by Borderstan.com June 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"U Street"

2012 archaeological dig of Camp Baker. (Courtesy African American Civil War Museum)

Many neighborhood residents know about U Street’s historic past as a vibrant community of African-Americans during the first half of the 20th Century. Commonly referred to as “Black Broadway,” the U Street neighborhood was a hub for African-American entertainment venues, businesses, civil organizations and homes.

But why did U Street become such a center for African-American life in the early 20th Century? According to Dawn Chitty, education director at the African American Civil War Museum, part of the answer may lie beneath the field of Garrison Elementary school on S Street NW.

At the beginning of the Civil War, this area of DC was essentially rural. When the federal government bought property along Vermont Avenue NW near Logan Circle, the site was home to only a small church and a few graves.

Camp Barker Comes to a Rural Area

On this land, the federal government built Camp Barker as a barracks for Civil War soldiers. But as the war progressed, the government determined there was a more pressing need for Camp Barker.

The Confiscation Acts of 1861 and 1862 authorized the confiscation of any Confederate property, including slaves, by Union forces. As seized property, the formerly enslaved were considered contraband, and these people needed somewhere to go.

In the late spring of 1862, Camp Barker became one of a few hundred “Contraband Camps” that were built to house formerly enslaved persons. At its height, Camp Barker housed roughly 4,000 people and was one of the largest Contraband Camps in the area.

Growth Through the Civil War

The camp had at least one large building, a hospital area, and, of course, housing. Many people living in the camp found work in the city as domestics and laborers. When the Union began forming regiments of “Colored Troops” in 1863, they recruited from the Contraband Camps.

President Lincoln often passed by Camp Barker on his way to the Soldier’s Home, and in the fall of 1862 he visited the camp. This photograph of children singing during the visit is the only known photograph of the site.

“The significance of the camp is in what becomes of the inhabitants afterwards,” says Chitty. “Many of the inhabitants bought property and built homes, and many of them built homes around the Camp Barker Site. This became U Street.”

Camp Barker did not have sufficient clean water and adequate sewage, and an outbreak of cholera forced the government to shut it down in late 1863. When the camp closed, many of the inhabitants relocated to another contraband camp on the site of what is now Arlington Cemetery, but others bought property and stayed nearby.

“There was one woman in particular who wrote to her family to say she was not coming back to Virginia,” says Chitty. “She said she was going to stay here because her son had built a good home for them on Boundary Street, which is what they called what is now Florida Avenue and U Street.”

Archaeological Dig at Garrison School

In July 2012, The African American Civil War Museum conducted an archaeological survey of the field behind Garrison Elementary school. The survey is part of a larger project meant to take the study of these Contraband Camps to the next level, to understand how many of them became communities and what became of the people living there.

The Museum brought in an archaeologist to perform magnetometry, which detects metal underground, and ground-penetrating radar. The results of the survey show the different time periods when the site was most active. Most recently, in the 1930s to 1950s, you can see the imprint of where 12th Street NW used to run all the way through what is now the Garrison Field, the remains of the old Garrison school building which faced 12th Street and imprints of where houses used to be located.

The survey also found several areas, marked in blue on the map shown here, where objects from Camp Barker would likely be found.

If you dug in these areas, you would likely find objects that people lost or threw away. You would find the privies, which can give a good sense of diseases and food ways. You might find more permanent structures built on the site, although it is unclear from the maps of the time exactly where Camp Barker’s main building stood.

There are no plans at present to do any digging on the site, but it is a possibility for the future. For now, the goal is to chart these sites and encourage others to work collaboratively to learn more about them. Many people can trace back their family histories to these Contraband Camps, and they played an important role not only in the Civil War, but also in what happened in the communities after the War.

Says Chitty, “I knew that Camp Barker was there, but over the course of the project I see more how the history of the site is important not just to Garrison Elementary, but to the community as well.”

