by Borderstan.com October 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm 0

"14th and U"

Working to make 14th and U more sustainable. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

The first meeting for Brianne Nadeau’s 14th and U Green Initiative will be Tuesday, October 2 at 7 pm at the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments (2001 15th Street NW).

Nadeau’s initiative aims to resolve quality of life issues that are constantly under discussion in the growing neighborhood (i.e., trash, parking and congestion), while simultaneously promoting programs already in place and establishing more long-term sustainable solutions for the area.

“Sustainable growth is smart growth,” said Nadeau, who is now vice chairperson of the Ward One Democrats. “We need to think creatively about green space and piggyback with local businesses and the community’s development.”

The agenda for the first meeting includes the following:

  • Discuss the goals and vision for a sustainable neighborhood.
  • Learn more about how the group’s goals fit into plans for the entire city.
  • Begin planning an eco-fair for the neighborhood.
  • Identify eco-captains for the initiative.
The meeting is open to the public; please RSVP to Brianne[AT}briannekn.com.

by Borderstan.com September 21, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"Fashion"

Fashion Night Out  on September 6. (Dafna Steinberg)

From Dafna Steinberg. Follow her @AlizaySteinberg. Email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com.

For the most part, DC’s Fashion’s Night Out on on September 6 took place in Georgetown. There was a lot of fanfare around it this year, as it was a pretty big event. But while everyone was rushing to see and be seen, a few 14th and U Street boutiques were doing their own thing away from the hustle and bustle of M Street. I hit two events, one at Redeem (1734 14th Street, NW) and the other at Lettie Gooch (1517 U Street, NW).

Redeem had a laid back evening of Hendrick’s gin fizzes and new fall looks. The store was showcasing their newest design brands Carla Fernandez (for women) and Munsoo Kwon (for men). I personally fell in love with Munsoo Kwon’s striking designs for men. Both designers had bold looks, something that we need more of in DC.  Mutiny, Redeem’s resident pop up shop, also had some cool new things: short novellas from famous authors, men’s accessories, and hygiene products, in addition to the usual array of fun trinkets.

After enjoying some drinks and snacks, I headed over to Lettie Gooch for their Champagne, Clutches and Couture evening. There was already a frenzy of women there in high gear shopping mode. DJ Munch was in the window playing upbeat music that put everyone in a party mood. Besides some great sale items, Lettie Gooch featured fall looks from old and new designers as well as great handcrafted leather handbags from Diamantina Bags. Cork Wine Bar was also there, providing delicious champagne cocktails.

Seeing so much stylish fall clothing definitely made me excited for the upcoming cooler weather. It was also great to see so many fashionable people out enjoying the evening.  Perhaps more boutiques will get involved next year, and we can bring FNO to the U Street Corridor.

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by Borderstan.com August 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Farmers Market"

The 14 & U Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If you’re grilling out or picnicking this last weekend of summer, chances are, the farmers market at 14th and U Streets NW has just what you need for your menu. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.

Weekend Finds

  • Truck Patch has barbecued ribs, chops, shoulder and sausages; Pecan Meadow has grass fed and finished beef brigade, as well as goat, duck and rabbit.
  • For fruit, expect peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, strawberries, blackberries and grapes and figs. And what’s a summer cookout without a watermelon? There are plenty of those to go around, too.
  • Whisked is ready with six-and-nine-inch pies, savory and sweet.
  • For the veggie lovers, carts are overflowing with mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, squash, zucchini and eggplant.

And for those who need a little inspiration or entertainment, Chef Harper McClure of the Federalist will conduct a cooking demo at 11 am. The market is open on Saturday, September 1 from 9 am until 1 pm. For more information, visit the Facebook page.

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by Borderstan.com August 28, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,754 0

"green 14 & U"

Can the 4th and U  area become a sustainable, green district. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

Real estate developers, small business owners and restaurant entrepreneurs see a lot of economic potential in the flourishing 14th and U Streets area. But when Brianne Nadeau peers into the crystal ball of the popular neighborhood, she envisions another kind of green; she sees potential in a highly sustainable and community-driven district.

