An Update On Columbia Heights Retail/Restaurants/Etc. – Good News and Bad News Edition

DSCN6682, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Well, I’ve finally tracked down the answers to a number of questions folks have been asking for a while. So here goes. In the space pictured above there’s going to be a local coffee shop yet to be named. It is going to be owned by a pair of brothers named Jim and Brian Sullivan. They intend to make it a very comfortable coffee house with the motif featuring Columbia Heights history. The goal is to open up in May. Let’s file this under good news.

The sushi restaurant, Sake Club is still a go but I didn’t get a targeted opening date. (Irving St.)


The Caribbean place, zinnia, is a no go. A replacement has not yet been named. (Irving St.)

The forever “coming soon”, Royal Blue, is no longer coming soon or coming at all. A replacement has yet to be named. (14th Street)


I don’t know how I missed this but apparently a Peruvian steak and chicken place is coming (Park Road).


Sadly, after a very short run Coco Libre has closed at Sherman and Harvard Streets. They write on their Web site:

“We would like to inform all of our customers and supporters that, unfortunately, we had to make the hard choice to close our shop at 786 Harvard Street. This is due to forces beyond our control. We anticipate moving to another location, so please check back to get an update on where to find us and our products. Thank you to the community and take care.” (Thanks to a reader for sending.)

So we got some good news and bad news. What are you happiest/saddest about? I’ll be sure to update when replacements are named.

68 Comment

  • Oh man, so sad about Coco Libre. I wonder what those “forces” were? In any event, they are enthusiastic and very nice people who seem generally dedicated to making it work, even if they may have to take a few lumps as novices to the industry. I hope they resurface somewhere else in Columbia Heights … that is really sad news.

    As for the Peruvian steak and chicken place, I believe that is Desi’s Chicken, which has long been mentioned as a a future DCUSA tenant and is supposed to finally open Aprilish. Hopefully it will prove to be worth the wait. Especially the “steak” part — can’t say there is a shortage of chicken places around, but not much in the way of red meat options beyond burgers at five guys …

  • Of course Coco Libre moved as that was the SKETCHIEST location in NW to open any business, let alone to live – seriously…….seriously, people.

  • Hey now, people live there (like me). I’ve lived there for the past 6 years and it’s not *that* sketchy. Come on. I’m a 29 year old single lady. With a pug. I’ll admit that the area was not all that when I first moved in but a rising tide lifts all boats, and that area has gotten and is getting better. Show some Harv Luv!

  • I am saddest about seeing yet another chicken place.. well, at least they serve some steak too..

    On a serious note, pity to see that Mediterranean place fail in the end. Would have complemented the restaurant selection nicely.

  • Sherman Ave is a tough spot or business, partly due to the highway-like quality of the street. Anyone have a status on the Sherman street tree project?

  • @Geezer: Sherman rumored for 2012

  • wasnt royal blue fairly far along in the process of the buildout. I seem to remember some commenter always giving updates that it was almost done inside. I guess another group can buy it and work with it.

  • Oh, super sad that Royal Blue is not coming- and generally, a bummer about all of the businesses that are leaving. I was really looking forward to more nice dining places nearby!

  • Sorry to hear about Coco Libre also. Looking forward to hearing good news about them soon.

  • I hate to always harp on density. but i really do think that to support all the commercial space in DC you need a lot more people. Lets not forget that dc at one point had a population of nearly 900,000. All of them living IN DC. Sure there is now a huge population in the suburbs that often come into dc on weekends, and during the week to work but thats mostly downtown. I still think that if there had been even 1 story of office space atop the DCUSA complex it would have injected a lot of day time lunch dollars into the area. as it is now how much lunch business does commonwealth or the heights really do? Hell how much business do they do period. lets put it this way. i have never waited for a table at commonwealth. The Heights is only busy for brunch it seems. if you want a lot of restaurant and retail offerings you need a lot of people to support them. They arent going to open and opperate on a loss for years and years just so you guys can have choices when you want to eat out. I think DC residents expect a level of options on par with a much bigger city in other words. even using bethesda as an example. Ton of Offices and Condos to support all the restaurants. I mean really consider if Royal Blue, Sake, and Zinnea were all open right now add the thai place and Social coming too and the Pho place. dividing up the pool of people in the neighborhood with money to eat out that much more. I feel like each one of them would have 15 people in it at Dinner. and may as well not bother opening for lunch. I just dont think the neighborhood can support that many restaurants yet. Maybe in 5 years when all the condos are full and there are more people with disposable income? I dont know. just babbling here.

