Dear PoP – Petworth Development Edition

DSCN5801, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“My longtime girlfriend and I recently relocated DC from Florida and have been renting a large studio in Columbia Heights. We’re now in the market for our own place – nice size apartment or small, fixer-upper house – and it seems that Petworth is one of the few remaining places in DC that is in our price range and has the community features (or could have the features) we’re looking for.

My question to you is about the planned development for the Petworth area, especially around the Petworth/Georgia Ave. metro stop. Do you know what some of the plans are for the area? From my understanding Columbia Heights has undergone a tremendous change over the past several years. Do you see Petworth developing in a similar way – restaurants, shops, etc.? What is the quality of life for those in there late 20’s early 30’s who enjoy the occasional night out, but who also enjoy quite nights at home.

Also, It’s important to me to know my neighbors and that they know me. I feel that the best way to be safe is to know people and care about the community one lives in. Is that sentiment prevalent in Petworth?”

Development in Petworth is indeed on the rise. In only the last five years Petworth has seen the addition of Domku (Scandinavian Restaurant/bar), Looking Glass Lounge (bar, formerly Temperance Hall), El Limeno (Latino), El Togoraz (Latino), Sweet Mango Cafe (Jerk Chicken), Fusion (Indian), Moroni & Bros. (Pizza), Flip it Bakery, Abol (Ethiopian), and Red Derby (bar, not exactly in Petworth proper but very close by) and lots more is on the way. A new coffee shop is coming, a YES! Organic Market is coming, a CVS is coming, many restaurants are likely to come to the development above the Petworth metro (pictured above) including a restaurant from the well known chef Gillian Clark, a boutique building is on it’s way (corner of Quincy and Georgia) and I’m sure I’ve left lots out. That’s a long way of saying yes, lots of development has occurred and lots more is on its way.

Quality of life for those in early 20s and 30s is fantastic. Not necessarily because of Petworth itself but also because of it’s proximity to Columbia Heights and U Street. But as you can see from the list above you certainly have quite a few options in Petworth as well.

Your last question is certainly an easy one. Yes! For sure, neighbors are very welcoming here as long as you make an effort to introduce yourself and get to know them. Of course not every single person is going to want to be your best friend but certainly the majority should be quite welcoming if you are kind and respectful to them.

So for the readers, did I leave anything out?

31 Comment

  • Hey,

    If you’re in the market for your own place, you should ask your real estate agent to show you 1458 Columbia Rd NW. This is a new condo building (I live in it) that is perfect for first time home buyers (like me too!). The 1 bedroom units start around $215,000 I believe, though I am not exactly sure all of the units left in the building. There are 2 and 3 bedrooms as well. There are a lot of either young, single people, or families with small children. And it’s just 2 blocks from the Columbia Heights Metro, on a nice quiet part of Columbia Rd, between 14th and 15th.

  • Hello – I am the ANC commissioner for the area immediately south of the Georgia Avenue Petworth metro station, and chairman of ANC1 A. I can tell you for sure, the next area in DC to really pop is going to be Park View / Petworth. There are a ton of development projects that are getting ready to get started, and have secured funding (even in this market), and more in the pipe. There will be a new CVS right near the metro station, the building next door to looking glass lounge is being renovated for office space, there are 2 condo/apartment building near Park Rd that recently got approval, and the Park Morton redevelopment is moving forward (in fact, they have already started doing some tear down, but the bid is still outstanding).

    Please go to ( or for more info. You can find the master plan for georgia avenue, info on projects, etc.

    On another note when I moved to DC in 2000 a friend of mine tried to convince me to buy in Columbia Heights near 14th. I went and looked at a few places and there was a very heavy gang presence so I said “no-way”. 3 years later I was sick of a small condo and ended up checking out ColHgts again and I was stunned at the difference. Eastern ColHgts/Parkview has never been that bad because it has always had a good supply of long time residents but I dod believe people will be stunned by Ga Ave in 2 or 3 years.

  • I think the south end of Petworth is a great bargain because you’re still walking distance from Columbia Heights and the new restaurant/bars along 11th St, but housing prices are a lot lower than in Columbia Heights itself.

    There’s a ton of new development on the way, but it could take a while before this is realized. I used to live in Adams Morgan and it was a pretty big tradeoff moving from a neighborhood where everything was a few steps away. But I love Petworth now and am very excited about the new things coming our way.

  • Cliff, any hope of getting DC moving on starting construction of middle Georgia Ave.? From what I heard, they were waiting to “coordinate” with Howard U’s town center master plan. However, given the massive drop in endowment, who knows if this will ever actually happen. I think the last link in the chain to filling up the remaining vacant spaces on Georgia Ave. is getting the already-delayed, already-funded, already-completed designs for the middle Georgia Ave. going. Is there any hope of this ever getting started?

  • The latest i have on the Howard Town Center is that there was a legal issue with keeping Bruce Monroe there, so they are going to move Bruce Monroe to Park View Elementary perminantly, and replace the school with more shops and or housing. This was the original plan, but it has switched several times. The school should be getting torn down any day now.