“The 14th and U area is thriving right now,” said Nadeau, a former commissioner, secretary, vice chair and chairperson of ANC 1B. “So now is a great opportunity to create a sustainability district in our city.”

And so Nadeau is doing just that, as she works to spearhead the early stages of a 14th and U green initiative. The initiative aims to resolve quality of life issues that are constantly under discussion in the growing neighborhood (i.e., trash, parking and congestion), while simultaneously promoting programs already in place and establishing more long-term sustainable solutions for the area.

“Sustainable growth is smart growth,” said Nadeau, who is now vice chairperson of the Ward One Democrats. “We need to think creatively about green space and piggyback with local businesses and the community’s development.”

Examples Nadeau gave for the initiative, include ideas such as options to buy into solar power systems, creating community composting opportunities, promoting existing Federal sustainability programs and working with community organizations and small businesses already promoting sustainability, such as Smucker Farms and the Farmers’ Market at the Reeve’s Municipal Center.

Nadeau’s long-term goal for the project is to make the neighborhood a friendlier environment for community engagement. “I want people in the neighborhood to come together,” said Nadeau, who helped start the popular U Street Movie Series for this reason.

For now, Nadeau is working to set-up a community meeting sometime in September. The meeting will give residents a chance to become involved in the initiative and to discuss next steps for implementation. Nadeau has also reached out to neighborhood associations and ANC groups for additional input/ partnerships, and plans to work with other city-wide organizations in the future. The date and time of the meeting are not yet set — stay tuned to Borderstan.com for more information on the project.

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by Borderstan.com August 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,090 0

"Borderstan" "Louis 14th"

A rendering of the luxury apartment building, Louis, at 14th and U NW. Construction is scheduled to finish in December 2013. (Courtesy of JBG Cos.)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

The sound of constant construction has become standard (dare I even say, somewhat soothing) along 14th Street NW. But don’t get too used to it. In just 17 months, the construction on the southwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW (the site of the future Louis luxury apartment building) will be completed.

I know, December 2013 is pretty far away. But here’s the progress you can expect to see this coming month:

  • Demolition of the back half of the structure will begin, as the last of the current occupants vacate.
  • The tower crane will be installed at the construction site.
  • Sheeting and shoring will be completed.

Construction on the Louis apartment building started in February 2012 with demolition. The building, developed by JBG Companies, will include 267 apartment units in nine floors, as well as 30,000-square feet of street-level retail.

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by Borderstan.com June 22, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,106 1 Comment

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

A new post office located at the Reeves Center is scheduled to open on Saturday, June 30, according to a message posted by Councilmember, Jim Graham, on the U Street News forum. This new location replaces the former post office 14th Streets between T Street and Wallach Place NW, which closed this past spring.

"Post Office at Reeves Municipal Center DC"

Work is underway in the relocated Post Office Branch in the Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U Streets NW. The entrance is on the 14th Street side. (Borderstan)

The Reeves Center site occupies a larger space on the ground floor with direct street access and (hopefully) shorter lines than the old location. The Reeves Center is at 2000 14th Street NW, the northwest corner of 14th and U. The post office at 1915 14th Street left its location — in a one-story post-1968 building — following a decision to transform the space into an apartment building with first-floor retail at the southeast corner of 14th Street and Wallach Place NW.

Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) announced on March 30 that the lease for the new post office branch was a done deal. Given the U.S. Postal Service’s budget deficit (and the closure of many branches nationally), there was a real possibility this branch would not be relocated.

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by Borderstan.com June 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,405 0

"Louis"

Construction at the Louis, southwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com

You’ve walked by the construction numerous times on your way to yoga, out to dinner and even en route to late night drinks. And yet, you have no idea what lies behind the dirt and crane abyss at the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW.

Well, my friends, that construction lot is the site of a new luxury apartment complex. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. (See Plans Unveiled for the Louis at 14th/U; Will Remake Famous Corner.)

The Louis, which is expected to be completed in December 2013 by JBG Cos., is currently in the initial stages of development. As of now, the initial excavation, street level demolition and the preliminary foundation work is complete.

So what can we expect these next few months? In early-to-mid July, the tower crane foundation will be installed to allow concrete foundations to begin by August 1st. And in August, the development company will begin selective demolitions of nearby U Street properties.