  • Hmmm, anon, fair points. I do think that the imminent opening of the now-rentals above the Petworth metro and Allegro spaces, both of which will bring a lot of people to the area in the next few months (presumably, as rentals these will fill up faster than condos would) plus Highland Park as it continues to fill up, will bring a lot more folks with disposable income into the area. At the same time, there may be some attrition with all the new places opening. Which isn’t the end of the world — if the Heights has to make its menu more creative / higher caliber, if Rumberos becomes more consistent with food and service, in order to survive, that wouldn’t be a terrible thing for example. And business owners are gonna have to be smart and avoid redundancy (tons of coffee places, tons of chicken places, etc., some just aren’t going to make it alas). The other thing is that, right now, other than DCUSA shoppers, I really don’t think Columbia Heights is a weekend destination in the way Penn Quarter, Dupont, U Street are. If a few of the new places can actually be high-quality enough to attract folks from outside CH / Petworth, they will survive and even thrive …

  • DC hasn’t had a population of 900,000 since the middle of the 20th century. It is growing every year though, and is now about 600,000 for DC proper. There are about 50,000 people living in and around CoHi. I come from a small town of about 50,000 and this number of restaurants could certainly be supported there, so why not here? I don’t think population has anything to do with it.

  • @ 9:47: Bingo! CH is not a weekend destination. For all these places to make it, you need to draw in a lot more people from the outside. The Target draws people, but not at 9 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, when these places typically would have their highest traffic. The way CH has set up reminds me a lot more of Van Ness — a lot of big residential buildings — with a Target thrown in. And you can gauge the restaurants in Van Ness (or around most Targets) for yourself.

  • I’m very saddened by the closing of CocoLibre, but I’m pissed that people continually call it the “SKETCHIEST location in NW”. Again!!! I live there and I’ve never felt unsafe.
    The issue, as I see it, is that the area is not well traveled. Sherman Ave is the least walkable street I know of.

  • The kind of people drawn to target probably arent going to spend 60 bucks on dinner for two after shopping… and Maggie. Not sure what difference it makes when DC hit its population peak. the fact remains that DC is basically trying to maintain all of the commericial spaces and corridors from when that population was around and have added more commercial spaces to boot. all while decreasing substantially in size. adding tourists and suburbanites sure. but again they dont pop into CH or petworth for their sunday outings. And 50,000 people may live in CH. but the percent of those who are going to eat out at these restaurants EVER is probably 40 percent if that. add to that most of those will only eat out at them once a week or less. and again I’m coming to the conclusion we can not at this time support all these places. its a pipe dream. When social and the thai place open. Rumbreros will probably close. If saki club opens the asian place in the old myorga space will probably close. If the neighborhood was poised to support 5 more nice sit down restaurants than i think the ones we have would be bursting at the seems. Maybe when the street scape is done and we get a farmers market and the neighborhood continues to gentrify we will become more of a destination spot in the way dupont is. But this will all take time. especially thanks to the econ. Peoples mindsets are still in the boom I think.

  • Really, really wish the city would get moving on the Sherman Ave. project. Perhaps we should start a campaign to get Fenty involved the way he did with the Park Road plaza? It was supposed to get started a few years ago, and it will probably be delayed interminably until the higher-ups pay attention, even though it is supposed to be in the design process as we speak. Considering all the road construction dollars coming via the stimulous, seems like a great time to really push forward on stalled projects like Georgia Ave. and Sherman … Sherman will be SOOO much more attractive / pedestrian friendly once one of the traffic lanes is killed and sidewalks and lighting are improved, plus of course a green median to continue down from what has been installed on N.H. I propose everyone around Sherman start writing / bugging Fenty on this delay …

  • i’ve tried to post to this thread twice, and i keep getting rejected. what’s the deal?

  • I support an improvement project on Sherman — making the sidewalks better, adding trees and a median, etc — but I don’t see the point of removing a lane of traffic. Cars and busses have to travel somewhere, and with the Park Place apts there will be more residents who will be using that corridor.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    The following comment is from IMGoph:

    What was the actual amount of time that coco libre was open? two months?

    sounds like they didn’t have a strong business plan. reminds me of the meridian at georgia and missouri. you need to be able to build in a period where you have to anticipate losses when opening a restaurant. not sure if the owners thought this one through, but of course without them actually explaining the “forces” working against them, we just can’t know.

