Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are "Gentrifiers" Close-Minded?

Commenter AfroDC made the following comment to my post about Sursum Corda from December of last year:
Wow, it really is amazing to have confirmation about what African-Americans suspected of White people living in our neighborhoods. Your close-mindedness is sad. What's even worst is that you and your "hubby" are two reaons why 500 families will be displaced. The inhabitants of Sursum Corda, yes black and yes, some are drug dealers, weren't given the same opportunities as you or have the luxury to bike through and criticize someone else's neighborhood. Thank you again for confirming this for me, it helps me when we gather at nights to do our "kill-whitey" rituals.
In all honesty, I'm not losing sleep over this comment. I've engaged in this conversation many times before and frankly don't have the energy or time to write a long blogpost to defend myself nor do I think I even need to. But I thought I'd dedicate a post to the comment since I do think it's important that neighborhoods talk about these issues as they inevitably come up on a regular basis and especially whenever change comes into a neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Attendance at James Bond Film Festival in NoMa

I've received some inquiries as to how well attended the James Bond in NoMa event has been. The picture above of the July 17 Moonraker showing should answer those questions. According to the Real Estate Bisnow article accompanying the picture, NoMa BID President Liz Price says the film festival has attracted about 200 people per show.

I actually haven't gotten around to watching a show as I am never available on Thursdays but anyone has any other experiences they'd like to share about the shows?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Au Bon Pain Coming to NoMa Marriott

So my blog has been on vacation for the last month or so but I'm hoping my postings will be start to pick up again.

That said, Au Bon Pain will be opening up at the Marriott Courtyard (which is also looking like it's coming along well for its expected opening next year).

And if you haven't noticed their signs up yet at the ATF retail space, we had reported that Five Guys was coming to NoMa. It has actually been official for the last couple of weeks.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bloomingdale Farmers Market Starts This Weekend!

Sundays, May 18-November 23
10 am - 2 pm.
First & R Streets NW, next to the Big Bear Cafe


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Greyhound moving on out, eventually...

I've always wondered how the Greyhound station would fit in with all of the developments going up around it. It's been there way before "NoMa" became a real estate buzzword. At the least, I thought the station would be spruced up as its run-down state become even more glaring next to the new buildings going up.

Now I know that it's up for sale and that in fact, selling the property and moving Greyhound inside Union Station has been discussed for some time. It's also been reported that there is a lot of excitement (at least among real estate people) about Greyhound's decision to sell because its location is considered to be a key part of NoMa's redevelopment. The city would like to see First Street NE as the heart of NoMa and as a neighborhood retail center where NoMa residents can hang out.

It gets easier to visualize NoMa as a vibrant business district as we hear more about big leases being signed, etc. but I still can't visualize it as a "neighborhood." Maybe when the residential properties are completed and the Harris Teeter opens, it'll be easier to. But for now, a NoMa neighborhood is still a ways away with none of the residential properties finished (have they even started any of those buildings?) and with Greyhound still planning to lease back once they find a buyer.

Bike Rack at the NY Avenue Metro

I just noticed this bike rack by Pound today. It's kind of in a random location, not right by the metro entrance. Maybe they put them there in anticipation of more street traffic due to people attending the James Bond film festival or for the hotel and eateries opening up?

Friday, May 9, 2008

They had reckless drivers back then too....

Thanks to a Bloomingdale resident for alerting me to this photo and story of a streetcar derailment in Eckington, circa 1919. Read all about it here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Don't Forget...Artomatic Opening This Friday!

Don't forget! Over 700 artists and 300 performances will be at Artomatic 2008 and it's all starting this Friday at the Capitol Plaza I building (bad picture to the left) on 1st and M Streets, NE.

