Ellwood Thompson’s Update – Mayor Fenty at NCHCA Meeting Tonight


We’ve been following the development of Ellwood Thompson’s status in opening a new store in DCUSA in Columbia Heights. Following is the latest word. If you’d like to see them make the move make sure you let Fenty know.

From an email:

“Ellwood Thompson’s will be appealing to Mayor Fenty for funds to begin construction at DCUSA. The Mayor will be at Tubman Elem School tonight (Wed) for a forum to include discussion of “commercial development” starting at 7pm at the meeting of the North Columbia Heights Civic Association. He also can be contacted through dcgov.org under “contact the Mayor”.”

“North Columbia Heights Civic Association Presents:

Wednesday, November 4, 7:00 P.M. at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School (Irving and 13th St. NW)


For more details, and more information on NCHCA: http://northcolumbiaheights.googlepages.com/”

26 Comment

  • Interesting related post: http://dcfpi.org/?p=1049

  • Another distinct handout? Or is this part of the original tax incentive given to all grocery stores?

  • How amusing that VOR is talking about “handouts”!

  • The city should use stimulus funds for this project. This will create jobs, which is what stimulus funds are for. As a DC and Federal taxpayer, I support there request.

  • It would be interesting to see the numbers, but the increased income and sales taxes the city would earn from having ET operate in that spot would probably mean a net gain in revenue for the city, even after subtracting the cost of whatever financing they’re requesting. I suspect that if the city doesn’t do something, that space could sit vacant for quite a while, and the added jobs would be good in this economy too. I’m glad Whole Foods didn’t come to CH because of the signal that brand would send to some about the neighborhood having “arrived” (barf), but this way people can still get their free-range cucumbers, and it seems like a good compromise. Plus, we really do need better options for seafood and produce. (Enough with the furry strawberries and stinky fish from Giant!)

  • I wonder if anyone will ask him about the new ball field behind the school with his name in giant letters all over it.

  • The city is not projected to make any net gain on DCUSA, why would they on one grocery store?

  • I dunno, VOR, how much net gain is the city expecting to make from the 14th street projects? What kind of income tax do those residents pay? How much does containing/mitigating the violence caused by those residents cost the city?

  • Pay no attention to “voiceofreason”, he has over the past couple of years proven time and again to relish playing the troll, and the contrarian in his various guises. The Prince of Petworth could post something about baby kittens being cute, and “voiceofreason” would chime in with some blather about how veterinary care for kittens is taking needed healthcare away from poor, old-time DC residents. He knows that by throwing out inflammatory, obviously false statements, he can hijack the thread, and play the working class hero (even though he’s a lawyer or something), and cause the comments thread to descend into chaos. Like any internet troll, he thrives on rancor and disarray, so I suggest ignoring him.

  • so this is only tangentially related, but i don’t know where to ask it otherwise… why are there uninstalled escalators laying on the ground of the ellwood thompson storefront (or maybe it’s the storefront directly to the west of ellwood thompson?)?? they’re pretty cool to see, just sitting there on the ground and not upright, but i guess i’m curious where they are going? are those 2-story storefronts?

  • The meeting was great. The biggest news from the meeting is that the city is planning to very soon get a redesign process going for the 11th and Monroe Park; funds are already in place.

    Ellwood’s wasn’t specifically addressed at the meeting except tangentially, but I talked to the guy who runs DCUSA after the meeting and he said Ellwood’s is still having financing issues, but they are working hard with DSUSA and DCCH to resolve. He said it would really help if TONS of people emailed Rick from Ellwood’s to express our enthusiasm / support for the venture, because Ellwood’s is still not fully aware of just how intense the community support is. I need to dig up his email from my notes but I’ll do so first thing in the A.M.

  • I think it’s fair to debate whether or not it’s a good idea for any business to get additional public funding over and above what is already allowed by law. If raising the issue is being a troll, slap a troll name tag on me.

  • VOR -when 3 reasonable posters quickly call you a constant troll do you really need more?