"U Street"

Camp Barker. (National Archives)

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by Borderstan.com May 8, 2013 at 10:00 am 1,490 0

"Harrison"

Harrison Playground and Recreation Center Renovation plans. (Courtesy Bennet Group)

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

The Harrison Playground and Recreation Center, located in the 1300 block of V Street NW, is closed for renovations starting immediately. Construction is expected to continue throughout the summer, with the playground reopening in August. The baseball field will remain open during construction, but the rest of the site will be closed to the public. The project is part of Mayor Gray’s “Play DC” initiative which will improve 32 playgrounds across the city this year.

LSG Landscape Architecture designed the playground with input from the Department of Parks and Recreation and the community, especially the Friends of Harrison Recreation Center. The play space will be expanded slightly to encompass the trees that are currently in the baseball field.

Features of Renovated Playground

The entire playground will have a musical theme throughout, a nod to the U Street corridor’s cultural history. Features of the newly designed play space include:

  • A splash playground area, swings and separate play areas for ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12
  • Picnic benches, cooking grills and water fountains
  • Improved LED lighting on the basketball court and power outlets on the baseball field
  • Green features, including a permeable foam playground surface, a rain garden and community planters
  • Seating, including small bleachers for the baseball field
  • New rodent-resistant garbage and recycling cans

The Bennett Group is heading up construction of the project. They expect to begin surveying the site this week and will begin demolition shortly thereafter. They plan to use a curb cut already existing on V Street to access the site, and do not expect to need additional street parking in front of the site to accommodate construction equipment.

They will be constructing a temporary fence in the foul area of the baseball field to accommodate construction vehicles, and will coordinate with the field’s permitted users when construction of the fences is underway. The expected hours of construction are Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5 pm. Most of the construction noise should be limited to the demolition period.

DPR will be updating their website with the plans for the project within the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can get a sneak peak at what the playground will look like in the photos below. DPR’s Stacie West says that DPR is committed to buying high quality equipment that will be durable for years to come. DPR is also working on a contract to have all playground surfaces inspected and repaired annually.

The improved space should make Harrison a real neighborhood destination, whether you are a parent with young children looking to cool off in the sprayground, have an older child at one of the three nearby charter schools that frequent the playground or are looking for a good place to have a picnic or read a book under a tree.

"Harrison"

Features of the renovated Harrison Playground and Recreation Center.

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by Borderstan.com May 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Grown"

Come to the Marie Reed Elementary School on Sunday. (Courtesy of Yachad)

This Sunday, May 5, Yachad (yah-khad) will be hosting a Grown Up Field Day (ages 18+) at Marie Reed Elementary School full of obstacle courses, relay races, mind challenges and field games, all with a home-repair twist. The competition will run from 11:45 am to 3 pm and will be followed with bar specials in Adams Morgan.

Teams of four to six people will compete for glory, beer specials and bragging rights, as well as prizes. The best team, worst team and best-costumed team will receive prizes from partners including Balance Gym, Pleasant Pops, Vita Coco, KIND Snacks and others. Other partners include Millie & Al’s, Grand Central, The Blaguard, Tryst, Kickball365, Landshark Lager, Captain Cookie and the Milk Man, Los Lobos Burrito Cart and more.

Individual or team registration is open for $25/participant. Limited individual registration will be open the day of for an additional $10/participant. Marie Reed is at 2201 18th Street NW.

One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the event will benefit Yachad and its young professionals network, Yachad United. Yachad’s mission is to bring communities together by preserving affordable homes and revitalizing neighborhoods throughout the DC area. Yachad United needs to raise money in order to complete two large scale repair projects throughout the year. Not coincidentally, one of the repair projects will take place at Marie Reed Elementary School.

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by Borderstan.com April 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"hardware"

Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Eleven years ago Gina Schaefer and her husband, Marc Friedman, had the somewhat unconventional idea to open a hardware store that would serve local customers doing home improvement projects.

The couple, then residents of Logan Circle (now living in Shaw), wanted to fix up their condo with locally purchased goods rather than have to drive across the city (or the suburbs) to get home repair supplies.

In March 2003, Gina and Mark opened Logan Hardware at 1416 P Street NW. Little did they know that their dream to open a local hardware store would start them on their way to a small empire of nine urban Ace hardware stores from DC to Baltimore.

Beginning this week, customers will be able to purchase items from the new Made in DC program which spotlights locally made merchandise.

