46°Scattered Clouds

by Tim Regan — December 1, 2016 at 11:45 am 1 Comment

A plan to redevelop the building that holds Logan Circle’s Barrel House Liquor landmark has garnered early support from a panel of Logan Circle community members.

A development subcommittee of the neighborhood’s ANC 2F met last night to discuss a plan to turn the building at 1341 14th St. NW into a seven-story mixed-use development.

According to the plans, the new development would repurpose the building’s concrete barrel facade, which was boarded up after longtime tenant Barrel House Liquors moved next door last year.

As proposed, the redeveloped building would contain retail space, more than three dozen residential units and have entrances on both 14th Street and Rhode Island Ave. NW.

From Bonstra|Haresign Architects:

The new and renovated building will total 33,300 GSF above grade with a 3,250 GSF cellar under the eastern portion of the building. The ground floor will contain 2,720 GSF of retail, a residential lobby and four parking spaces. Floors 2-7 will contain 37 residential units. There will also be one residential unit, a small amenity terrace for the building residents, and screened mechanical equipment at the penthouse level.

Though the ANC’s committee was generally supportive of the idea, a small group of community members shared apprehension about the height and shape of the building.

“If you’re standing on Rhode Island Avenue… and then you have an 85- to 90-foot building, we’re very concerned about the mass and the size of the building,” said Greg Parks, who lives nearby.

Parks, along with four other community members, said they’d like the project delayed slightly to further discuss the design. But Parks stressed they weren’t totally in opposition to the plan.

“We support the development and concept but we do have some concerns,” Parks said.

Ultimately, the subcommittee voted unanimously to recommend that the ANC write a letter of support to the Historic Preservation Review Board. If ANC 2F during its general meeting next Wednesday votes to follow that recommendation, the matter will likely then move to the HPRB for further consideration.

Renderings via HPRB filing

by Andrew Ramonas — November 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

"Vote Here" sign

Results are in for races to serve on the District’s Advisory Neighborhood commissions, the D.C. government’s lowest level of elected office.

The vote tallies, which are still unofficial, cover dozens of ANC contests in or near the Borderstan coverage area.

As of 12:26 a.m. today, the winners (in bold) are:

(more…)

by Andrew Ramonas — November 8, 2016 at 10:30 am 3 Comments

i-voted-sticker-2016

(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) More than 100 locals who live in or near the Borderstan coverage area are running for the lowest level of elected office in the D.C. government today.

In contested Advisory Neighborhood Commission races, we’re curious who got or will get your vote. You can weigh in through the polls below and in the comments.

(more…)

by Andrew Ramonas — August 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm 1 Comment

Vote Here sign(Updated at 5:55 p.m. Aug. 21) The 2016 ballot for the lowest level of elected office in the D.C. government is now almost final.

More than 100 locals who live in or near the Borderstan coverage area have submitted nominating petitions to serve as members of the District’s Advisory Neighborhood commissions. They had until yesterday to collect the signatures of 25 of their neighbors in their single member districts and bring the paperwork to the D.C. Board of Elections.

But before the ANC candidates officially can get on the ballot, they must make it through a petition challenge period, which lasts until Aug. 22.

The candidates for the Nov. 8 general election for now include:

(more…)

by Tim Regan — July 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm 0

The head of Logan Circle’s neighborhood commission will cast a vote to nominate Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention later today.

John Fanning, chair of ANC 2F, will be among D.C.’s 44 delegates to cast a vote during today’s roll call at the convention in Philadelphia. Fanning is joined by D.C. Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Jack Evans, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mayor Muriel Bowser.

During the televised roll call vote, which is slated to begin a little after 4 p.m. today, delegates from across the country will vote to nominate the next Democratic presidential candidate in a largely symbolic contest between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton.

Fanning, who was elected as a Clinton delegate along with Evans, Nadeau and other local figures in May, said it’s a dream come true to participate in a such an important event.

“It’s something that I always wanted to do and I finally have achieved as a community activist and a community leader,” Fanning said. “And it’s a historic moment. We’re electing the first female to a major office.”