Highlights of opening weekend (from the NoMa BID press release) include:
*Unveiling of nine floors of 2-D and 3-D visual arts presentations by more than 700 local and regional artists.
*Flights of Fire--a fire dancing performance to be held outside at 9 p.m., Friday, May 9.
*"Electro-acoustic psychedelic world dance music" by Baltimore’s Telesma at 9 p.m., Friday, May 9.
*A Latin dance workshop with professional dance instructor Ibis Villegas, featuring salsa, merengue, samba, and other styles at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 10.
*Progressive rock by Guardians of Iridescence at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10.
*"The Road to Success," performance art by Carolina Mayorga in the form of a new TV game show at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10.
*New wave/indie rock by Plastiq Passion, an all-girl band from Union City, New Jersey at 11 p.m., Saturday, May 10.
*An expressive drawing workshop with Giliah Litwack at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 11.
*"In-your-face" jazz/jam music "with a touch of funk" by Bethesda, JD-based Bassment Breaks at 4 p.m., Sunday, May 11.
More information and the full schedule of events is at

Scenic Artisan at the Bloomingdale blog and other neighborhood artists will be exhibiting so more reason to go!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pound Coffee Now Has Weekend Hours

As noted earlier, Pound Coffee now has weekend hours. According to their website and from when I passed by yesterday, they are open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. So no more excuses not to try them out!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Walking Tour of Eckington

I'm posting some pics I took of the Eckington walking tour. The rest are on flickr including random pictures of the neighborhood. Eckington Tour also has some tour pictures next to pictures of Eckington way back in the day. It was a very well attended tour of about 60 people, many of whom lived in the neighborhood and in DC but also included a surprising number of people who live outside of DC.

Waiting for the tour to start in front of the ATF building

Judd & Detwiler Building/XM Satellite Building at 1500 Eckington Place, NE

Eckington School, 111 Quincy Place, NE

McKinley Technical High School, 151 T Street, NE

The Old Car Barn at 4th & T Streets, NE

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bloomingdale Farmers Market to Start in May

According to the the Washington Post's 2008 Farmers Market Guide, the Bloomingdale Farmers Market on Sundays will start back up in May. The guide actually has conflicting start dates. The Map entry lists the start date as May 3 while the Market Listings has it as May 18. Since May 3 is not even a Sunday, I think the start date will probably be May 18. I've asked for clarification but haven't heard back so if anyone knows too, let me know. Either way, I'm looking forward to this earlier start date and making a visit to the market a regular Sunday event again!

Photo by In Shaw.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

2020 Martini Cafe and Lounge Coming to North Capitol Street

For those who are dying to see some positive sign of life on North Capitol, which I'm assuming is most of Bloomingdale and Eckington, here it is.

The old firehouse will be developed into 2020 Martini Cafe and Lounge, a restaurant offering pizza, pasta, sushi, and a whole lot more.

Here is the Biz Journal article and Bloomingdale's post about this awesome news.

One thing I didn't read anywhere is when is it going to be done? It sounds like it's going to be a pretty big project requiring a complete renovation of the building. Is it too hopeful to think it'll be done in a year?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Delayed restaurant openings, losing Eckington Park, and safety escort services...

Check out NoMa BID's spring newsletter. It provides an overview of all NoMa-related happenings since the start of the year. Here are notables:

Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli and Sister’s Pizza & Mussels is expected to be open by June. That is probably very unlikely. It is already mid-April and although the space has been cleaned out the last time I passed by and I see what look like walls being built, I don't think it'll be done by June.

Coming soon are the ground breaking for several residential buildings, two of which are far away from Eckington (450 units at 1st and M Street NE and 300 unit apartment building at 60 L Street). But Trammell Crow Residential's 650-unit Eckington I is right in the neighborhood. That is the location of "Eckington Park." I don't really see any new activity at the park besides the occasionally residents running laps or playing with their dogs. Anyone notice anything new? Does coming soon mean some time this year?

Finally, BID is planning to launch a Safety Ambassador Program this month. These ambassadors I assume will be like those in other BIDs. Among their tasks is "providing safety escort services upon request." As an Eckington resident, I couldn't imagine using such a service (except super late at night when the ambassadors probably aren't working anymore).