  • Hopefully, most of the residents going into Park Place (as well as the other developments next to Petworth metro) will be attracted in large part by its proximity to public transit, so they won’t add any discernable volume to peak-hour traffic in the area …

  • Thanks to those who are sticking up for me!! Please call, email and write Fenty! Please make your voice heard at public meetings!
    Signed, the corner of Sherman and Harvard

  • Don’t go hatin’ on the chicken places. Each one is a little bit different, find the one you like best and support it. Get to know the owners. It’s part of what makes the city so great, not everything is national chain homogenaeity.

  • The problem with Coco Libre was not the neighborhood, but that they seemed to be really new to the whole food service business. Even their landlord told me that they thought they would have a real hard time making a go of it. I remember the service unenthusiastic and very few food items in stock (unlike the former cafe in te same space). You’ve got to be able to give a new business more than 2 months to be profitable, but again I think they were a little niave about their business plan.

    The only way any business is going to work in this very small space is to have a product or service people can get really excited about, or be something we really need. Unlike a few years ago, there are more coffee/cafe options, so if you’re going to start one, you can’t just open it up and think you’re the only game in town. The niche any new busiess will need to fill is either the neighborhood’s missing service/product or really beat all the competition.

    Coco Libre sadly did neither…

    P.S. Yeah, we’ve got to get that Sherman Ave Project back on DDOT’s Radar – especially with the Stimulus $ coming!

  • I’d like to see some smaller commercial spaces for lease. Consider the space by the old Carvel. That place could be two smaller spaces instead of one big space. I have been to places in Manhattan and Brooklyn that would make these places work. Only mom and pop shops woul dbe interested in somehting this small though. There is a hamburger shop (The Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridien) in Manhattan that is so small that you literally eat on top of each other. But it stays packed. DC needs more places like this that would allow businesses to thrive without the scale and expertise of the Heights to work.

  • From the pattern of canceled plans around target, it would seem the places that fail are doing so before they even get off the ground (the tivoli space not included, more on that in a second). The ones that manage to make it to opening day seem to be doing fine. My guess is that the difficulties that accompany starting a business from scratch are the likely culprit, not a lack of available patronage. That so many have survived during this harsh economic climate seems to debunk the patron-deficiency theory.

    I was looking forward to Royal Blue, but the super long delay in its coming to fruition told me not to get my hopes up. Not surprised to see them pull out. Hopefully the work they have already done will make it easier for someone else to get off the ground there.

    As for the tivoli space (formerly mayorga, now the sushi place), that seemed doomed from the start. It had an awkward layout – too big but somehow not enough usable floor space – that surely boosted the rent beyond profitability. Combine that with the sense that they did little to push the more profitable restaurant side of things (I always took it for coffee-shop first, restaurant a distant second) and it’s no surprise they struggled. The sushi place seems to have addressed the latter issue. Let’s hope they can tackle the former and stay open.

  • I live on at Harvard and Sherman and if you think that is the sketchiest place in NW than your horizons are incredibly limited.

    Never in my life have I lived somewhere where I know so many of my neighbors by name, and folks are extremely friendly.

  • Another Sherman Avenuer here – it’s not pretty, but it’s not that sketchy. Would love to see this DDOT project up and running as well. As for Coco Libre, less the location, more likely the product and service. I went there with my family on a weekend afternoon – the place was empty with the exception of a friend of the one woman working there. She proceeded to talk to him the entire time she was making our drinks. After about 30 minutes my family walked out with the worst tasting coffee, tea and hot chocolate (3/3 is pretty bad) we had each ever gotten. A coffee shop is not a gas station – I don’t have to go there especially for slow, bad drinks. Hopefully, something a bit tastier will open in it’s place. Our family is still lamenting the loss of the Nani Kafe and its chocolate cigars.

  • I also live in Harvard, between Sherman and Georgia, and while it might look sketchy, it is not. We don’t see all the shootings that you see in 14 and Girard, etc. I hope someone opens another cafe/deli in that corner. “Nani Kafe” was really good, they had good sandwiches and coffee. “coco libre” was not as strong. Anyhow, they both lacked on decor and use of the space.

