Dear PoP – What is the Park Road Facade project?

“Dear PoP,

I was walking down park road and noticed some guys nailing wooden stops to the brick on a storefront. Above them was a sign that said something about the Park Road Facade Improvement Project. It’s on the East side of the strip between 14th and Hiatt, near Pho 14.

Maybe someone more familiar with this type of construction knows more. Do you know anything about this project and what it entails?”

There was just a groundbreaking on this project yesterday. Sounds like it’s gonna be a serious improvement ($700,000).

Following is a press release about the groundbreaking from Mayor Fenty:

“Today, [Wed. July 21]Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, Department of Housing and Community Development Director Leila Edmonds, and Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH) CEO Robert Moore joined Ward 1 business leaders to begin façade improvements on 13 businesses on the 1400 block of Park Road, NW.

“Supporting small, local businesses has always been important to my administration,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “The renovations to the businesses on Park Road will continue to make Columbia Heights a great business corridor for District residents to find the goods and services they want.”

“We are happy to support the façade improvements on Park Road,” said DHCD Director Leila Edmonds. “The improvements to the businesses on Park Road will not only enhance the image of Columbia Heights but can also continue the economic growth in Ward 1.”

DHCD awarded DCCH a grant of $618,000 for the project, which is expected to cost approximately $700,000 in total. DCCH is overseeing the façade renovations with Keystone Plus Construction as the general contractor and Architecture by Tono as the architects. All property owners of the 13 businesses are members of the Coalition of Park Road Businesses, which was founded in 2006. The store front renovations are expected to be complete fall of 2010.”

12 Comment

  • Yeah I’d love to see renderings. While many think this strip blights the rest of the newly constructed neighborhood. I actually find it more asthetically pleasing than the new construction. I hope they are just getting new windows and paint and not being made to fit in with the rest of the ballston-esque looking buildings in CH. That’s my two cents.

  • step one, pay to have the signs re-done to get in good graces with current merchants and make streetscape look nicer.

    step two, convince landlords/developers through tax deals and other sweetheart deals to drastically raise rents and/or break leases with current residents.

    step three, move in national chain stores that can pay high rent and excite yuppie gentrifiers and make developers more rich.

    step four, politicians rake in bribes and campaign contributions for their use of tax dollars to subsidize these new tenants and the landlords.

    lather, rinse, repeat.

  • I wonder if they’ll try to recover any of the original brick and moulding, or just cover it all up with some kind of marble/granite stuff.

  • So sick of construction!

  • Anon makes a point; I hope they make these look a lot nicer and more inviting, with better signage, no rusty grates, better windows, etc., without completing divesting that stretch of character / creating an overly-uniform look. But overall, I am glad the city is making this investment.

  • So sick of construction! Going on 3+ years!

  • Watch out for the Keystone Plus drivers, they dented my car.

  • The design attempts to maintain many historic features. Signage will be similar to that a Tivoli Square a combination of vertical banners and small name signs.

    A good number of buildings are owner occupied.

    Initial funding for facades was awarded in 2003, but was blocked by the CM.

    Additional dollars designed to match owner and/or business operator investments was to come from the $2M Columbia Heights Small Business Assistance Fund, which was part of the DCUSA TIF. The fund was to specifically target this business corridor as a priority and became available in Feb. 2006.

    ~$300k was lost to earmarks which the CM distrubuted to Mt. Pleasant and Tivoli North Business Assoc.

    ~$500K was given to LEDC which did facades in Ward 4 and Ward 1 around spring Rd. Only spent about ~$130K. Mishandling with this impacted the expansion of CH Coffee with was promised support but never got it.

    ~Tivoli North got another ~$160K in grants.

    ~ $1.0M basically got lost in political deal making from 2006 until today.

    After a 3 1/2 year fight the CM and Mayor agreed to allowed funds to go to this project.

  • Sorry – I don’t understand. This sounds like the govt. is taking money from me (taxes) to give to others to fix up their private property?

  • Hey, isn’t Fenty up for re-election this year? Oh, I see what he did there.

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