Since opening Logan Hardware, their stores have employed more than 300 people, made 300,684 house keys, mixed more than 42,000 gallons of paint, and served more than one million customers. Logan Hardware’s most popular item: light bulbs.

On March 2, Logan Hardware hosted a 10th Anniversary celebration to show their appreciation for local residents with a 20 percent- off discount throughout the store and a raffle that benefited House of Ruth and Jubilee Jobs.

Made in DC Program

Beginning this week, customers will be able to purchase items from the new Made in DC program which spotlights locally made merchandise. The first products come from local crafter Tina Seamonster, who is offering up altered DC flag and cat, dog and bike magnets, DJ cat tote bags, zombie magnets and more.

Also new in the store: Look for spring flowers for your garden, a new line of nostalgic candy and sodas and an expanded pet section that includes Bully Sticks, Blackstone dog food, and more.

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by Borderstan.com March 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Artspace"

ArtSpace at 6th and S Streets NW. (Allison Acosta)

In the basement of the New Community Church at 6th and S Streets NW, ArtSpace DC has offered local residents from all walks of life the opportunity to develop their artistic talents for more than a decade.

ArtSpace’s mission is to act as a “conduit for personal and community expression, empowering participants to find their artistic voice, celebrate the beauty of the world that surrounds us and expose what needs to change with powerful visual statements.”

The church has served the Shaw community for nearly 30 years. In 1984, they purchased what was then an abandoned and dilapidated property on a block known for drug deals from the DC Government. With help from church members, neighbors, and Manna, a non-profit that renovates and builds affordable housing founded by the church’s leader, the Reverend Jim Dickerson, the property was restored and reopened to the community.

In 1999 Rachel Dickerson Brunswick, Dickerson’s daughter, returned to Washington, DC after studying the visual arts in college. Shaw community members, seeing how much their children enjoyed the arts in the church’s after school program, decided they wanted a space of their own to explore their creative sides. Artspace was opened, and volunteer artists have offered affordable classes to the community ever since.

“It really is a community-based setting, and I think that’s what appeals to a lot of people,” says Brunswick. “It’s a mix of people that we’ve always had. And the people that come around are really interesting. Everybody’s got a story.”

Maybelle Taylor Bennett has offered a popular fiber arts class from the very beginning, offering instruction in weaving on any of several looms as well as knitting and crochet. Artspace is also host to a ceramics class and offers students access to three electric potter’s wheels and a kick wheel, as well as a kiln. Artspace offers Open Studio nights on Mondays.

Spring classes are now forming. Artspace has recently added a black and white darkroom and a darkroom class begins March 21. The newest addition to the class schedule is a Toddler Open Studio Class for young children and their caregivers being offered Mondays at 10am starting April 1.

Volunteers and donations of art supplies are always welcome at ArtSpace. The space has hosted cooking classes and workshops, bookmaking classes, yoga classes, acoustic musical performances, art exhibitions, and movie screenings. You can sign up for a class of for the email list at dc.artspace[AT]gmail.com.

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by Borderstan.com March 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Hardware"

Look for locally made products in stores beginning in April. (Courtesy Logan Hardware)

Five locally owned Ace Hardware stores, including Borderstan’s own Logan Hardware, are teaming up with Think Local First DC to spotlight locally made products in their stores.

The goal of the program, called “Made in DC” is to offer local vendors an opportunity to sell their products in a larger market and to create a sense of community within the stores while supporting small businesses. The stores will choose one vendor per quarter to showcase on an endcap.

Vendors must live in DC and produce their products locally. Ace is looking for products that fit into one of their departments, and vendors must be able to fill the shelving allotment available.

The first deadline for applications is this Friday, March 15, but the program will continue to accept applications to bring in new vendors. To learn more about the program and to apply, please visit Made in DC.

You can look for locally made products in stores beginning in April.

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by Borderstan.com March 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"St. Patrick's Day"

Shaw’s Tavern at Florida and 6th NW is ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for a good place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the neighborhood? This Sunday, check out the first annual Shaw’s Community St. Patrick’s Day Street Festival.