  • Jimmy- Im gonna disagree with your theory about the difficulties of starting a restaurant from scratch being the culrpit and not lack of potential patonage. From what i understand Royal Blue was closing in on the finish line for the buildout. And it was my understanding that Zinnia as well as sake club were owned by restaurant veterens. And the Wow Wingery is a chain isnt it? So I dont think the old unforseen hurdles of opening a business are to blame. Especailly when the neighborhood and the landlords in these spaces are actively trying to luer restaurants. You think Sake is paying rent right now? cha right. Donetelli will let them take their sweet as time opening. Long as he has the sign in the window that increases his ability to rent apartments. If you dont think they knew Zinnia and Royal Blue were a done deal months ago you are kidding yourselves. So again. why isnt sake sprinting to the finish line? why didnt royal blue finish at all? If there were lines out that door at commonwealth and the asian bistro and rumbreros and the heights you can bet it would be a different story.

  • does anyone have any numbers as far as how full the buildings in CH actually are? Like it highland park half rented? not even close? I do see a fair amount of people going in and out. what about kenyon and the building that houses Sticky Fingers. Its always been my assumption these buildings are all 2 thirds full if that.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I believe Highland Park is 90% rented out.

  • Anyone know the reasons these place are failing prior to opening? Is it loss of credit? Could be that the planning/buildout costs were not managed properly, credit ran out and had to go under? Is this part of the process of bad investments running its course and being written down? Seems that if a place fails before opening doors, something went wrong between owner and investors.

  • Anon 12:32, I don’t have any real data but I see what appear to be ads for the same apts at the Park Triangle running for months on end … I’ve never been able to figure out why they don’t just lower the rents since they’d lose less money that way than keeping them vacant. They often will have incentives, like 1-3 months free, though.

  • thats just it steve. The investors probably looked at the other restaurants and came to the conclusion that it wasnt going to work. Commonwealth is barely able to get booked solid on V day and Restaurant Week. (this pains me to say cause I really like it and eat there a lot so I hope Jamie is in it for the long haul) I went there friday night at 830 and got a four top no wait. A restaurant cant make it only being mildly busy on friday and saturday. As mentioned there is no lunch business in CH. and the dining pool for dinner is already looking a little thin between the exhisting restaurants. Target and Best Buy do not make the neighborhood a draw for dinning. The Best case scenerio I think would be to add a landmark theater to DCusa (that would be sweet) and would make more restaurants viable.

  • My girl lives in Park Triangle. The bldg seems fairly full. It has to be at ~70-75%.

  • Right, PoP, Highland Park has rented about 200 or so units out of 225 (very rough/inaccurate numbers, sorry, just trying to give a sense). Thought the building does seem strangely unpopulated from the outside. You’d think it would project a bit more bustle.

  • Target draws me from across town and then we eat in CH every time (almost).

    But we go to Pete’s every time!

  • Anon @ 12:22 – So after two years (probably more) and tons of money spent on renovations, Royal Blue is going to stop now, inches away from opening, because of mere doubts? The owners had previously mentioned that it took them a very long time to get started with construction (waiting for permits, licenses, etc). In the meantime, the credit market went from hot to frozen. My guess is the money dried up before they could finish and the creditors pulled the rug out from under them.

  • [email protected]:50, I was thinking the other day about how great it would be if there were a movie theatre in the neighborhood (Friday night shows at the E St Theatre seem to sell out whenever I try to go, so of course this is my wishful thinking that there could be a nearby alternative). I agree that it would increase evening and weekend pedestrian traffic and support a better dining scene, but I can’t think of any space big enough to put it. Something like the AFI or the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse would be nice too.

  • Two points jump out at me in the posts above: (1) There is virtually no weekday lunch traffic in CH, at least not of the variety that would be of use to these higher end places. Compare that to getting lunch in office-heavy DuPont, where you can wait 30 minutes to get a table at someplaces as ho-hum as the Daily Grill, and it’s obvious how the economics of restauranteurs change. (2) People will stop and get a good slice of pizza or a Five Guys burger in combination with a Target trip, but they’re unlikely to sit down for apps, a bottle of wine, two entrees, and dessert after that same trip. That means fewer Zinnia’s and more Desi’s.

    My sense is that CH probably is reaching/has reached its saturation point for sit-down restaurants unless some other “draw” is added, such as a movie theater or an expanded bar/club stretch on 11th, neither of which I foresee happening in the short run.