But for those people who will soon be working in NoMa and are worried about safety, I hope these ambassadors will be able to appease some of your concerns. I've never felt unsafe walking or biking through NoMa during the day or early evening but I consider this area my neighborhood. I can completely understand not feeling too great in an area that you're not familiar with.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hilton Garden Inn Coming to NoMa

Constitution Square broke ground today with Mayor Fenty and Delegate Norton attending the ceremony. A commenter alerted me to the fact that a 204-room Hilton Garden Inn Hotel will also be built. According to the NoMa BID press release, the first phase of Constitution Square will include the following:

One Constitution Square, with 340,000 square feet of speculative office space;
Two Constitution Square, with 589,000 square feet of Class A office space, of which 521,000 SF is pre-leased to the US General Services Administration (GSA) for the DoJ;
A 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store; and 30,000 square feet of additional retail space;
A residential building with 440 apartment units; and
A 204-key Hilton Garden Inn Hotel to be owned and operated by an affiliate of OTO Development of Spartanburg, SC, including meeting facilities and a restaurant open seven days a week.
Washington Business Journal reports that the office space will be delivered in the first half of 2010, with 440 residential units to follow in the summer, and the hotel and Harris Teeter popping up in late 2010 and early 2011.

Pound Coffee to Have Weekend Hours

According to NoMa BID's press release about Pound's opening on April 1, 2008, Pound will have weekend hours from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, starting in May. Oh goodie, I look forward to that, maybe I'll finally get a chance to check them out.

So has anyone been to Pound yet? Apparently they serve "unbelievably good coffee and superior baked goods." Hubby and I don't drink coffee and rarely eat pastries so someone will have to tell me these things or I'll have to take their word for it. I'm hoping they have a good selection of tea!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Florida Avenue Market Update

DCmud recently had an an update on Gateway Market Center Inc.'s (part of Sang Oh Development) development proposal for the northwest corner of the intersection of 4th Street and Florida Avenue, NE. It is a small part of the proposed mini-city, New Town at Capital City Market.

Bisnow has some information about retail developer, Edens & Avant, who is venturing with J Street Development to develop the parcels that J Street has purchased in the area.

Steve [Boyle, E&A's mid-Atlantic head] says the Florida Market is the sort of "true urban redevelopment" that comes along once in a blue moon. They've bought 6 parcels already from among 70 owners in the area, aim to get more, and in December closed on DC Farmers Market, a structure with about 50 tenants selling everything from bananas to sneakers. Though still just in an entitlement and zoning, Steve tells us he'd love to see a focus on cultural food, maybe a culinary institute, and a grocery store to lend a neighborhood feel. He loves a little Italian grocery store there called A. Litteri, and wants to preserve it and other mom and pops. "We want to bring the old and the new parts together."
It's obvious Sang Oh Development and J Street Development have contrasting visions of how the area will be developed. It will be very interesting to see whether minds will meet or whether compromises can be made. It will also be nice to see the area cleaned up a bit but not to lose its character.

NoMa Updates

It's kind of sacrilegious for me to blog and not have a functioning digital camera. Right now, it's all taped up and will occasionally indulge me and take a decent pic but we're hoping to get a new one some time this year. But thanks to IMGoph for his blog posts (with lots of pics) about construction activity and other sights at NoMa. I'm reposting them below.

Artomatic at Capital Plaza
The Mariott
Washington Gateway
Pound Coffee, which by the way is only open until 2 p.m. for the month of April I think. I hope they expand their hours soon. With my schedule, there's no way I'm going to be able to come by when it's open!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Free Walking Tour of Eckington on April 26!

Someone on the Eckington listserv noticed this cool picture of an Eckington streetcar in the March 2008 issue of the Washingtonian. I subscribe to this magazine so I'm not sure how I missed it!