The festival, sponsored by Shaw’s Tavern, will take place on March 17 from 11 am to 5 pm on 6th Street NW between Florida Avenue and S Streets.

The festival will include an extended beer garden, including green beer and traditional Irish fare.

Entertainment will include live music by local bluegrass, Irish and jazz combos King Street Bluegrass, DC Swing! and Superior Cling, as well as Irish Step dancers from the Boyle School of Irish dancing. Check back for a schedule of events.

Bring the kids and let them explore a fun house and a rock climbing wall. A face painter, airbrush tattoo artist and balloon artist will also be on hand to amuse the little ones.

Local groups will have information booths lining the street, including Artspace DC, DC Public Library, MPD Neighborhood Watch, Howard University Hospital, Car2Go, Red Bull and local politicians.

The festival is free of charge and will be held rain or shine!

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by Borderstan.com March 1, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Intersections"

Intersections on U Street NW were among the most dangerous. (Allison Acosta)

A new report from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) shows that many of the crashes involving injury to pedestrians and cyclists in 2010-2012 took place in Borderstan’s neighborhoods. The DDOT report analyzed the top 5 percent high hazard locations using data from crash reports over the last three years.

Of the 24 hotspots for pedestrian crashes in DDOT’s report, 10 were in the Borderstan area. Four of the most dangerous intersections for cyclists were in our neighborhoods.

The stretch of U Street and Florida Avenue between 6th Street and 18th Street NW seemed to be particularly dangerous, with 15 crashes involving pedestrians and 13 involving cyclists.

The city’s most dangerous intersection was at 14th and U Streets. Pedestrians were struck by vehicles seven times and cyclists six times at this corner, adjacent to the Reeves Center. This corner has long been one of the most hazardous in the city.

DDOT spokesperson Monica Hernandez said the U Street Streetscape project will include work to smooth pavement and sidewalks between 9th and 14th Streets along U Street NW. It will also make the sidewalk on the south side of U Street between 13th and 14th Streets ADA compliant, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, the project does not include plans to improve signage or pavement markings at these intersections.

According to the report, the intersection at 18th and Florida Ave has already undergone construction to improve safety and an improved design has been completed for the intersection 13th and K Streets. Improved pavement markings and signage were recommended for several of the other intersections in our area.

On March 13th, Noah Smith (ANC 2B09) plans to introduce a resolution on the recently introduced Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013 at 2B’s ANC meeting. Smith’s amendments will aim to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in the bill originally introduced by Council members Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells.

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by Borderstan.com February 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"school"

Tips on navigating the public charter school lottery system. (Allison Acosta)

More than 43 percent of all public school children in DC attend one of the 57 Public Charter Schools spread across the city on 102 campuses.

Charter schools are publicly funded and tuition-free schools that are open to all DC children. They are exempt from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools, but they must achieve certain results which are set forth in each school’s charter. The DC Public Charter School Board is responsible for oversight of the charter schools.

Each charter school has its own application and lottery process. This year, for the first time, most DCPCS will have an application deadline of March 15, run their lotteries on March 22 and have a deadline of April 22 for parents to accept a spot before the schools move on to their wait lists.

Unlike the DC Public School lottery, in which parents must narrow their choices down to six options and in which preference is given for living in close proximity to the school, parents can apply to as many DCPCS as they wish and have an equal chance to anyone else in the city.

Most, if not all, charter schools give a preference to siblings of children already at the school. There are a handful of schools that fill spots in their classrooms in the order that applications were submitted, but most schools accept applications until a certain date and then hold a lottery.

For many schools, applying is as easy as entering name, date of birth and address information on a website, but some schools require you to apply in-person or fax in your application.

With so many charter schools in the city, deciding which schools to focus on can be daunting. Word of mouth is a great way to begin gathering information about schools. Ask your friends and neighbors what they like and dislike about the schools their children attend.

On the Charter School Board’s website, you can search for schools by location and name and view demographic information, a description of each school, and a detailed “School Performance Scorecard.” The Charter school board ranks schools into three tiers, with Tier 3 schools being underperforming.

