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!