  • Steve, I’m not really concerned with that, what I’m concerned with is the use of public dollars to prop up private business, the extent of it, the justification for it, and the scope of it. These are things any resident should be interested in. Calling me names because I have a different opinion than you and some others isn’t really helpful on any level.

  • What the DCFPI guy didn’t mention is the Yes! Market that’s also within walking distance of CH. This isn’t exactly a neighborhood that’s really starving for grocery stores – or for fresh organic produce, for that matter… It’d make sense to incent a grocery store to locate in say Ward 8 (they’ve got the one Giant, I know – but for the entire Ward), but CH is kind of a stretch…

  • Exactly the Matt. I’d love to see ET in the neighborhood, but if they can’t afford to come even after getting substantial tax incentive money, maybe it’s not appropriate at this time. Using extra public funds to support one particular business that isn’t filling an urgent need seems irresponsible to me Now, I realize that this is all speculation because as far as I know, no official ask has been made, and no official decision has been made, so it’s wait and see.

  • DC shouldn’t use taxpayer funds for an organic grocery story that is probably out of the price range of most of its taxpayers.

  • Why should city tax dollars be spent to develop a private business? Isn’t it the responsibility of the business to secure its own financing in order to open? The government, especially the DC gubment, shouldn’t act as a bank to finance private business.

  • In times of slow economic growth and high unemployment, government must act as a catalyst to get the people working again. This would do exactly that. You’d start with constructions activity/jobs, then you’d have store stocking and prep, them you’d have the actual store operating. A small quick infusion of funds would help create a steady and log term stream of economic activity. I’m not advocating that DC gov fund the entire place, just the small bridge funding that ET needs to move with it’s already secured funds.

    VOC: The DCUSA project will be a net gain for the city within the 5-10 mark when you included all the related economic activity it fostered in CH.

  • I am not wading into the debate about whether or what DC can or should do to help ET, but my understanding Bonnie is that Ellwood’s is not priced at Whole Foods levels of unaffordability, and would instead provide real competition for the Giant (maybe priced marginally higher, but also have better quality produce, meats, fish, etc.).

    There was no specific discussion at the meeting about potential city subsidies for ET. My understanding is that financing is still an issue due to the tight credit markets (which are hindering lots of potentially profitable businesses, not just ET). David Stein, director of building operations at DCUSA, is working with ET and DCCH to figure out alternative financing arrangements. You can reach David at [email protected]. He is VERY excited about ET being in DCUSA. David also suggested that we continue to contact Rick Hood at [email protected] to express community support and enthusiasm for ET, as evidence for Rick and anyone else he contacts of the level of excitement / support for this particular store.

    Full meeting minutes from last night will be posted on the NCHCA website later this week. Thanks.

  • “The DCUSA project will be a net gain for the city within the 5-10 mark when you included all the related economic activity it fostered in CH.”

    Highly suspect argument. DC is STILL paying for the damn parking garage, out of affordable housing funds, and the actual tax revenue coming out of DCUSA is 50% less than was projected when it was developed. Meanwhile, some of the spaces there remain vacant. The last figures I saw from a few years back indicated that it would take 20 years to pay off the TIF, and I’d wager that due to the economy slumping, it’s even longer now.

  • VOC: the current accounting on DCUSA have filed to take into account the additional development has spurred in the immediate area and the payroll side of the equation.

    “It’s jobs, stupid…”

  • @ Bonnie

    A good portion of people who can’t shop at ET, which is actually a lot more moderately priced than Whole Foods and close to Giant prices, don’t pay any income tax anyway.

  • Why should the city help another grocer open in this area? Giant, Target, Yes Organic are all within reasonable proximity. We need diversity of services, not another place to buy food.

  • So is the fact that ET is playing Hamlet here, trying to figure out what it is going to do, actually preventing something else, anything else, from going in there? If so, then I say someone needs to tell ET to shit or get off the can – as my father would say. 🙂

  • I personally would like to see a Trader Joe’s in that location. I have been emailing them pretty consistently asking them to explore the possibility of moving into that space. I would encourage others to as well.

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