Some Residents Not Too Happy with the Folks from TGIFriday’s Coming to Columbia Heights

14th and Monroe Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I am writing on behalf of Monroe St NW residents; as I am sure you know, there’s a TGI Friday’s that will be setting up shop very soon at the corner of 14 and Monroe. Ever since we found out about this, the Monroe Street residents Association along with the Kelsey Elder community have been very inquisitive and worried about this type of businesses opening up in a residential street and specially right below a Community of elderly people. We have voiced our concerns to our councilmember Jim Graham and our ANC reps. We have attended multiple meetings and even one with the TGI Friday’s people on Wednesday. We had been working on a settlement agreement with the ANC and filed a formal protest to the ABRA Board. Everything went great until we questioned them on a couple of issues. They saw our settlement agreement and basically rejected any type of compromise on most of it. Their discourse on willing to do anything to be a good neighbor went out the door when we asked for them to amend their closing hours to around midnight. At that point their bullying behavior became apparent and they immediately shut us down without any room for discussion. The fact of the matter is that they have not shown any action or willingness to go out of their way to appease our concerns.

We asked for:
No DJ/Livemusic band,
No sidewalk cafe (there is not enough room either on Monroe or 14 St)
Earlier than 2 amclosing time (12am),
No dumpster on Monroe St.
No deliveries during rush hour

And so far we’ve got NONE of it. They said that they don’t plan on having parties but then why do you need live music/DJ license until 2am? They are willing to consider not having side walk cafe but its in the plan right now so why would they be willing after all approvals are received to not do it just for us? If their concern was US, they would have already scrapped that from the plan.

Closing time!!! One of the top three concerns!!! They were very clear Wednesday that they are not willing to negotiate at all on the 2 am closing time. They tried to play us with saying that they had been kind enough to scale back from 3 am to 2 am but since the get go, their permit request showed 2am. So they did not compromise here with us.

The dumpster issue, they came and showed us the compactor they plan on using and although it looks great, it didn’t seem as if they had gone out of their way to get this because of our concerns but rather because that is the equipment they use everywhere or in many locations. And doubt this will prevent the rodent problem on the block from getting much worse. As far as enclosing the illegal alley where the dumpster will be, they did say that they are willing to consider it but why would we trust them to take action on this if they chose to ignore our clear wish for this to happen in the Settlement agreement. So my take is that they saw the agreement said no then told us that they would consider it but we all know that if its not black and white on paper before all approvals are done, we will not get any of it. We must emphasize the need for this area to be enclosed by a structure not just throwing a plastic cover on a chain link fence as they drawings show. This dumpster will be right next to a family’s home. And their rodent control efforts must expand beyond the dumpster area to the rest of the block.

The impact on local traffic: Maybe here we got something from them by not having deliveries on Monroe but the hours for delivery on 14th St will make traffic just as bad as if they received deliveries on Monroe. We need to not allow deliveries anytime before 9 or9:30 am. Right now they plan on instructing supplier to deliver between 7 and 11 am which will cause a nightmare during rush hour for all that drive through the intersection as you can bet on having their trucks double parked and completely blocking traffics while they deliver. Having the two parking spaces as delivery only will not guarantee that the spaces will be available when deliveries show up.

The only real effort that I saw, is that the exhaust of the kitchen will go all the way to the roof of the building but even then, it seems that Monroe will get hit with some kitchen odors coming from the vents they want to put above the doors on the Monroe side where the kitchen will be.

So if you ask me, they didn’t give in on much at all. And they are doing as they please. So basically we are getting played. And that is me not even mentioning the impact on Kelsey residents (btw, for the sound proofing, they didn’t go with the cheapest solution but neither did they go with the highest level of sound proofing)

We plan a very strong presence and opposition at the upcoming ANC meeting and would appreciate any additional presence possible.

The ANC meeting is taking place this week on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Harriet Tubman Elementary School
3101 13th Street N.W.(Gymnasium)

162 Comment

  • Who the heck is going to TGI Fridays for a DJ? It ain’t a club.

  • Have these residents ever been to a TGI Friday’s before? Their list of concerns reads as though Stadium nightclub is opening a satellite location in Columbia Heights.

  • Sounds like one of those “get off my lawn” type of complaints. I’ve never seen a Friday’s with a DJ before, and I doubt there’s going to be a DJ in there every night. The Alero right across the street from this location stays open until 3 AM.

    • WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE ELDERS??? But seriously , this is a ridiculous complaint. We are talking about a TGI Friday’s, aren’t we?

  • The People’s Republic of DC strikes again. Did you really think when you bought a house on that street that nothing would go into that space? This seems like a bit of a drama over nothing particularly interesting.

  • As I nearby resident I really can’t understand the issue. This is a commerical corridor and having a restaurant wirh outdoor seating will add to the vibrancey of 14th st. Of course I prefer an independent restaurant but this is just part of the evolution of the neighborhood. To think this area was a wasteland for decades and now we are going to pick and choose the type of business coming into a retail space.

  • This is ridiculous… Just because some company doesn’t kowtow to your ridiculous demands, it doesn’t make them awful.

  • I ended up at one of the re-modeled TGIFs in Dallas recently later in the evening (long story) and they were definitely going for a club atmosphere (DJ, tables moved out of the way for a dance floor, drink specials). People were into it, but I think that’s also because there weren’t that many other ‘club’ options nearby. They may be trying to do the same approach here, but I don’t know how that will work here.

    And for them to not have their delivery options worked out is ridiculous. Those are narrow streets, and deliveries between 7-11 will just tie everything up even more. I really wish DC would issue formal guidance on delivery/double parking during rush hour on major commuter arteries.

    • LOL. Great.
      How long until Lil Wayne is rappin’ about poppin’ bottles and sippin’ syrup in a TGI Fridays?

    • Delivery trucks are a big issue throughout the neighborhood – just look at the mess on Irving St. by Acre 121 & Lou’s. They have delivery access in the back, but the trucks don’t want to spend the extra time to navigate that and so block a lane almost every day to deliver through the front. Trucks for Panera Bread often cross 14th St. to park on Irving then the guy wheels the delivery back on a hand truck. CVS trucks usually come at night, but sometimes they block Irving during the day. (And always leave 1000 bits of plastic fasteners all over the sidewalk & street.)

      I’m not in the “TGIF is evil” camp, but we do have to have some smart planning with delivery in a crowded urban center.

  • I’m with them on the traffic concerns actually – that intersection at Monroe and 14th is an absolute disaster pretty much all the time. But seriously, I will be pissed if these complainers mess with my ability to get mozzarella sticks at 1am.

  • clearly these people have never been to a TGI Friday’s before and never walked down 14th street at night. I for one am happy that that corner may have some life on it at night (wish it wasn’t a Friday’s), as it is a bit sketchy otherwise. There are MANY businesses that are open to late, Alero, Zeba, the Getaway (or whatever it is called), the heights, Acre, Lou’s, etc. Get over yourself and be happy that a business is moving in

    • They live on the second floor of that same building. Many of them have lived there for 30+ years, since long before Columbia Heights was a place most of the people who post on Popville would step foot in. Putting a venue with live music until 2 AM on the first floor of a building whose second floor is a senior home is pretty fvcking obnoxious. Come on man, get over yourself.

  • My only confusion would be who decided it was a good idea to open up a Friday’s across the street from a Ruby Tuesday. Kinda like why there was a Nash’s Sports store a stone’s throw away from a Modell’s or a Sleepy’s being near a Mattress Discounters. Just seems redundant.

    • You are assuming that all of those are legit businesses. I for one believe that about 60% of the stores in this area are fronts.

    • The logic is that if someone is in the market for a certain good, such as a bed in the case of the two mattress stores, that they will come and check out your store as well if it is only a short walk away. You see this kind of thing all over the place, with similar businesses clustering together. Another example is all of the high-end restaurants on 14th, or having Zara, H&M, Banana Republic and Anthropologie all relatively close near Metro Center.

    • It is called the hotel long principle

  • Your complaint is that they aren’t compromising with you, but you don’t offer any reasons why they should other than the fact that you are asking for them to. Are they planning on operating in the same fashion as other similar establishments in the neighborhood? If not, you may have a leg to stand on. If they are operating under similar guidelines to Ruby Tuesdays or the Heights, why should they disadvantage themselves as a business to conform to your requests if their competitors don’t have to. In a neighborhood like Columbia Heights, it doesn’t seem to me that anything they are asking for is unreasonable, and its impact will probably be totally unnoticeable…except for the horrible health effects of people eating this garbage.