The new website, Apply DC Charters, has basic information about the 85 schools participating in the March 15 application deadline, including upcoming open house dates. You can search the website by location, grade levels, and programs, such as arts-integration or interscholastic sports.

The website GreatSchools also has school profiles for DCPS, public charter schools, and private schools. GreatSchools has a ranking system that is currently based on test scores for Grades 3 and higher, and academic growth from year to year, so if you are researching a newer school there may be no ranking or limited data behind the ranking. On the GreatSchools website, you can also sort schools by their “specialty,” such as a dual-language curriculum or a Montessori program.

There are several public charter schools within the Borderstan area. Below is a list of DCPCS serving pre-school and elementary school aged students in Borderstan, along with the dates of upcoming Open Houses.

Both DCPS and DCPCS will complete their lotteries by the end of March. With large numbers of parents entering the lottery for six DCPS and any number of charter schools, expect wait lists to move significantly over the summer and into the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

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by Borderstan.com February 11, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Matchbox"

Matchbox at 14th and T Streets NW. (Allison Acosta)

Starting Monday, February 11, Matchbox‘s location at 1901 14th Street will be open for lunch at 11am on weekdays.

Matchbox opened on 14th Street NW, last November 2012, with Executive Chef Jeffrey Richardson leading the kitchen.

The lunch menu will offer the same wood-fired pizzas, salads, and sandwiches available during dinner service.

The full menu will also be available “to go” at the T street entrance behind the 65-person patio, which is expected to open in late spring.

Matchbox will continue to offer brunch on the weekends starting at 10am.

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by Borderstan.com February 8, 2013 at 9:30 am 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Post"

The Washington Post at 1150 15th Street. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The Washington Post reports they are considering a move from their downtown headquarters at 15th and L Streets NW. The Post has chosen two firms, Studley and JM Zell Partners, to advise them as they decide whether to sell the property and relocate to a “more modern, bright, open and efficient building.”

The Post Co.’s offices have been located at 1150 15th Street since 1950. For decades, The Washington Post was printed inside the downtown headquarters but, as the paper’s readership shifted to the suburbs, the Post Co. opened presses in Maryland and Virginia, and stopped printing papers downtown.

The newsroom at the Post reached iconic status when filmmakers recreated the fifth floor of the building for the 1976 film about the Watergate scandal, “All the President’s Men.” In recent years, the newsroom’s staff size has been significantly reduced as circulation and advertising revenue has declined.

The Post owns several properties on the block, including 1515 L Street, 1523 L Street, and 1150 15th Street, as well as the land at an 1100 15th Street building that is currently for sale. It’s possible that all the properties could be sold to one developer for a large-scale project.

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by Borderstan.com January 31, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Ross School"

Ross Elementary School on the 1700 block of R Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC Public Schools (DCPS) opened the annual Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten and Out-Of-Boundary lottery application on January 28th. Parents have until February 25 to consider the options and narrow their choices down to six programs. DC Public Charter Schools operate their own lotteries that are separate from the DCPS lottery. This year, most charter schools have an application deadline of March 15.

Parents of young children who will be age 3 or 4 by October 2013 must apply to the Preschool/PreK lottery if they wish to enroll their children in DCPS. Although many Preschool and PreK spots are available, children are not guaranteed access to these programs.

If you have a child Kindergarten age (5) or older, you are guaranteed enrollment at your local DCPS. Borderstan residents are zoned for one of the following DC Public Elementary Schools: Cleveland, Francis-Stevens, Garrison, Marie Reed, Ross, Seaton or Thomson. If you wish to enroll your child at a school other than the one you are assigned, you can apply to the Out-Of-Boundary Lottery.

The DCPS lottery application allows you to choose up to six school programs, ranked in order of your preference. Some schools offer two programs; for example Marie Reed and Cleveland offer both dual language Spanish/English and English-only programs. Each program counts as one of your six lottery choices. If your child wins a spot at a school, he or she will be waitlisted at any school you ranked higher on your list, but not at schools you ranked lower.