  • Jimmy- not sure the specifics on Royal. But this is clearly a trend. as in 5 restaurants are pulling out. So whats the constant? Im saying its the fact that there is not enough business in CH to go around. Im sure its harder to get money and thats a valid point. but if things were looking good in CH for sit down dining. and Royal Blue was that close. I would bet they could come up with the cash needed to open.

  • I know CH residents get offended at this point. But Target and Best Buy dont exactly make for a sexy dining Local. And obviously does not draw diners. Ive said it before but if the City hadnt gone out of its way to broker this deal to bring in the big box the neighborhood would have grown more organically and perhaps that would have included more residential and office space with ground floor retail-restaurants. Now queue the kool-aid drinkers who think that if Target and Bed Bath hadnt moved in that columbia heights would look the same as it did like it did in 92

  • Wonderful. Now William Jordan has found this site too … is there any discussion about Columbia Heights that he will not infiltrate and eventually attempt to completely dominate with the same four arguments repeated ad infinitum? No one is complaining about Target. There isn’t “organic” retail or commercial growth happening anywhere in D.C. right now if you noticed — it’s called a recession. CH is lucky to have the commercial center that we do have — we are the envy of basically every other neighborhood that was similarly situated a decade ago …

  • Its not that there are too many restaurants but that there isn’t enough else–not enough local shops, no entertainment prospects. We need things in CH that are unique to this neighborhood that no one else can offer (and I don’t mean gunshot victims) and that make people spend more time here.

  • 2:49- the exact response i was expecting. however I am not william jordan. In fact I am very pro growth, gentrification. but your whole post reveals you dont have a clue what you are talking about. What neighborhood would you say was equally situated a decade ago that now envys our butt ugly target and marshalls complex bringing in all kinds of trash to get cheap goods. Do I still sound like william jordan? CH could have been a logan circle. Now its confused. confused because it wasnt allowed to run its course. luxary condos aside a friggin target? Sorry. I live in the city to avoid such things. I mean now that its there I go to it. In and out fast as I can. but I dont want to live next door or frankly eat next door. The city had these plots of land for ages. if they had released them to developers without going the whole big box route CH would still be where it is now. Just without the big box. Its one stop from U street on top of a metro. walking distance to adams morgan. You dont want to admit there was another way. it helps you accept the abomination that is DCUSA if you convince yourselves it was the only way. I think it was an interesting idea by the city to keep big box dollars in DC but I think it would have been better situtated somewhere else. like. By the home depot in brookland or something? anyway. no need to get angry.

  • The organic growth concept is an interesting one to consider here (though surely slowing/stopped with the recession). Two other neighborhoods with now thriving commercial corridors come to mind: U Street and H Street. Together with Columbia heights, the three neighborhoods share a similar history in that all three marked the flash points for rioting after the MLK assassination and are now considered back in business. U and H seem to have traveled similar paths, particularly in the area of unique restaurants and nightlife certainly feeling more organic than CH. CH is certainly more tame in the nightlife department than the other two (I wonder if having Adams Morgan so close by stymied the neighborhood’s willingness to have many late night spots). U and CH have metro access, H is more remote. Target, best buy and co make CH more practical for retail shopping though – sorry boutique clothing stores, but not many folks can spend that much on a t-shirt.

    CH definitely feels less “organic” than those other two places. All have their ups and downs. Interesting to think about how they all developed their own feel though. I never thought target et al would be a magnet for diners, but I never thought of it as a deterrent. Why do people go to H street? Surely not everyone is waiting for a show at 930 or RockNRoll Hotel. Same goes for U. Makes me wonder what makes these things come together.

  • To each their own. H Street has certainly great things — definitely cooler and more interesting night life places than Columbia Heights. It also is wayyyy rougher / more sketch and will be for awhile, and lacks any sort of convenient amenities. Columbia Heights offers urban living combined with conveniences of (soon) two major grocery stores, soon to be tons of restaurants (already quite a few), and suburban conveniences of Target (which lots of people really like) and other stores. If you think it sucks, go live in Anacostia, or down by the ballpark, or on u Street, or petworth, or h street, all of which have their own unique characters, and all of which have lots of plusses and minuses relative to columbia heights. There is no single uniform model for urban development. I love to visit H Street but I’d sure as hell rather live in Columbia Heights …