    • Actually they are competing with Ruby Tuesday which closes at midnight every day. The Foggy bottom TGIF in Foggy Bottom also closes at midnight and 1 am. Not 100% sure but The Heights also closes early

  • Over a hundred Seniors live in the Kelsey building they should not be subject to loud music and drunken behavior till 2 AM. Not the right place for TGIF. Many are sick and in a rough part of their lives they don’t new this type of aggravation. The space is much better suited for retail. As that would not have the food waste, smells, drunken craziness, fights and sound problems.

    • Where is this building? There are no large apartment buildings on either side of the 1400 block of Monroe Street.

    • Loud Music? I can guarantee you that the fire trucks that scream by 30 times a day from the firehouse a block a away create far more noise than does a TGI Friday’s. Does Ruby’s across the street keep you awake? Then neither with Friday’s.

      Drunken Behavior? You are kidding right. That stretch of 14th is already chock full of frivolitiy and drunkeness. Friday’s isn’t going to make the situation worse.

      Lastly, that space has been empty forever. If a retailer thought it was a decent place, it would have been taken already, especially considering its Columbia Heights where “everyone” wants to open a store. But it isn’t.

  • They lost me when they complained about the place opening up on a “quiet residential street.” Uh, no.

  • Shame on the building for leasing to TGIF. Many other businesses have tried to get in but couldn’t afford the rent. So Winn chooses TGIF with deep pockets rather than something that would better fit community needs. Not excited for drunk people to be screaming on the corner and urinating where my son will be walking around the next day.

    • LOLCapitalism

    • If you want commercial rents to be lower, you need to open more spaces to commercial development. What are you doing about that?

    • Seriously? Because nobody ever gets drunk at any of the other places and no one ever pees on the street ever? I’m no fan of Friday’s but come on.

    • i think a Friday’s does fit community needs. there are a lot of families in the area who can’t afford some of the independent restaurants in the area. i can’t say i will be going there but i am sure a lot of people will. furthermore, as a 20-something living in the area i don’t really see Friday’s becoming the hottest club in town…

    • If it was going to be a food establishment, there was likely going to be an issue with booze because for easting establishments other than Charbucks and fast food, they all get liquor licenses. Doesn’t matter if it is a one off (not likely due to start up costs), a local restaurant group, or a big chain. The price on that real estate meant the need the revenue from liquor to have a chance at staying open.

      I don’t like TGI Friday’s but I am not going to get on their case about something(s) that would happen NO MATTER WHAT EATING ESTABLISHMENT opened there.

    • Well, given that TGIF will give them the best return on investment, it seems that TGIF is what the community actually wants, as judged by how it is voting with its dollars. And if the community isn’t interested, and doesn’t patronize TGIF, it will go out of business and your problem will be solved.

    • The people that are usually observed yelling obscenities and micturating along 14th are not the type patrons that regularly imbibe at fine establishments like TGIFriday’s… Jess, sayin’.

    • I didn’t know that Friday’s brought out the drunken animal in the city. I’ll be sure to check out the hype?

    • But they already are drunk and pissing on the corner… This might keep them away…

  • Sure, and this is probably the same person who wants DC to become more “vibrant”, more like “New York City”. You can’t have one without the other, I’m afraid.

  • this is right off of a commerical corridor. one of the busiest in the city. i sympathize for the elderly and hope it doesn’t effect them too negatively. for everyone else… you made a choice to live in a busy area and if you don’t like it you should move somewhere quieter. also, let’s be real, this griping would not be happening if some pretentious wine bar or tapas restaurant was coming to this space.

    • There are plenty of other places on that section of 14th Street that serve alcohol. Why does no one complain about The Heights or the TGI Fridays?

      • Because it isn’t their preferred type of business. I am sure if it was some “quaint” restaurant attracting the “right” type of patron they likely wouldn’t have minded as much.

        • I get a kick out of seeing the ranting from all the self-important, entitled yuppies on this site, with their overpriced small plates and cleaver hats. So, just don’t eat at TGIF. Turning your nose up at it because it doesn’t attract “the right people” doesn’t make you a better person.
          You knew what Columbia Heights was when you moved here. It will NEVER be Lower 14th and even with that, it’s magnitudes better than it was 10 years ago. Ok, the traffic sucks.