Anyway, Eckington was selected as a Walkingtown DC Weekend Free Tour this year. So to learn more about Eckington and its history, come take the walking tour on Saturday, April 26, from 1:00-2:30 p.m.. The details are below:

Eckington - 100 Years of Capital Traction

Saturday, April 26

1 - 2:30 pm

Meet outside Florida Avenue exit of New York Avenue Metro Station (Red Line), in front of the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) HQ at the corner of N and 2nd Streets, NE. Tour Ends at the Rhode Island Metro Station (Red Line)

Once a tranquil country estate north of Boundary Road, this neighborhood tells the story of Washington's first electric streetcar and maps the expansion of the city along the famous and well worn tracks along the Metropolitan Branch of the B&O Railroad. Visit the former estate of Joseph Gales, Jr., mayor of Washington and publisher of the National Intelligencer and discover neighborhood architectural styles from late Victorian row houses to industrial warehouses. Led by Brian Kraft and presented by the DC Preservation League and the Eckington Civic Association

Tour will be held again this Fall, Saturday, September 20 same time, same place.

Hubby signed us up to volunteer for National Rebuilding Day that day but I'm hoping to sneak out for a bit and join the tour.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Let's Do Something About North Capitol Street

Last night, I met with several Bloomingdale residents at Nellie's Sports Bar to throw around some ideas on how to improve North Capitol Street. Bloomingdale has a great recap which I'm reposting here:

Last night a group of neighbors, and even some considering moving to our neighborhood, got together at Nellie’s sports bar. The purpose was to meet each other and recognize that all the ideas that we have to improve our neighborhood are shared by many of us. Perhaps we knew that, but it was good to meet each other. FABULOUS IDEAS. Wow. Come join us next time.

To recapture some of the ideas:

1. Most agreed that we would like N. Capital to be organic in its development (no big box stores) . . . we feel that NOMA can take care of the bigger development. Ideally we would like places that we can walk to, that are unique to the neighborhood, and/or fill neighborhood needs. Yoga, community theater space, bars, sit down restaurant, baker, butcher, etc. In a perfect world we would have a movie theater and bookstores . . . and that would indeed be perfect (at least in my world).

2. There is an organization in Adams Morgan called Cool Town Studios. They have identified something called ‘beta communities’ It turns out that a "beta community" project was started in Mt. Vernon Square. Is this something that we would want to consider?

3. one person has a lot of experience in theater. Her suggestions were to contact theater groups in DC (the second largest community theater venue in the country). These organizations are always looking for places to host productions and/or house actors. We could get a list of theaters and start contacting their community outreach (if they exist?) and at a minimum invite them to walk around the neighborhood.

4.Another great idea was to contact the community relations departments of FedEx and XM Radio. Both of these companies benefit from being in this neighborhood and may be interested (and able) to donate money to a neighborhood organization. If you know contacts, start hustling them. :)

5. We should look for other like-minded organizations in our neighborhood so that we are not duplicating efforts. The North Capital Main Street Initiative is one which comes to mind.

6. talk to friends, neighbors, friends of friends . . . people always know someone who knows someone and they may be interested in what we are doing.

7. Think about coming up with more concise ideas about how we could implement some good changes. Do we approach shop keepers to offer solutions on facades (does this mean volunteering to paint a building) . . . do we plant flowers on N. Capital so that people start to notice? North Capital Main Street Initiative may have grant money for these types of things.

8. another idea was advertising the neighborhood. Whether we hire a firm or do it ourselves, we could put together a “North Capitol” website that contains information about residents within Bloomingdale/Eckington, and pictures to remind investors of the amazing panorama that already exists. It could be done with little to no money and could be used as a resume for the neighborhood....anybody know how to create a website? interested?

Think about it. It could be great. It could be fun. Be positive.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

James Bond Film Festival at NoMa Coming this Summer

frozen tropics and bloomingdale has the press release regarding this summer festival.

Organized by the Georgetown Film Festival, the summer-long festival will run from May 8 through August 28, 2008, is free to the public, and will feature 15 of the best Bond flicks from 1962 through 2006. The films will be shown each Thursday night, rain or shine, on the site of the future Washington Gateway at the intersection of Florida and New York Avenues.

Wow, I'm really looking forward to this festival. Not only do I love James Bond, it will be very interesting to see what that intersection will look like teeming with people.

