check out this awesome read on the DC Preservation League and what to expect with gentrification, growth and changes from the Washington City Paper.
DC Food and Beverage on 14th Street
Grade: Delicious. Rationale: Estadio has been open a year now to mostly rave reviews on 14th Street NW. We Love DC went back to check things out and found some yummy scallops, shrimp and wine. The success of small plates continues on the strip of street, with Cork Wine Bar as one of the original purveyors of tiny bites. But fans should be aware that Washington Post is reporting their head chef is departing. Cork has new chefs in contention already, so the bites and sips should continue with little disruption.
DC Interaction with Businesses
Grade: Needs Improvement. Rationale: Exhibit A is unfortunately the Lincoln Theatre. DCist reports that without a $500,000 infusion of cash from the city government, the Lincoln may close this year. Apparently, it costs $60,000 to run a month and they have $50,000 cash on hand. Mayor Gray has said the model is not sustainable and has, according to theatre supporters, been less than available to discuss the state of the Theatre. There are not a lot of scheduled shows there, which seems to be a cause of the cash shortage as well (at least to our untrained in theatre economics eye).
Services and Start Ups in DC
Grade: Kicking some serious butt. Rationale: Regardless of how you feel about bicyclists on your daily commute, it is difficult to argue the success of Capital Bikeshare. In one year, they have expanded service, had over one million rides and have over 1,110 bikes on hand in various areas. This is a great public/private partnership example and we hope to see more of these models emerge and thrive in the future. To celebrate or to check out the ‘hood while this current iteration still exists, check out their Vintage Shopping itinerary on The Washington Post.