  • Ruby Tuesday has far better hours, no DJ, Karaoke and is not a place you go and get wasted at. Nobody lives above them or next to them. Not a fair comparison. There are Senior tere that are undergoing Chemo. Imagine returning home from that and being kept awake by the booming base below and the shouting outside your window. Sad situation.

    • TGI Friday’s is a place you get wasted at?! This is news to me.

      • You haven’t lived until you’ve gotten wasted at TGIFriday’s.

        Ok, maybe not, but yes, in some parts of the country, one does get wasted there. I don’t see that happening here though due to hundreds of better options in the District. Then again people choose to get wasted at Alero on U St, so never say never…

      • People in the ‘burbs definitely go out “for the night” to TGI Fridays to get wasted. This happens in areas that are dominated by big corporate chains and there’s not many locally owned alternatives. Whenever I go home for the holidays, my high school friends usually meet at the TGI Friday’s because they are one of the only things open late.
        The TGI Friday’s in Columbia Heights is appealing to suburbanites who still have connections to the CoHi area (e.g. your uncle still live in the area, or your grandma lives in the senior home above the restaurant). It’s not really aimed at the New Money Gentrifiers.

        • Why would they want to stay open until 2am if they didn’t want people to go there to get wasted? Late dinner?

          • The kitchen is usually open late with a limited menu. People will probably stop there for a bite (and maybe a nightcap) before driving home to MD.

      • I got wasted at the Ruby Tuesday, but I was at least slightly ashamed of myself and stumbled on home quietly. Damn you top shelf long islands!

    • Will there be live acts like at Love?

  • whatever, this place will be closed in 5 yrs anyways because it blows

  • Fine, don’t let them move in. They can lease space at the Petworth metro building instead!

    • epric002

      GAH! you keep your mouth shut about that!

    • anonymouse_dianne

      Yeah, Bozzuto holding out for a quality tenant and all that space vacant for going on 4 years now. Very amused to see that the apartment I rented at Park Place is also still (or again) vacant going on 2 years. Be careful what you wish for.

  • Nothing wrong with TGIF. This just is not the correct location. Abutting a private home and being directly below low income seniors who will probably not be able to effectively advocate on their own behalf. We are all going to grow old someday and new others to help look out for us. We should be cognizant of that now and make decisions with them in mind.

    • You should also be cognizant of buying or renting abutting a commercial space. It’s not news to anyone that a commercial tenant would move into this space. Retail doesn’t being in money like restaurants and Columbia Heights is pricey.

      Yes, I feel for the seniors who live there, I hope the sound proofing is adequate and they are not disturbed. But I certainly don’t feel bad for anyone who bought a house next to a vacant commercial space in the densest part of the city.

    • I’ve worked in the low-income housing field for years. Believe me, seniors are perfectly capable of advocating for their own wants and needs. For proof just go to any monthly DCHA board meeting and report back the average age of those attending and speaking.

      • I’d have to agree. If there’s any group that generally has plenty of free time and isn’t shy about telling you what they think it’s the old folks. They may be at a disadvantage in terms of access to information, but that means you should focus on giving them information rather than making their arguments for them.

        • +1000. Purporting to speak for seniors does not equal actually representing the interests of seniors.

          Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised (assuming the building is well soundproofed–something this rant doesn’t do much to dispute one way or another) if some of those seniors might be happy to have a reasonably priced restaurant downstairs. If I had limited mobility and a low, fixed income, a Friday’s downstairs that I could visit every 6-8 weeks for a $12 dinner might make me pretty happy.

  • Take it seriously. They are signing a 15 year lease Fools!

    • ok, they may be signing a 15 yr lease but will they really be crowded from open to close with loud annoying customers for 15yrs? I’m gonna say NO. So as soon as they start losing money on this location this corporation will pull out quicker than a…..uhh…well anywho this company will close shop as soon as they start losing money.

  • Uhhhhhh, wut? Don’t get me wrong, I dislike TGIFriday’s just as much as the next guy (and will likely never set foot in this location), but this list of ‘demands’ seems quite unreasonble. Did you really expect this lot to remain vacant forever? Times are a-changing.

  • This is the most densely populated area in the city. Who are you kidding with this quite residential BS? I avoid this area like the plague most of the time because it’s unappealing to be around. This TGI Friday’s isn’t what’s going to make it unbearable because it already is so. It’s not like people moved in to this area thinking it was a quite, quaint little neighborhood it’s been this way for a while now. And if you lived here before all that it’s still a hell of a lot better than it was in the past.
    As some have mentioned you really haven’t given any reason for them to compromise. did you ask Alero too compromise? TGI Friday’s tends t be a minority patronized establishment in cities. My question is whether this is the true motivating factor behind the complaints.