In order to help you decide which six programs to list on your lottery application, you may want to start asking your friends, neighbors, and even strangers on the playground where their children go to school and what they see as the school’s strengths and weaknesses. You can find demographic information, test scores, and more on the DCPS school profiles website which allows you to sort by grade level, location, and special programs. The website www.greatschools.org also has school profiles for DCPS, public charter schools, and private schools.

As you contemplate which schools to put on your DCPS lottery application, you may want to consider the chances of winning a spot at that school. The DCPS lottery gives preference to children who live in-boundary (for Preschool and Pre-K), for children who have a sibling at the school, and for children who live within a “reasonable walking distance” (within a 3,000 foot square) of the school. Past lottery results can be a helpful guide, as some of the most sought after schools rarely admit students from out-of-bounds.

Open Houses

Once you have narrowed down your choices, most schools offer open houses where you can meet the principal and get a walk-through of the school. Below is a list of the upcoming open houses for Borderstan’s schools:

  • Cleveland: February 13 at 9 am; and April 17 at 9 am.
  • Francis-Stevens: February 7 at 8:30 am; February 12 at 8:30 am; February 16 at 10 am; February 21 at 8:30 am.
  • Garrison: February 2 at 9 am; February 5 at 9 am; and February 19 at 7:30 am.
  • Marie Reed: March 30 at 9 am.
  • Ross: February 22 am time TBD; and March 15 am time TBD.
  • Seaton: March 31 time TBD; and March 6 time TBD.
  • Thomson: February 7 at 9:30 am; and March 21 at 9:30 am.

The lottery results will be posted online March 8, and you will be able to access your results with the number you receive when you submit your application. With large numbers of parents entering the lottery for six DCPS and several charter schools, expect wait lists to move significantly over the summer and into the beginning of the next school year.

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by Borderstan.com January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

"Energy"

The DC SEU offers help and technical assistance. (Luis Gomez Photos)

SEU Offers Help Center

New regulations are rolling out that will affect all buildings in DC over 50,000 gross square feet (gsf) in size. Effective January 18, with deadlines phased in through 2014, owners of large DC buildings must measure and report their energy and water use to the District Department of Environment (DDOE) using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s no-cost ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager tool.

These new regulations were established as part of the Green Building Act of 2006 (GBA) and the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 (CAEA).

In order to help building owners and property managers comply with the new requirements, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DC SEU) is offering a Benchmarking Help Center that will provide technical assistance on reporting and connect building owners to the SEU’s energy efficiency programs. The Help Center can be reached at (202) 525-7036 or at mbenchmarking[AT]dcseu.com. Details of upcoming trainings, to be held on Wednesdays in February and March, can be found on the DDOE website.

“The Benchmarking Help Center complements the wide range of sustainable energy services the DC SEU currently offers to District building owners,” said DC SEU Managing Director Ted Trabue. “This is a great resource to help these building owners understand their requirements under the new regulation, and more importantly, harness the information they will be gathering to help them save money and energy.”

The reporting deadline for all buildings over 100,000 gsf is April 1, 2013. Buildings larger than 50,000 gsf are due to report by April 1, 2014. Thereafter, all commercial and multifamily buildings over 50,000 gsf will be required to report benchmarking data to the District on April 1 of every year.

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by Borderstan.com January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am 3 Comments

"Howard"

Howard Town Center on George Avenue NW ready for a make over? (Allison Acosta)

From Allison Acosta. Email her at allison[AT]borderstan.com.

Plans are in progress to revive an underused property across from Howard University Hospital at Georgia Avenue and V Streets NW. The development, known as the Howard University Town Center, would encompass 2100-2146 Georgia Avenue. Plans include a 41,000 foot grocery store, a 15,000 foot apparel store, a national or regional bank, and 445 apartments with 320 underground parking spaces. Eighty-eight of the apartments, or 20%, would be dedicated for affordable housing built to the same standard of quality as the market rate units.

Fresh Grocer, a Philadelphia-based chain that focuses on urban locations, has signed on to anchor the site.

This project has a long and somewhat complicated history. Last December, the City Council voted to extend a tax abatement to the project, despite city Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi’s analysis that no tax abatement is necessary to move forward the financing for the project. Now Mayor Gray must decide whether to include the abatement in the DC Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 or 2014.

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