    The next project we need to get back on track is the planned Senior Center at Georgia Avenue and Newton. The mayor was going to move it to a different sight in either Ledroit Park or over near 14th street. There is a meeting on Febuary 9th at 6PM at the Park Road Community Church regarding this. While I have no immediate personal use for a senior center in Park View, there are a lot of residents that really want this to happen, and it would be very good for Georgia Avenue so we are asking people to attend this meeting and send letters supporting the contruction of the Senior Wellness Center at the originally proposed location at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Newton Place, NW. Email address is [email protected], [email protected] and copy [email protected]

    Finally, LaKeisha Thomas – commissioner for the area south of Park Road – are trying to put together a meeting where we could have the Office of Planning come out and give updates on all of the various projects, etc.

  • One other note about Petworth that I really love – you can get close to the fun stuff and still live in a quiet neighborhood. I’m in the upper reaches of Petworth, at Sherman Circle, which is a little farther from the new Columbia Heights or Georgia Ave Metro development, but it is a lovely walk on a nice day, and the new 63/64 bus routes make getting to and from any point between Petworth and downtown very easy (Yeah Metro! for those changes). It’s only been a month since the new routes were implemented and I love the convenience, but I also love that so much of the residential part of Petworth is far enough away from the busy routes like New Hampshire Ave or Georgia Ave that you can get a good night’s sleep even with the windows open. My sister and her family visited at Christmas and she kept noting how quiet it was, especially for living in a city.

  • As a resident who lives right next to the lot where the Senior Center is planned on being built, I absolutely support this project and have hoped and wondered what was happening to it. Thank you for the information.

    In the meanwhile, is there anyone else I could talk to about removing the traffic baricades that haven’t been necessary along the lot? One of them was even hit about a month ago. I wrote Councilmember Graham and Mayor Fenty about this and the trash/rat holes collecting on the lot. Councilmember Graham was sympathetic and emailed me back about talking to the Mayor, and the mayor responded with a generic, Thank you for your interest in development in Petworth.

  • Just don’t think you can go down the road to the neighborhood Safeway for your grocery shopping, as that place smells horrible and has an extremely limited selection. Same goes for the Wendy’s down the street, unless you like your burger with a side of bums aggressively begging you for money and then calling you a “fucking white boy” when you refuse to ante up.

    Just something you might want to know.

  • Newtonite – I already complained about the jersy bouncers and the fact that they drilled the lot up, put up a fence, and then stopped the project. I know councilman Graham is as annoyed as we are. Try to write David Jannarone, the Dep. Assist. of Economic Dev, and the others listed above….and come to that meeting if you can.

    One thing I will say about Ga Ave, is in my 6 years here 90% of what they say they are going to do for Ga Ave never happens, but if we keep letting our city leaders know that we do not want this to continue, then it will not. I believe the Mayor and councilman Graham really understand this and want it to change…and there are some sure good things coming….

  • I have already written them and put the date in my planner. I am going to go ahead and contact the rest of the condo with hopes they can come to the meeting as well… Thanks again for the info.

  • I am the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area just to the west of the metro stop (ANC 4C06). On Quincy St. alone, you will find a few houses for sale, some with serious investment needed, and some ready for move in. Throughout the neighborhood of established households, there is a wonderful community of long-time residents and newer residents who look out for and support each other. If you are buying a fixer-upper, be sure to get a well-establish realtor who can advise you on potential pitfalls (e.g., the need to replace the electrical box). It can really add up if you aren’t well informed. The neighborhood Safeway, about which will hear much, recently requested and received requests for proposals to build a new building at their site in the 3800 block of Georgia. It will certainly take at least two or three years. Councilmember Bowser commited to rebuild Raymond Recreation center. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

  • It’s great that there’ll be a new safeway. But where will people shop whilst it’s being built??? Will the old one stay open or will it be in literally the same footprint?

  • Sounds good, gotta keep their feet to the fire so a meeting is a good idea. Just like with the park triangle civic plaza in CH, nothing ever would have happened until people made a big fuss about the project. Same goes with senior center and the long-promised, badly needed, georgia ave. revitalization — the only thing we know for sure is that the city will do absolutely nothing unless people start to agitate for the promised improvements to finally come to fruition. There will certainly be plenty of federal dollars for these types of projects thanks to the stimulous plan, now it is time to make sure the city gets those funds nad uses them in a timely, efficient manner.

  • Davey – The Giant in CH is only a 15 minute walk from the nasty Sketchy Safeway in Petworth (truly is a horrid place!), which I stopped shopping at years ago. Plus, we will soon have Yes! Organic Foods on GA ave, 3 blocks from the Sketchy Safeway, which I say good riddance to!

  • saf

    Davey – why is anyone shopping at Safeway at all? Seriously, that’s the real question. The way they maintain that place, it is obvious that they have no regard for the neighbors. The lies they have told us in public meetings make it obvious that they have no regard for the neighborhood. And they way that they have treated Brightwood (with the Piney Branch store) and Mt Vernon Triangle (with the already deteriorating 5th St store – less than 6 months old) make it obvious that this attitude comes from way up the corporate ladder.