For more information, stay tuned to Borderstan or register for updates on the complex’s website.

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by Borderstan.com May 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,855 0

"DC Noodles" "Stem"

On July 1, DC Noodles will close for one year while work gets underway on JBG's Louis residential-commercial complex at 14th and U Streets NW. When owner Sak Pollert reopens he will use the space occupied by Stem to increase the size of the restaurant. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos on Picplz and at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

The popular U Street eatery DC Noodles will close for one year on July 1 as construction on the huge JBG Cos. project, the Louis, takes off at the southwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW. According to DC Noodles owner Sak Pollert, the restaurant has a tentative reopening date of July 1, 2013. Pollert also owns the next-door boutique, Stem, which will not reopen next year. (See Plans Unveiled for the Louis at 14th/U; Will Remake Famous Corner.)

“We will use the Stem space to increase the size of DC Noodles,” Pollert said. He also owns Rice Restaurant on 14th Street NW. Pollert said Stem’s closing sale begins Tuesday, with 40% to 60% off all merchandise. The two businesses are at 1412 U Street NW.

Utopia has already temporarily closed their doors due to construction work on the Louis. The 24/7 coffee shop has relocated to the northwest corner of 15th and U Streets NW under the name Mediterranean (former site of Love Cafe). However, Coppi’s Organic Restaurant will be able to stay open during the work. Certain buildings with historic facades, including the former El Paraiso restaurant building on 14th, the McDonald’s at the corner, and the stretch of buildings on U Street — the former 24/7, DC Noodles/Stem, Coppi’s Organic and Utopia — are being preserved and incorporated into the Louis complex.

DC Noodles Menu at Rice

Pollert said that beginning July 1 the DC Noodles menu will be available at selected times at Rice, 1608 14th Street NW. “The DC Noodles menu will be available at Rice every day for lunch, and Sunday through Thursday for dinner,” said Pollert.

“We are looking forward to reopening DC Noodles next year. We love being a part of the U Street community,” said Pollert.

The Louis will have nine floors (seven floors on the southern end of the 14th Street side) and 268 rental units, with a mix of floor plans that includes studio apartments up to two-bedroom units –and several penthouse units on the top floor. The three-level underground parking garage will have 40 spaces for retail customers and 110 units for tenants of the rental building.

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by Borderstan.com May 22, 2012 at 11:00 am 1,822 0

"Beer Wine Neon Sign""Borderstan"

Online petition against moratorium closing in on 700 signatures. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at [email protected]

Last month, Borderstan posted an article on a potential Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license moratorium in the 14th and U Street / MidCity neighborhoods. The article highlighted an online petition, started by Bryan Martin Firvida to oppose a moratorium, which would make it more difficult, or impossible, for new businesses to obtain liquor licenses.

More than 660 supporters have signed the petition since its inception. According to Martin Firvida, 66% of the petition’s signatories live in the zip code impacted by the proposed restrictions (20009), and 82% of supporters live in 20009 and surrounding zip codes. In total, 93% of all signatories live in DC.

“An ABC License moratorium is an ineffective way to deal with the many quality of life issues that exist in the neighborhood and unfairly places the burden and responsibility of the many issues of our vibrant neighborhood only on our local businesses that happen to hold alcohol licenses,” states Martin Firvida’s petition. “No one is saying that serving alcohol doesn’t create issues, however blaming alcohol for all of the issues of a neighborhood and targeting only alcohol is short sighted and ineffective.”

Martin Firvida explained to Borderstan that he started the petition as a way for neighbors to proactively express support for our neighborhood and for taking a comprehensive approach to managing the many quality of life issues that face any dynamic neighborhood in the District, something that a moratorium simply does not do.

Martin Firvida is a past president of the U Street Neighborhood Association (USNA), elected president four times, 2002 to 2004 and again in 2010. He also served as chair of USNA’s Business Development and ABC Committee and served on the USNA Board of Directors. Martin Firvida also spent four years as a Special Assistant in the Executive Office of the Mayor and the Office of the City Administrator working on neighborhood issues.