I don't know if Heidi's Brooklyn Deli and Sister's Pizza & Mussels will be open by then. I don't see much activity at their spaces but it definitely would be a prudent idea if they sped up their construction and take advantage of this (as well as Artomatic). I also noticed Pound Coffee is initially going to be open only until 5. I would assume that those hours will be adjusted if there is a certainty that there will be a lot more foot traffic.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Justice Department approves XM-Sirius merger

Area newspapers are reporting that the Justice Department just approved the XM-Sirius merger.

So what does that mean for our neighborhood? Will XM up and leave and consolidate offices in NY? Will they keep both NY and DC locations? This bizjournal article from a year ago has a good overview of the pros and and cons for XM/Sirius to stay in DC, move to NY, or keep facilities in both cities. Since that article came out, much has happened in NoMa (i.e., NPR, DOJ, Harris Teeter leases) which might be factors for XM/Sirius to consider in determining the location of its operations.
I guess if the merger was meant to make both XM and Sirius more competitive and viable, it makes complete sense to me that they would maintain locations in DC and NY. XM already owns their space in DC and real estate is still more affordable in DC than in NY. But of course I'm biased. I'm sure everyone in DC wants XM to stay put.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Five Guys Coming to NoMa

A commentator mentioned that an ATF insider had told him it was Five Guys who would be leasing the last remaining space at the ATF retail area. He was right. According to the biz journal, Capital Retail Group is finalizing plans with the hamburger and fries franchise. I don't eat meat so I'm not terribly excited about a burger joint, I would have much preferred a Thai or Indian place. But I know hubby and most of the DC population LOVE Five Guys so I'll be excited for them.

The article also talks about the potential of NoMa now that several big leases have been signed. In particular, it discusses the challenge of creating the right retail and restaurant mix for an area with diverse real estate ownership. The BID has already formed a retail committee of brokers and developers to address this challenge and perhaps develop a formal strategy. Some of its goals are "to determine how to make retail and restaurant offerings complementary, how to take advantage of certain locations and, essentially, how to build the identity of the neighborhood through its retail and eateries."

I know there are people who hate the label "NoMa" and the whole concept of NoMa (i.e., this post). And perhaps this committee (or a newly formed one) should attempt to acknowledge its former identity as Swampoodle instead of creating a totally new one.

I would never have thought a dozen years ago when I first moved to DC that I would be living in the NE. So NoMa or Swampoodle...I honestly don't care. I'm just happy to see the area being developed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pound Coffee's Soft Opening Delayed

Pound Coffee is delaying their "soft opening" to Friday, March 28 & Monday, March 31. They will be closed over that weekend however. The "Live" opening will still be on Tuesday, April 1.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Artomatic to be held in Noma

Artomatic is coming to NoMa this May! Artomatic, a traveling art exhibit, will be held from May 9 through June 15, 2008. The events and exhibits will be set up on eight floors of the Capitol Plaza 1 building at 1st and M streets NE. It will also be the biggest Artomatic to date and is expected to attract 50,000 visitors to see work from about 800 artists.

I've been to several Artomatics in the past and I am definitely excited about being able to stroll over to the events and exhibits!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Summer Events Coming to NoMa

According to Bisnow, NoMa will soon be announcing that they are hosting two big cultural and entertainment events this summer, including a film festival. The purpose of the events is acquaint people (beyond the real estate and investment community) with NoMa's rapid development.

I wonder where in NoMa these events will be held. Much of the area still consists of scattered buildings with undeveloped lots in between. Also, I wonder whether these are completely new DC events or events that have been previously hosted elsewhere in DC.

On a side note, someone asked me whether there are any rumors about what will occupy the last 4K SF retail space at the ATF bldg. I speculated that it would be a general merchandise store (like those you typically see in office buildings) but I was wrong. According to the same article, it will be a "well known food service operator" offering a casual dining facility.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

And the grocery store is....Harris Teeter!