    • I was thinking the same thing! I find that the only restaurants in that area that have any diversity in them are the ihop and Ruby Tuesday’s

      • Yeah, those two and the Columbia Heights Chipotle have among the most diverse clientele of any restaurants in the city as far as I can tell. While I personally wouldn’t choose to eat there, more power to the TGIF proprietors for establishing another restaurant that caters to a broad demo.

    • everyones always trying to find a reason to think someone else is racist. well done, citizen.

  • Comparing to Alero doesn’t make sense. Over 100 seniors don’t live on top of that restaurant.

  • What’s funny is that I think many TGI Friday’s go for a club-type atmosphere on weekend nights. I’ve witnessed it first hand (not by choice). Not to defend the absurdity of some of the demands, but for people who are skeptical that a Friday’s would ever be a DJ type place I can assure you that it does happen AND it’s as annoying as you can probably imagine.

  • lovefifteen

    I can’t stop laughing at the thought of TGIFridays becoming a loud dance club where people get so drunk, they stumble into the street and urinate. Bwahaha!

    • maybe if you tell the residents of CH that this Fridays will serve small plates and PBR then they will settle down with all of their demands. mmmmmmmmmmm small plate jack daniels wings!!!!!

  • Pretty sure the Reign of Terror that is the tuba player and two trumpets make enough racket, along with the aforementioned fire vehicles, to effectively block out additional noise caused by Ruby Tuesday’s. CH is a noisy neighborhood, we probably just need to accept that (and enjoy the drunken drama unfold outside as we lay our heads down to sleep – last night was especially dramatic near Kenyon!).

  • Seems like most of these are complaints in which only the ANC and/or ACB have authority to negotiate with the restaurant. Probably why they ignored you.

  • i think the requests are fair and have good negotiation leeway built in.
    our governance in DC gives very little power to the citizens. i think it’s great there exists a mechanism by which we can assert a small amount of sway over our neighborhoods.

  • These demands are OUT OF CONTROL.

    Oh yea, let’s just leave this space completely vacant, or make so many rules that no business can make and legitimate money off of it.

    Commenter JenJen makes a great point – have you been been to a TGI Fridays?! LOL

    • these are the requests:
      No DJ/Livemusic band,
      No sidewalk cafe (there is not enough room either on Monroe or 14 St)
      Earlier than 2 amclosing time (12am),
      No dumpster on Monroe St.
      No deliveries during rush hour

      how is that OUT OF CONTROL?
      no one has asked that the space remain empty.
      are people even reading the post?

      • No one coming into that space can meet the demands. Hence way people are saying that you are expecting it to remain empty. You lease a building to make money if the demands are so crazy (like you posted) people cannot make money and therefore cannot lease the building and it will be empty. Do you understand that? Not too hard to get.

        • what you don’t seem to get getting is that it is not preposterous to not have a dj, or deliveries during rush hour, or to close at midnight, or to not have a sidewalk cafe, or to not have a dumpster up next to someones home. other businesses do this just fine. also, what you don’t seem to get is that these are requests ( not “demands”) and a starting point for negotiations. since you don’t actually seem to get it, that means that it gives room for compromises and agreements to be made.
          not too hard to get.

          • Ummm…actually yes, asking a business to close at midnight can and will impair their revenue potential, something most businesses model/forecast before signing a lease. Why lease a property if you cannot use it to its full potential. You seem to be missing that key point.

  • I think TGIF FRidays is actually gonna do well at this location.

  • I used to be so happy that there were no suburban chains in DC.. Applebee’s, Olive Garden, etc… (not counting that sad little Hard Rock Cafe, no one but tourist student groups go there anyway) there is that lone TGIFridays in Foggy Bottom, but that’s so novelty for the sheer nonsense that goes on there during HH that it can stay. We don’t need another. Especially at that intersection.

  • I think this cuts to the heart of it. I don’t think that corner can support both restaurants for long.

  • TGI Fridays will probably be the ‘sports bar’ I’ve felt Columbia Heights has needed for awhile now. It’s going to do well, there’s a ton of diversity in the area, it’ll do fine.

