Scuttlebutt: Vacant Lot at Otis and Georgia Ave, NW to Be Developed into Condos with an Organic Bodega

Passing along a bit of scuttlebutt I heard about the long vacant lot on the corner of Otis and Georgia Ave, NW (across from Fish in the Hood and Lion’s Liquors.) Word on the street is that drawings are in the works for condos with some ground retail – possibly an organic bodega. Stay tuned.

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  • I’m glad to hear that this lot is supposedly going to be developed. There are a few vacant lots along Georgia Avenue in Park View that I’m always eyeing, thinking how great it would be for the neighborhood if they were developed.

  • I realize that I’m about to bring down a world of hurt on myself, but….I don’t like Georgia Avenue. There, I said it.

    • I agree. I am the biggest DC proponent out there, but I’ve never seen much charm or even potential for GA Avenue. I see more charm/potential even on Kennedy Street, and certain parts of North Cap!

      • Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I definitely know what you mean about North Cap – it has some beautiful architecture and some great sight-lines, it just needs a little TLC for it to really shine. Not sure I can say the same about GA Ave.

      • +3…I have a friend who grew up off GA Ave, she said she hated it as a kid, and would avoid walking down it, today she still hates it.

        Maybe soon things will change given all the development.

      • +1 for Kennedy Street potential!

        • I have a feeling that any second now the GA Ave supporters are going to start bashing us with why it’s such a great street.

          • Presently it’s not a great street. Hence the reason why it’s being renovated.

          • this comment is hilarious. “i have a feeling my troll bait is going to get some real bites soon! just you wait, person who changed the subject! you’ll see how clever i am on the internets!”

      • I don’t get how you can not like a street. That’s like saying you don’t like a tree. But nonetheless, while you sleep, the property values are rising dramatically and if you’re an investor with bias, it’s really your loss. Mazel tov.

      • Yes to KDY! So little there, yet so much potential. Nice flat street and really wide sidewalks that are in good shape.

        Just don’t get rid of Tony’s or the Rocket. :p

    • Georgia Avenue isn’t exactly wild about you, either.

  • About damn time. Place has been an eyesore for over a decade.

  • umm, i believe that it is now fish in the NEIGHBORhood

  • “organic bodega” seems like an oxymoron.

    • Yeah — I thought, “Oh, so does that mean that the lottery cards that end up strewn all over the street will be printed with soy inks?”

    • I guess it’s understandable if you use the most general definition of the word “bodega”, which is “a mini-mart or grocery store.”
      To me as a NYer, the term means a grocery store that specializes in spanish items and which is owned by spanish people. I would welcome such a store to Georgia Ave, but I doubt that’s what coming – assuming the scuttlebutt is correct.
      Probably just attached the word “bodega” to signify hipness.

    • I thought that was a big awkward as well. I guess it just sounds like the owners are using the word bodega because they think it sounds more NYC or cooler than corner store – at which point I just have to sigh.

      • The small grocery that used to be just north of the Soviet Safeway had a lot of Latin American products but wasn’t exclusively “Spanish.” Everyone I knew in the area called it ‘the bodega’ in the early 1990s, and none of us were trying to be cool by doing so. So the term has been around in DC for a while and not in any attempt to be hip.

  • Let’s face it–GA ave is basically a urban freeway, so no charm potential. With that said, any new building is a welcome addition, and I see none of the old ones worth keeping.

    Does anyone know what plans there might be for the vacant lot at GA and Kenyon?

  • No potential? How can you say that when there is a metro station 1 block away? Metro station = potential.

    • I said “charm” potential. 14th St had potential, and it worked, but I would not call the new development there “charming.”

      • I’ve lived here for 16 years, back when 14th St. looked every bit as bad as most of Georgia Ave. I recall a drive with my buddy down the street in 1998 during which I declared “yeah they’ve fixed up 17th St., but 14th St. just doesn’t have the same potential.” I was of course incorrect.

        The reality is that every street has potential if you respect what its form and function are. Fourteenth St. was also a commuter route (and still is in parts) but that didn’t stop anything. Parts of Georgia have mature trees and attractive rowhouse/commercial spaces – these areas are viable commercial spaces as-is. Some of the ugly 70’s stuff will eventually get torn down and redeveloped.

        I’m obviously a booster because I live a block away from Otis and Georgia, but I really don’t get the idea that it doesn’t have “potential”.

        • AGAIN, i didn’t say it doesn’t have potential–it’s just that very wide and busy streets like GA dont’ lend themselves to being charming. Yeah sure, if some developer can come in and by up each little dumpy building–one by one, since they’re singly owned–and either do an extreme makeover or knock them down to put in more cloned Hoffman-style buildings, I ‘d be thrilled. I live by GA too.