Yay! Harris Teeter is moving into Constitution Square! I've been out of town so didn't see this new development until today but it's great news to come home to. We've been hearing a lot of rumors about this and apparently it has been in the works for a while with the city pushing really hard for the grocery store by providing tax incentives and helping with the cost of parking. The 50K SF grocery store is expected to open in winter 2010/2011.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Opening of Pound Coffee Approaching

Pound Coffee's website states they are opening on April Fool's day but they will also have a "soft" opening on Friday, March 21st. According to an email from Khalil to the mailing list:

We are looking at a "soft" opening Friday March 21st and "live" opening about a week later on Tuesday, April 1st. "Soft" opening means we will just open doors without any major fanfare and see who strolls by. "Live" opening means fanfare will be involved. I dare say "hoopla" even. We will reserve the term "Grand Opening" for another time. At that time, we will use the term "hysteria" or "madcap fiasco."

Up Next: Retail Announcements at NoMa

With NPR and the DOJ's huge decisions last week to lease in NoMa, the next big news for NoMa will be retail announcements which are expected during the spring.

These include which “high-end” grocery store will be setting up at Constitution Square, and who will lease the last 4,000 sq feet of retail available at the space ancillary to the ATF building. One NoMa Station is also expected to make an announcement some time in the summer regarding the possible signing of national retailers or local quick service food operators.

Some may also have noticed that the Marriott Courtyard, which is expected to open next year, is now several floors up. The hotel has 10,000 sq feet of retail and is actively targeting a sit down restaurant.

Random Trivia about Peter Nickles

So here's some random trivia about Peter Nickles. DC knows him as Fenty's general counsel and now the Acting Attorney General after Linda Singer resigned. He has a bit of controversy surrounding him since he is the reason why Linda Singer resigned and he apparently isn't a DC resident either although it's a job requirement.

Well, I just read in the March 2008 issue of DC North that he is an ultratriathlon competitor. An ultratriathlon consists of a 6.2 mile ocean swim followed by a 261.4 mile bike ride and ends with a 52.4 mile run! In the article ("Help Wanted...Experience Necessary" by Mark Segraves on page 22), it says he completed the Ultraman World Championship Triathlon in Hawaii twice, at the age of 63 and then at the age of 67!

Although it is a bit of useless trivia, it probably is a good insight as to his personality or perhaps his work ethic. My in-laws have competed in triathlons and I know one other person who has completed an Ironman. The amount of training and commitment needed to do the Ironman is pretty intense so the training involved with an ultratriathlon must be insane! And he did this in his 60s!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Dancing at the 9:30 Club

My blog is turning into NoMa watch so I thought I'd better post something non-NoMa related. Last night, hubby and I went to the 9:30 club to watch the Donnas and the Hives. It's a rare event for me as I only go if it's a band I've grown to like after considerable play time in hubby's car.

It was an awesome concert. I wish I had pics to post up but I only had my crappy phone camera and I still can't figure out how to download that on to the computer. I like the Donnas better so I'll post their pic up.

One thing I did wonder was why no one was dancing to The Donnas. Everyone was of course bobbing their heads to the beat but only a handful, including me, were rocking our bodies to the beat. Hubby says it's because they weren't playing any songs that people knew. And granted, most people were there to see the Hives. But hey, I don't know any of their songs but I still couldn't help dancing to their infectious beats.

Then the Hives got on stage and it became too cramped to do any sort of dancing aside from jumping up and down. It was actually my first time to be so near the stage since I've always been a litle freaked out at being in the middle of any moshing. There was definitely lots of pushing and shoving but I really didn't mind it. The music was great, it was all in good fun, the crowd was really into it, and even polite. I am only five feet tall so I'm always behind someone taller than me. The couple next to us told me I could step in front of them if I wanted to. One other guy told me to stay behind him and I'll be sure to get all the way to the front. So I did. With one hand tightly holding hubby's hand who was behind me the entire time, I went along for the ride and really enjoyed it!

Still pumped up after the concert, we swung by the Saloon on U Street to wind down. Hubby (who has been going to concerts at the 9:30 club for about a dozen years) remarked who would have thought that you could now walk to a bar after seeing a concert at the 9:30 club. We decided to cab home afterwards where a Maryland cabbie tried to charge us $12 to go 10 blocks!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

DOJ is Also Coming to NoMa!