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by Borderstan.com April 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,730 1 Comment

"Borderstan" "U and 14th Street NW", Luis, Gomez, Photos, liquor, licenses, DC, nightlife

The 14th and U corridor has become of DC’s most popular destinations for restaurants, music and clubs. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email at Tom[AT]borderstan.com and follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

Late last week, on April 25 news of an online petition opposing the possibility of an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license moratorium in the 14th and U Street / MidCity neighborhoods landed in Borderstan’s email box. Bryan Martin Firvida created the petition on the site Change.org petition on Wednesday and it is already has almost 400 signatures as of Monday morning.

Martin Firvida is a past president of the U Street Neighborhood Association (USNA), elected president four times, 2002 to 2004 and again in 2010. He also served as chair of USNA’s Business Development and ABC Committee and served on the USNA Board of Directors. Martin Firvida also spent four years as a Special Assistant in the Executive Office of the Mayor and the Office of the City Administrator working on neighborhood issues.

In their comments, the petition’s signers overwhelmingly expressed their support for the growth, diversity and development of the U street area. Former president of the U Street Neighborhood Association, Martin Firvida, a resident of the U street area,  appears to have created the petition as a preemptive measure to the possibility of a moratorium.

Martin Firvida told Borderstan, “I set up the petition as a way for my neighbors to both proactively express their support for our neighborhood, and for addressing the issues we face in a smart and comprehensive way, while also registering their opposition to an ABC license moratorium. Just like any of the vibrant neighborhoods here in the District, we have a complex mix of quality of life issues that can really only be effectively managed through ongoing collaboration — which is accomplished by bringing residents, businesses and government to the table to work together. A moratorium does none of that.”

Another factor at play in the area is a current zoning restriction, which limits the total square footage of restaurant, club and lounge storefronts to 50%. This restriction was raised from 25% in 2010, and is part of an arts overlay district that was put into place a number of years ago.

The 14th and U/MidCity neighborhoods could prove to be a tricky area to navigate for any community group hoping to build support for a moratorium. The area includes blocks in Wards 1 and 2, at least three different ANCs (1B, 2B and 2F) and just as many neighborhood associations.

Five Moratoriums in Effect

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) lists five moratorium actions in DC. The neighborhoods with liquor license moratoriums are Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Glover Park, Dupont West and Dupont East (17th Street NW).

The moratorium discussion and process begins at the level of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) or neighborhood association. Martin Firvida’s petition states, “Once again, we’re hearing the idea of a Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) License (a/k/a “a liquor license”) Moratorium being discussed for the Greater 14th and U Street Neighborhoods.”

The commercial corridors of 14th and U Streets have seen rapid residential development in the past few years and have, as a result, drawn many new restaurants and bars. New businesses that desire an ABC license must navigate their way through the choppy waters of the public protest process. In most cases, businesses end up signing the now ubiquitous “voluntary agreement” or VA and agree to limited hours in serving alcohol in order to expedite the process.

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by Borderstan.com April 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,279 2 Comments

By Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email: michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

The owner of Black and Orange, a popular local burger place at 14th and U NW, has been through the wringer with DC licensing restrictions and bares all in his interview with the Washington Blade. (See Black and Orange Opens at 14th and U.)

"Borderstan""Black & Orange""Raymold Mendizabal"

Chef and owner Raynold Mendizabal at the opening of Black & Orange in January. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Raynold Mendizabal went through legal proceedings with Rogue States, the precursor to Black and Orange. Unfortunately, his opponents objecting to the burger smell were a well-known law firm. This time, Mendizabal has been working to obtain a liquor license and regulatory approval for a sidewalk patio area.

While you may argue with Mark Lee’s favoring of the business owner over concerns of local residents, it seems difficult to conclude that the existing license and regulation system is working. For example, the nearby McDonald’s is allowed to operate 24/7. No, they do not serve alcohol (although they may serve those who have consumed it and think a Big Mac is a great 3 am idea).

But clearly an extended hours Black and Orange would still be required to observe the liquor laws, and serve only food after the booze cut-off times. Whether the protesters were aware of this, don’t care and object to late-night places in general, or simply hate the idea of more liquor licenses on the street is unclear. We do hope they inform us soon.

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