          • and for what it’s worth, the owner of the new apt building at GA and Hobart Pl is building another one across the street where the car repair shop used to be. I think they break ground in Sept.

          • I agree that Georgia will eventually look more like Connecticut Ave (nice but more functional than quaint) than H street or 18th street (nice but more quaint than functional), but I don’t see why that is a bad thing.

            It’s just about what people want to live next to. Different strokes for different strokes.

            In DC it’s considered a great neighborhood as long as: people can live safe and near public transportation and there are at least fifty bars in a ten block radius. Georgia Ave gets closer to that every day. For better or for worse.

            Obviously I live on Georgia and for me, and please don’t feel any need to respond to my personal preference because that is all it is, I like a little functionality in my surroundings and I honestly hope that Georgia keeps a bit of it.

    • Exactly. There are no housing or retail bargains to be had around either the Columbia Heights or U Street metros. The focus is turning to Georgia Ave/Petworth.

  • Every year or two throughout the 80s and 90s District officials would show up on GA Ave with some developer, don their hardhats, and with turns of their gold-plated shovels usher in the Rebirth of Georgia Avenue. A lot of public money has disappeared down that s-hole. I too have long thought that Kennedy St would be the new H St, but it needs a sugardaddy-entrepreneur like H St had. Meantime, I’m tryna process the term “organic bodega.” I guess it has to happen sometime.

    • Does it surprise anyone that development didn’t take off in these areas in the 80s or 90s? By development, most people mean financial investments. Yet, most businesses do not have the incentive to do significant investing in areas with low incomes and high crime. The investment is happening now, because people with money who aren’t prone to being shooty-stabby are moving in, and businesses are responding. So yes, it’s different this time.

      • Redevelopment wasn’t happening anywhere in DC except for Georgetown in the 80s and 90s. 14th street, U street, and even Dupont Circle were crime pits back then… Oh how soon we forget! everyone’s acting like Georgia Avenue is a black dog… They have no clue about how impossible it is to find a house for less than $300k on it right now… *sigh*

    • Agreed, especially regarding the need for one or two major investors to put money into Kennedy St. and jump start development.

  • God I hope this scuttlebutt is true. that lot is a hot mess. GA avenue generally sucks now but I think it has more potential to be a H street/11street. So many small spaces that could still be turned over to good local retailers. As for organic bodegas, isnt there one in bloomingdale on the corner at RI? Also, Rock Creek Church Market actually has some really good organic selection in there and they run a nice clean store. Anyhow if a developer is putting money into condos, trust me they aren’t going to be one of those craptastic corner stores and bullet proof glass on the ground floor.

  • a streetcar line along GA ave would change everything. it could very well boost both the functionality and appeal of the street.

  • I live a long 3 blocks from Georgia and I hate it too, I told our realtor 3 years ago, there’s just nothing for sale at any of these depressing stores that I would want to buy, let alone go out of the way for. Wigs and bad Chinese food. BUT…I do like Yes!, Safeway,Looking Glass, DC Reynolds, Fusion Indian, Moroni Bros., Qualia Coffee, Billy Simpson’s, and being able to shoot up to Silver Spring or Takoma Park comes in handy every now and then…when we lived on Mt. Pleasant we noticed all the businesses were moving to 14th. Now those businesses will move again? I think the same forces that are driving the opening of all the cool new places on 11th are also at work on Georgia.
    Wish that Howard U would take more interest in the eyesores around the campus…

  • I think Rhode Island Ave has better long-term potential to be highly desirable. I haven’t been impressed by the poor quality infill projects (the cheap “mixed income” but mostly Section 8) buildings on Georgia Ave.

    • yeah its shame about the Avenue (the new one currently leasing). its 100% affordable which does nothing to deconcentrate poverty or to contribute to retail vibrancy. (unless buying stolen phones at manny and olga’s is your thing).

  • Any further info about this project, such as how many units/timetable? The corner has been as provided in the picture since 2002 when I first came to DC and lived in columbia heights. Glad it will finally become something useful instead of a litter lot. Also, any updates on Park Place, and the building on Park Road and New Hampshire, retail at new building at Georgia/Newton?

  • Affordable housing is basically a necessity in DC, especially as parts of DC start to revitalize, etc. If you don’t want to live around poverty move to the burbs. Without any affordable housing parts of DC will soon look like a mini-version of the pretty homogenous and wealthy suburbs. Sorry, I guess parts of DC already do look like this!

    • that’s what most newcomers want. bethesda with cool rowhouses. “affordable” housing is a swear word to many.

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