Though Fanning told us he won’t be front and center during the voting process, those watching at home might be able to spot him on camera “toward the left of the District of Columbia marker.”

“I’m just honored and grateful that I was elected to represent D.C.,” Fanning said. “It’s quite an experience that I will share more of when I return home.”

Locals can watch the convention live for free on the Democratic National Convention’s Youtube page.

by Borderstan.com — July 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm 6 Comments

"I Voted" sticker(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The race to enter (or stay in) the lowest level of elected office in the D.C. government officially has begun.

More than 20 locals who live in or near the Borderstan coverage area yesterday picked up nominating petitions to serve as members of District’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

Monday was the first day prospective candidates could get the nominating materials. They have until Aug. 10 to collect the signatures of 25 of their neighbors in their single member districts to get on the Nov. 8 ballot.

So far, the candidates include:

(more…)

by Tim Regan — May 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

John_Fanning_BorderstanA longstanding member of Logan Circle’s ANC has been chosen to help represent the District during the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

John Fanning, who serves as chair of ANC 2F, will likely head to the convention in July with a list of other delegates that includes D.C. Councilmembers Jack Evans and Brianne Nadeau, according to the preliminary election results from the May 21 D.C. Democratic Pre-Primary Qualifying Caucus.

“It’s an honor to have been selected by the voters in Wards 1, 2 ,6 and 8… and to represent them at the Democratic National Convention,” Fanning told us via email.

Fanning, along with Evans, Nadeau and other local figures, have pledged as delegates to cast a vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But getting elected wasn’t easy. According to Metro Weekly, Fanning and 59 other delegate hopefuls faced an election where “the methods of selection are so oblique, the process so tangled, it’s no wonder the average voter is clueless.”

(more…)

by Tim Regan — May 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm 6 Comments

(Updated at 4:22 p.m.) Some local dog owners are butting heads with the National Park Service and other members of the community over where their dogs should be allowed to frolic in Logan Circle park.

According to the National Park Service, leashed dogs are allowed to roam the park but are not allowed in the inner circle that surrounds the statue of Major General John A. Logan. Dog owners who disobey that rule could be cited, said to NPS spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose.

Humans, however, are allowed in the inner circle. Logan Circle’s ANC 2F discussed the issue during its monthly general meeting last week.

“There’s dogs running around the statue, kids climbing on it. All the grass is gone,” said 2F chair John Fanning during that meeting.

Fanning later added in an email to Borderstan that locals “should all be mindful and respectful that we all have a role in protecting the park’s beautification and historical significance.”

To deter dog owners from walking their dogs in the inner circle, the NPS erected signs throughout the park. But someone stole those signs on two different occasions, Rose said.

“The original signs were posted on a pole in two different entrance areas of the park,” recalled Fanning. “The replacement signs, which were posted over a year ago on the smaller fencing area… went missing one by one.”

An anonymous letter that circulated through the Logan Circle community in March lamented that dogs had filled the park’s inner circle with bare patches, holes and poop. That letter, addressed to the NPS, asked for better enforcement of the no-dogs rule.

But some members of a recently created group called “Logan Circle Dogs” are crying foul over the rule. Members say banning dogs from the circle is “a slippery slope,” as the group wrote in response to that letter.

“It should be a reminder to respect our park, if your pup digs holes, stop it; if your pup pees on the statue, stop it,” the post reads. “Let’s all respect and enjoy our park.”

(more…)

by Tim Regan — May 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm 0

Whitman-Walker Rendering

Logan Circle’s community leaders have given their blessing to a plan to redevelop Whitman-Walker Health’s former home, the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center at 14th and R streets NW.

Members of ANC 2F voted on a proposal last night to send a letter to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) commending Whitman-Walker’s design, which includes the preservation of the original Elizabeth Taylor Center as well as a new mixed-use development that would span 155,000 square feet and six stories.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — December 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Naylor Stabes

A controversial outdoor tavern won’t be coming to Shaw after all.

The proprietors behind the restaurant and bar, which had tentatively been called Naylor Stables, have recalled their liquor license application to open a new tavern at 1322 9th St. NW “due to lack of support from the neighborhood.”