It's turning out to be a great week for NoMa. According to Bisnow, DOJ is also coming to NoMa! The 521K lease will go to Constitution Square which is that big lot directly south of the ATF building. It is expected to be completed in 2010, with DOJ employees moving in early that year. As you may recall, Constitution Square is also being scoped out as the site for a Harris Teeter or some large grocery store.

UPDATED: The Washington Business Journal has also just reported the news. Although Bisnow reports the location at 100 M Street, NE, it appears as if the DOJ building will be specifically located at Two Constitution Square at 145 N Street, NE.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

UPDATED: NPR Moving to NoMa

Back in November, I wrote about how NPR and the Department Justice of were both considering NoMa for new locations. Today, it's been reported that NPR will be moving to a newly built headquarters at 1111 N. Capitol St., NE. I believe NPR's new space, which will consolidate the two locations it currently has in Mt. Vernon Square, will be more than 400,000 square foot. 25,000 square feet of retail is also planned for the new building. A Smithsonian Institution warehouse actually sits on the site right now but the developers are planning to maintain the historical facades (read more here).

Here are more details from the NoMa BID press release and Bisnow. Unfortunately, occupancy is not expected until late 2011 or early 2012. That's a long time away still! On a positive note, DC has agreed to streetscape improvements around the site, which is across from the Northwest One project (formerly Sursum Corda coops).

DOJ also apparently signed its 500,000-square foot consolidation last Friday and the announcement of exactly which site won the lease is expected this week.

With solid commitments of businesses moving into area, I'm definitely hoping more retail and food services seriously start considering our area and taking that plunge.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Washington Gateway Update

I know, I know...I've been horrendous about posting. Regardless, here is an exciting update from DCmud on the Washington Gateway project on New York and Florida Avenue.

The most exciting aspect about the design for me would be the three-story glass Bicycle Atrium. Apart from providing access between the New York Avenue Metro and the Metropolitan Branch Bike Trail, it'll have bike storage, lockers, refreshments, trail and neighborhood maps, and an automated bike pump. I don't think I've seen anything like that in the metro area so it's pretty cool that the neighborhood is getting one. At the MBT meeting, there was discussion about having a bike depot in this area but I definitely didn't envision this atrium!

I'm also excited about the plaza that's supposed to connect the three planned buildings and I can't wait to see the plaza and streetscape design. Honestly, as long as there is some great dining options, i.e., affordable to upscale, diverse cuisine, and outside seating, I'll be happy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heidi's Brooklyn Deli and Sister's Pizza & Mussels Coming to NoMa

Heidi's Brooklyn Deli and Sister's Pizza & Mussels have signed leases for the retail spaces next to Pound Coffee.

Both franchise restaurants are scheduled to open in April (Pound Coffee is now scheduled to open in February). The Heidi's Brooklyn Deli will be the second one to open in D.C., after the 1710 H Street, NW location and the Sister's Pizza & Mussels are is the first one located in DC. Both were founded in Colorado by Steve Naples, a New Jersey native who enjoyed Brooklyn's deli and pizza fares, as well as mussels dishes served at a Sicilian pizzeria in his neighborhood.

I love mussels so I'm especially excited about Sister's Pizza & Mussels. Has anyone been to the Heidi's location on H Street or a Sister's Pizza & Mussels elsewhere? What did you think?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Office Workers Gotta Eat

Pound Coffee is going to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner? Hhmm...I wonder what kind of dinner? I can’t think of a coffee shop off the top of my head that serves something I would consider dinner fare.

Meanwhile, the other spaces in that retail area are also being leased now and should include at least two lunch options.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

UPDATED - Metropolitan Branch Trail Update

I was at the Met Branch Trail meeting tonight at Big Bear Cafe and apparently, a couple of the other Bloomingdale/Eckington bloggers as well. bloomingdale (for now) and eckington (way better than spotsylvania) both have excellent recaps of the meeting.

Also mentioned at the meeting and of special interest to Eckington are the plans to create rest areas/small parks along the NY Ave-Rhode Island Ave section. According to Heather Deutsch at DDOT, there is the possibility of a small pocket park at S Street and a small park space at T Street.