    Switch stores to one that will treat you right – why give money to a corporation that hates us so much?

  • So I know as a city dweller you’re supposed to walk everywhere, but my secret awesome thing about Petworth is that you can drive anywhere in DC in a few minutes and park in front of your house when you get home. Good riddance to the Sketchy Safeway, I shop at the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan – a beautiful store!

  • I go the the skanky safeway for emergency purposes only. Even then I don level III biohazard gear. How can that place get by the health inspector?

    I heard Safeway is going to anchor the Ft Totten development. Any truth to that? Does that slow the renovation of the skanky safeway? Not that I care since that Ft Totten area is closer to me.

  • I didn’t mean to give the mistaken impression that I shop there. But someone must be, otherwise they stay in business! And for those who can’t drive to the Giant or somewhere even further, it seems like having NO supermarket for an extended period could be worse than having a lousy one.

  • Actually, I hate the CH Giant more than the Sketchy Safeway. While the SS may be limited in selection, it is just a small neighborhood grocery, so that’s to be expected. The produce, while limited, is significantly better than the Giant’s. It actually lasts longer than a day! Imagine my surprise! The lines don’t get ridiculously long, the cashiers/floor people are actually nice once in a while and do their jobs (instead of just chatting with their bagger and ignoring you).

    Gah, I hate Giant. Oh, I’m not a Safeway booster/fan either, I just hate it less. I was in Boston last month, and even a couple of days before Christmas, when the grocery stores were packed, I couldn’t believe how well run they were up there. I actually walked up to the asst. manager and told him that.

  • Actually Red derby is very much in Petworth.

  • I too have to defend at least some of the staff in the Safeway – I’ve been actually asked if I need help with finding something etc. – something that has never ever never ever happened to me in Giant.

    Sure, its old and stinks, but its not quite, IMHO, the nuclear wastesite some people make it sound. 😉

  • Here we go again. Red Derby, on 14th, is very much not in Petworth, whose western boundary is Georgia Ave.

  • saf

    GforGood – some of the staff are sweet.

    But have you looked at the trash that they leave around, the lights that they leave burned out, the graffiti that never gets cleaned…

  • saf – I am not sure you can blame that on the staff. Think they have a top performing manager at that store that instills a since of pride in the bedraggled, yet almost classic old school supermarket? It takes leadership, and seriously doubt it is there. Kind of sad

  • saf

    No Steve, you can’t blame it on the staff. But you can sure as f blame it on the corporation, and so, refuse to give them money.

  • If I could chime in here – I bought a house on Quincy a few years back, and even within the first year I lived there, I saw remarkable changes in terms of neighborhood options and a renewed sense of excitement about what was coming our way. I recently moved to Cleveland Park, and have to say, I really, really miss my neighbors, and the sense of community there. I knew everyone on my block, and the practice of sitting on your front porch, chatting with neighbors, having drop ins…..well, I really feel that that was the best part of living there, and is sorely lacking in other, more upscale neighborhoods. Just my 2 cents.

  • Good luck to you and your gf. I recently moved out of Petworth after less than a year- a year in which I heard more gunshots than in my whole life, saw a stolen car explode, and routinely faced street harassment from the youngins that congregate around the metro. That being said, my actual neighbors were more friendly than anywhere else I have lived.

    Be on notice about the Safeway. My gf refuse to go there anymore after being harassed gojng into the store by a bunch of bums, then being hit on by the security guard as she left. That was followed up by someone following her to her car and harassing her unitl she took his number.

  • Surely_Feeney Why do they keep making us go to the Petworth ANC? If we are not in Petworth where are we?

  • I would say that living here gets better and better. I walk to work and pass by the same people every day. If I need help with something like moving a heavy bureau, it isn’t hard to round up a few neighbors. No matter what kind of new mixed-income developments they’re planning to subsidize in the future, we already have mixed income housing — a rooming house and $500K loft condos; small houses and larger houses. We had a scenario recently where we accidentally discovered someone’s home going to a real estate auction, and one of our neighbors who has good legal knowledge walked the homeowner through the process to save her home. This block and the few blocks I walk on en route to work are probably the best example of racial/age mixing that I have ever experienced.

  • It looks like Red Derby is in ANC4C, which covers half of Petworth, North Columbia Heights, and what is that just to the north….Crestwood? I’d say the Derby is in North Columbia Hts but maybe just CH is sufficient. I admit that is a fuzzy area over there and people do (and rightly so, I think) just call it either CH or Petworth depending…

  • The Red Derby is ‘technically’ in 16th St. Heights if we’re counting the northern boundary as Spring Rd. since it’s on 14th on the block directly north of. Since Petworth’s western boundary is Georgia Ave., claiming it is in Petworth is quite a stretch.

    Crestwood is basically on the western side of 16th St. north of Piney Creek Park.

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