  • There is no guarantee of “organic” growth if the city had done nothing by the way. there are a LOT of places atop metros in D.C. that are basically wastelands above the metros, and in this climate, there is little chance that is going to change soon. Could 14th street around the metro have ended up like U and 13th? I doubt it, but I suppose it is possible if highly unlikely. Could it be like Takoma Park is now? Certainly …

  • CH was poised to boom during the boom regardless. In fact because it took the city so long to work things out with its whole big box plan you could argue that CH would be further along and a more cohesive neighborhood if they hadnt butt in. I live in MTP so I dont mind how things went down. I do see how the big box is good for the city in a lot of ways. but I am certainly glad it doesnt define my neighborhood. And i say that even as MTP street isnt looking too hot. But I know that it will eventually and gradually elevate its stature and become a great little corridor. This would not be so if for instance the city approved the demolishen of the winston apartments that burnt to the ground and in its place to have a Borders Books put in. And then upon hearing the word starbucks, panera bread, rite aid, and office depot all opened up shop there. I would much rather have slower indy revitalization coming to fruition in the form of a fun funky urban neighborhood. but thats just me. In any event for the time being I have to walk to adams morgan to eat out and CH to get groceries. So ill have to wait to have my last laugh? I also think that with the heart of CH done in by the big box that this is why Tivoli North. at least some of Tivoli North wants to set itself apart. and Bill itself differently. and I believe it will gradually improve to be a much nicer area to live than anywhere within a few blocks of target.

  • Do you have any idea about when we can expect the dry cleaners at 13th and Florida to open?


  • anon- takoma is nothing like CH. not in density not in proximity to desirable neighborhoods or downtown. its apples and oranges. And nobody is comparing the neighborhood to H street now. H street just started its accent like 2 years ago… Its about the kind of growth. H streets being more like U streets. Also. while we are all stoked on the apartments nearing completion in petworth. That development jumped the gun due to the boom. and drove up all the properties in the area. hence. good buy temperance hall- domku, model growth. there is a reason that very little has happened in petworth since the condos were announced. Park Place made it unaffordable to open cute bars and third places. So Joe Englert took his ball and left for Hstreet..

  • Wow, talk about consumer confidence. Restaurants WILL fail if you don’t go to them. If you want your neighborhood to thrive you stay in your neighborhood. If places of business in your neighborhood go down, so does your property values. Crime will also go up, and I’m not knocking CoHi but they don’t need more crime!
    Maybe if everyone stopped expecting things to go to hell in a handbasket and just went about their daily lives like they had for the past ten years things would be ok!

  • I’m loving this new MTP anonymous. Very good insights and proper perspective on things…

  • What is Takoma like?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    No One’s excited about the coffee shop?

  • POP- def. walk past there every day on the way too and fro the tro. seems like a no brainer. the foot traffic there is insane. the fact that its indy is even better.

  • Love that a coffee shop not named starbucks is coming to that spot!

  • this conversation is impossible to follow because every single person is posting anonymously. i can’t tell who’s responding to who. ugh—use names people. there’s nothing wrong with a pseudonym.

  • Anon @9:38: “I think DC residents expect a level of options on par with a much bigger city in other words. even using bethesda as an example. Ton of Offices and Condos to support all the restaurants. ”

    You’ve got it backwards. The restaurants exist to support the offices and condos. There were offices in downtown Bethesda long before the fancy restaurants and bars moved in. My dad lived and worked in downtown Bethesda for 17 years before it became all fancy, and only a few of the restaurants around at that time still remain. My mom grew up there. It was a residential/commuter enclave long before it was a fashionable/hip place to be.

  • Since when did Bethesda become a “fashionable/hip place to be”?
    hahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahawow. that is fuh-nee.

  • Folks are leaving out an interesting wild card/dark horse in this discussion about development of the area – Georgia Ave. While we won’t have any Borders opening up on the 3300 blk of Georgia Ave any time soon, eventually things will start to change on the avenue too. My wife and I were driving around this past weekend with an eye oen houses and checking out development since we moved here 5 years ago. It’s funny – I have always kept up with every new development, but hadn’t seen the forest for the trees. Little by little stuff has really changes (for the better) since 2004 from Logan Square, U street, CH to Petworth.

    What seems to have a TON of development potential is GA Ave. and it can only become more desirable as the cheap rents/properties vanish from Logan Circle, Admas Morgan, 14th street, and U street. The whole legnth of GA ave. & 7th street just waits for those first retail pioneers to jump in. Development on U street has now pressed on all the way to 8th & U st. with the night club “Town” and the 9th & U street hot spot.