I don't think I've ridden through a bike trail in the DC metro area that didn't have several parks along the trail and I don't think the Met Branch Trail will be any different. Parks and landscaping go hand in hand with bike trails and one thing that the NE quadrant needs is definitely more accessible open space and parks.

So let's put some pressure on Pepco and get this trail built. Please contact Mayor Fenty, Councilman Thomas, and Delegate Holmes-Norton and tell them so.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I Need to Read The Onion More

I love my hubby's sense of humor.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve had some “memorable” street harassment incidents. In addition to being flashed, I’ve encountered some unwanted attention passing by the construction site at the New York Ave metro.

Although one incident was pretty creative. I hear “Hola Princesa!” through the walkie-talkie of a construction worker just about to walk by me. I realized it was coming from his co-worker half a block away who foolishly grins at me when I notice him with his walkie-talkie still in front of his mouth.

Anyways, today hubby sent me this 2001 Onion article he found, “Report: Economically Disadvantaged Men More Skilled at Communicating Attraction to Women.” Just hysterical...

The DC Council Really Wants us to Have a Grocery Store

The D.C. Council passed a bill yesterday that would provide $7 million in funding to build underground parking for the Constitution Square project at 100 M Street, NE, and help Stonebridge Development attract a 50,000 square-foot grocery store.

So perhaps Harris Teeter really is coming to NoMa?

That little tidbit of news was at the very end of the article about tax changes affecting small businesses. The Council passed a bill that would raise the exemption to the personal property tax from $50,000 to $225,000, which would exempt most small businesses.

Second, if the city collects greater than expected revenue from commercial property tax, a new formula lowering the tax rate for all commercial property tax payers would be applied to the first $3 million of a property’s assessed value. I probably need to read the bill but what exactly constitutes “greater than expected revenue”?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Pound Coffee Coming to NoMa

If office buildings are built, coffee shops will come... Pound Coffee is slated to open in mid-February at 200 Florida Avenue, NE, right outside the Florida exit of the New York Ave Metro and in the ATF building. If it does open then, I believe it will be the first shop to open in that retail space. It would also beat out a Starbucks! The owners of the Ibiza nightclub at 1222 1st, NE had said they were going to offer their own Starbucks but last I checked, no Starbucks yet.

According to Pound’s website, they will also offer Counter Culture coffee provided by a local roaster. I’ve emailed the owner, Khalil Ghannam, to ask what kind of hours the cafĂ© will have and will update this post if I get a response. It would be ideal if it had evening or weekend hours…with the Eckington neighborhood and Galludet University nearby, I’m sure it would get steady traffic even outside office hours.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Flashed Again

In an earlier post about street harassment, I mentioned that I was flashed in Adams Morgan. In broad daylight, while walking down the alley next to the Safeway, I noticed a green SUV pulled over, with its driver pissing against the wall. He sees me, says an audible "Oh shit!" and zips up. I pretend I didn't see anything and walk hurridly along. I hear the SUV coming and it then pulls up right next to me. I assume he just stopped because he was looking out for oncoming traffic. I hear him say, "I'm sorry if you saw any of that." I turn my head to look at him and to tell him not to worry about it. Lo and behold, he is holding himself and and asks me if I liked what I saw. I ran.

Today, I'm on R and North Capitol Street waiting for the walk sign. A green van slowly turns the corner in front of me and the driver waves at me as he drives away. I just missed the green walk sign to cross Lincoln Street and thought shit when I noticed the same green van pulling up on R Street. He turns the corner and stops right in front of me. He was just in his sweater holding himself!

I'm absolutely mortified and my first instinct is to run but I realized I could not run. Just today, I was allowed to take off my walking boot which I've worn for the past three weeks because of a foot injury. So running was not an option as I'm still getting used to walking again. Thankfully, he drives away as I'm frantically looking around trying to figure out what to do.

As with the first incident, my first reaction was shock and disbelief so by the time I could think straight, it was too late to get his license plate number to report the incident. I'm still in shock as to how this can happen a second time. I don't know anyone who's been flashed, must less flashed twice! It's frustrating too, I don't know how I can prevent this from happening again.