According to the original liquor license application from August, the tavern would have been a “vibrant community gathering place serving kitchen-garden produce, District-made beers and spirits … grilled meats, hearth baked breads and pastries” with outdoor seating for more than 300 people.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — October 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm 0

A piece of Logan Circle’s seedier past is changing for good.

Construction crews could be seen dismantling most of the building that once held the “men’s parties” sex club at 1618 14th Street NW yesterday afternoon. Though a black tarp obscured some of the work, a quick peek behind revealed that most of the building’s interior had already been gutted. Only the building’s façade that faces Corcoran Street NW remains.

It was immediately unclear what the purpose of the work was. In February, the Washington Business Journal reported that the building’s owner was issued a permit to rebuild and repair the bottom third of the building’s façade.

The building, once known for housing the infamous “wrestling club” and “men’s parties” events, has been the talk of the neighborhood for years. A man died there in 2009, prompting the city to file suit to shut it down. After the building’s owners decided to raze it in 2013, ANC 2F debated preserving the building before ultimately granting a conditional demolition endorsement one year later.

by Tim Regan — October 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm 0

The prospect of Logan Circle’s ANC 2F pushing for a historic status for Barrel House Liquor’s façade is getting dimmer.

The commission picked apart the idea during its general meeting at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Thomas Circle last night.

A little background if you haven’t followed along thus far: Barrel House Liquor — known around the neighborhood for its iconic barrel-shaped facade at 1341 14th St. NW — announced it planned to move next door last month. Though the liquor store will live on, what might happen to the big barrel it’s leaving behind is unknown.

A week after the news broke that the liquor store would move, Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, floated the idea of saving its iconic barrel façade by applying for a historic status.

“We want to hear if this is something that the community wants to stay,” Tuma told Borderstan in September. “I personally want it. Everyone I’ve talked to wants it. But that’s the first step, that making sure this is representative of the greater community.”

Only a few parties can apply for a historic status, noted Tuma, and that includes the property owner and the local ANC. Though Tuma said he’d like the owner, Eric Meyers, to apply for the status himself, he said he was willing to push the ANC to move forward in applying with or without his help.

Some members of the public cheered on the effort. ANC 2F’s community development committee did not. Several ANC 2F commissioners echoed the committee’s skepticism last night.

Meyers spoke about the property and its iconic barrel during the meeting.

“This property has been an integral and very important part of our lives for almost 44 years,” Meyers said. “I could never conceive demolishing [the barrel], much less trying to move it anywhere.”

But Meyers stopped short of saying he wanted to apply for a historic status. “I want to make sure that the ANC understands that the property is already located in a historic district, and any renovation, any potential demolition — and I don’t know how you’d move that thing no matter what — would be subject to Historic Preservation Board approval,” he said. “But my wife and I own this property and have for decades, and we don’t intend to dispose of it.”

Meyers added that the barrel, which is made from poured concrete, cannot be moved or dismantled without destroying it.

“We will do the right thing for the property, we will do the right thing for preservation, and for the tenant if the tenant allows us to do so,” said Meyers.

Commissioner Kate Gordon, 2F-01, asked him pointedly: “Are you in favor of a historic landmark status for the facade of your building or not?”

“I am in favor of letting the Historic Preservation Board make that decision,” responded Meyers. “I am in favor of keeping it as part of any design for the property if M.G. [whose full name is Mesfun Ghebrelul] is no longer there operating in the business. I think it would be great to keep it there as a lobby or retail for the apartments above. But we’re nowhere near that sort of determination before we know more.”

Though Tuma said he felt like it was too early to push for an ANC motion, he said he’d like to see more research and documentation from architects. “I would not feel comfortable putting forth [a motion] without that kind of research,” Tuma said.

Charlie Bengel, 2F-06, strongly opposed applying for a historic landmark status for the barrel.

“Unless the owner specifically wants his property to be designated as historic, there’s no way I would ever support designating it as historic,” Bengel said.