    Hopefully development on GA ave. can be more “organic” and indie. I spoken to some of my neighbors about an overlay for parts of GA from Kenyon down to Ecuclid that will provide neighborhood input into development.

    So, I think it is safe to say GA ave. is probably the last chance we have for nearby funky/organic (whate ever we want to call it) development!

  • Bethesda is a fashionable place to be for most people. It’s a great place- great ethnic restaurants, boutiques, shops, etc. Just because you don’t think so, doesn’t mean it’s not. I don’t think it’s particularly hip, but isn’t hip now just a code for urban hipster anyways? Therefore, it cant really be in a “nice” place. lol

  • I agree that Bethesda is NOT fashionable or hip. I worked in Bethesda for almost 3 years (until last year) and felt Bethesda was a soulless movie set – all very artificial, no character. I could not wait to leave to get home to Petworth every evening.

  • Could we support a movie theater? at the Tivoli location?

  • I just don’t think there is any room for a movie theater in there. Plus, there is already the very small Gala hispanic theater there.

    One thing that is forgotten in the “organic growth” discussion / assumptions is that CH has some serious limitations that U Street did not. U Street first of all had (one of Barry’s few positive legacies) the Reeves Center as an anchor plus some great infrastructure / historic places like the Atlas Theater, Ben’s Chili Bowl, etc. It got a head start on CH due to the metro going in there a few years earlier. It is right between Logan and Dupont, so the “organic” growth naturally flowed outword from those neighborhoods, unlike in C.H. And U Street, perhaps most importantly, did not have the biggest concentration of section 8 housing (none of which has any retail) making a large stretch of 14th street impossible / inhospitable for this so-called “organic” growth. Without some centralized planning / pushing for major development around the metro, there may well have been none, or far less than we have now. Lots of businesses were atttracted by the prospect of a huge amount of pedestian traffic generated by DCUSA. Sure, I love Logan and U Street, but to assume that organically that would have been replicated in CH seems to ignore many of the very substantial differences between those neighborhoods.

  • i doubt we could lure a theater to the neighborhood. but. the Estreet theater is essentially in what would be the parking garage of that building. being that the DCusa lot is under used perhaps a section of it could be put to use as a small two screen theater? also good retail the likes of which we tried to get but could not. Urban Outfitters and REI. would have made the neighborhood more of a destination. offices or a hotel would certainly help but I dont think there is anywhere to put them now. I think at this point is that the neighborhoods rise is a sure thing. the infrastructure is there. but for those who thought as soon as the mortar on these buildings dried the neighborhood would jump to life with high end sit down dining. you will be waiting another decade for columbia heights to really come into its own. until then we really are just the Target neighborhood. but who cares. its got everything we need. social, comonwealth, petes. what more could you ask for. arent we just getting greedy?

  • Can we leave out the U St. comparison? CH is eight years behind U st. for several reasons: The CH Metro opened in ’99, as opposed to U St. ’91; Project like enclaves (Columbia Heights Village, cough, cough..)

    I had friends who bought near the U St Metro in the early 90’s: Yes, they had to be careful how they walked home. It took several years for the U St. Corridor to become more used. Perhaps the Reves Center is a factor, but I doubt it. A larger factor seemed to be the 9:30 club moving to 815 V St, from their old digs downtown.

    The thing that anchored U St. on the east side is the 17th St. Corridor (Dupont East), and the 18th St. corridor (Adams-Morgan). As people got pushed out of Dupont (due to pricing), they moved nearby: First East, then North-East. The East end of U St (At 18th) had a few stores and resturants.

    So, on the East of U, we have the bottom of Adams Morgan. On the West of U, the 9:30 club created a draw of dives (Velvet Lounge?) betwen 9:30 and the Subway. Over towards 11th, little Ethopia moved in. The rest is basically infill, from Chi-Cha over. You will notice, 14th St near U sucked for years, and really only got “better” when Busboys and cardboard moved in.

    Give it time. The Columbia Heights Corridor (by Irving) will get better, and really has. In another eight years I’m sure it will be much nicer, and all the storefronts will be occupied. Perhaps not with chi-chi coffee within 150 yards of Starbucks, but occupied.

    This corridor is 8 years behind U St. More important is the former Nemiah Shopping Plaza, and what happens if Bed Bath & Baloney goes out of business.

    my $25

Comments are closed.