“I think it limits his ability to run his business,” he added. “I think it would be a perfect example of government overreach to the nth degree, to the point where it could be fodder for late night comedians. I really feel strongly for private property rights.”

Commissioner and Chair John Fanning, 2F-04, echoed Bengel’s opposition to applying for a historic status.

“I think it’s kind of confusing and it’s an awkward situation because the barrel is the icon of the business,” said Fanning. “Where’s the real Barrel House? I would hope that you guys can work something out.”

Speaking from the audience, community development committee at-large representative Helen Kramer summed up her thoughts.

“I think it’s inappropriate getting involved in a landmark designation when there’s no imminent threat to the barrel,” Kramer said. “The owner of the property has stated that he has no intention of altering or destroying it, so the whole issue is moot.”

by Tim Regan — September 25, 2015 at 10:40 am 0

Talks to grant an imperiled Logan Circle liquor store’s facade a historic status may have hit some preliminary bumps in the road.

A panel of representatives and ANC 2F commissioners weighed concerns and asked questions about the idea during a community development committee meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) last night.

Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, made his case before the panel. He said that, although the owner of the building at 1341 14th Street NW and Barrel House Liquor owner Mesfun Ghebrelulare — who also goes by M.G. — are discussing ways to keep or move the facade, he’d like to have a plan in case those talks fall through.

“A lot of the members of the neighborhood and myself personally are interested in … preserving the facade of this building within the parameters of D.C.’s historic preservation law,” Tuma said. “The important thing to do is to recognize the historic landmark of this facade and begin the process of working with the D.C. government and with neighbors to ensure that, if this is what folks want, we have all our ducks lined up in a row.”

But members of the ANC’s committee had concerns about granting historic status to the building when Ghebrelulare has already said he plans to move next door.

“I’m concerned because … if that happens, are we going to have two liquor stores side-by-side?” said Helen Kramer, at-large representative. Kramer also noted that granting the property a historic status would mean that the barrel could not be “chopped off and moved somewhere else.”

“I hear your concerns,” responded Tuma. “I think we would obviously like to minimize confusion to customers and the neighborhood about where Barrel House is. I think that’s a very good point.”

But Kramer reiterated her point. “I’m just very concerned that if this is designated as a historic landmark, what are they going to do to the property?” she said. “The sensible use would be a liquor store. I don’t think it’s desirable to have two side-by-side liquor stores.”

Other concerns raised by the panel included whether the building’s facade truly is historic and whether it fits with 14th Street’s historic theme of being “automobile row.”

“The facade, which I think represents elements that people are really looking to preserve, was built in the early 1950s and has the historic … roadside style of architecture style of development that is rare in Washington D.C.,” Tuma said.

“If it is understood to be an example of roadside architecture, it could conceivably fit within the historic district as automobile row,” he added. “But that’s certainly above my pay grade. Everything is above your pay grade when you’re an ANC commissioner.”

In an interview with Borderstan, Tuma stressed that the committee’s discussion was necessary to move forward with a concrete ANC proposal.

“Those concerns that were raised in there, about confusion and potential trademark issues, are significant issues with which we’ll be concerned,” Tuma said. “But none of those independently mean that we should not investigate and concern ourselves with the historic nature of the facade.”

“I’ve shopped there for 17 years, maybe longer, and it’s a piece of history” Tuma said. “Hopefully there’s a way to preserve the architectural history and ensure that M.G. and Barrel House have another 20 years of success in the neighborhood.”

by Tim Regan — September 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

STOCK-5The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is set to install several new bike lanes in and around Logan Circle.

DDOT representatives will share the department’s plans during an upcoming ANC 2F meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) this Thursday at 7 p.m.

During the meeting, the department will give its notice of intent for installation of bike lanes in the following locations:

  • N St. NW between 15th St. and Vermont Ave. NW
  • M St. NW between 9th St. NW and Blagden Alley
  • 12th St. NW between Pennsylvania Ave. and L St. NW

If the projects meet the ANC’s approval, DDOT will begin installing the lanes in October, said department communications specialist Michelle Phipps-Evans.

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