  • A little over a decade ago, this neighborhood was a filthy miserable hell with gunfire everywhere. Now they’re complaining about a TGIFridays. If the development had never occurred, think of what they’d be living in. It’s hard to sympathize when you consider that.

    • saf

      Did you live here then?
      I did. That’s not a fair description.

      • Agreed. I’ve lived in CH fo2 20 years. Not at all a fair description. The development has lots of advantages but lots of disadvantages too.

        • saf

          OK, I admit to living a few blocks up on the southern end of Petworth. It will be 24 years in February. And before that, I lived at 16th and Columbia.
          So from both of those places I regularly traveled through Columbia Heights. And yes, it was not in the best shape. But it was certainly NOT a “filthy miserable hell with gunfire everywhere.”

          • Grew up in Columbia Heights, off 14th and Newton, the gunfire thing is overblown (but it did happen), but I remember when there was a Payless right where the Vitamin Shoppe is now, or the chinese carryout where….I think Children’s Place is. The area was rough and sketchy but it has come a long way.

  • Wow, you all rant about “get off my lawn” and “the People’s Republic of DC” – but you are all exactly that!

    A chain restaurant coming into your territory? OH MY GOD!
    There are DC residents who care about things (reasonable closing times, businesses acting professionally towards existing residents) that you don’t? ATTACK THEM!
    Petitioners think a TGIF will get rowdy? MOCK THEM!

    Three cheers for mob rules. Maybe in a few months no one will post on PoP anymore except for people who think exactly like you and want the same things as you. Unbelievable sense of entitlement.

    • jim_ed

      Hold on a moment, you’re defending people making baseless demands of a business legally renting a space in a commercially zoned area and you’re calling other people entitled? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

      • How Rowdy is a TGIF going to get. Its a commercial space.

        • Gee, how rowdy can a commercial space get?

          And so what if it is a TGIF? What if they decide to rent out for after-hours parties a la the former Heritage India south of Dupont Circle? What if this TGIF turns out to be the loudest, rowdiest TGIF that ever existed?

          Wouldn’t you be concerned if an establishment with a liquor /dj/live music license, able to stay open until 2 AM opened underneath the apartment where someone elderly you cared about lived?

      • Why are there demands “baseless”? Because you don’t share their concerns?

        So, any business “legally renting” a space can do as it pleases? Residents have no right of redress?

        • jim_ed

          Their demands are baseless because they have no legal standing to make the demands. Its similar to standing at the edge of the ocean and yelling at it to stop being so salty; you can do it until you’re blue in the face, but it has absolutely no bearing on anything. And yes, a business that legally rents a space and confines their operations to what is legally allowed there CAN do whatever they want, thats how commerce works.

          • Simply not true. No business can just automatically start serving alcohol till 3 am because they’ve rented a space.
            No business can simply add a dumpster where they’d like simply because they rented a space.
            Of course there is a legal base to stand on for citizens to voice their concern.

          • It’s not just about what a business can legally do. The world is a kinder, gentler place when we don’t exercise 100% of our rights 100% of the time. Nobody is claiming what they are doing is illegal; just distasteful and disrespectful.

  • TGI Fridays? Congrats, Columbia Heights. Your transformation to Ballston North is complete.

  • In Russia I would kill for TGI friday’s! KILLLLLLL!

  • These people are whack. TGI Fridays should be the least of their concerns. If they are protesting a family-friendly establishment, they may want to instead focus on the myriad of crime/drug houses in the area instead. Of perhaps on more police enforcement?

    Don’t get me wrong, I d rather see a locally owned, non-chain place come in, but TGIF is hardly a “club”.

    Simple case of people trying to stop development. Welcome to DC! You live in one of the most dense areas int he city.

  • I don’t get it, if Friday’s is open past midnight, how can it still be Friday?

  • It is not the type of restaurant coming in that is so objectionable to so many. It is what come with it. If Estadio with its great food and ambience wanted the space it would be equally objectionable – if, it wanted hour till 2AM, music, DJ, garbage next to a home AND operatin directly below senior housing! That is the crux of the argument. It is not a blanket opposition to a type of restaurant. And it is absolutely not a way of keeping certain groups out of the neighborhood. That is a ridiculous and insulting accusation.

    • It’s tough for me to accept the “elderly” argument when they live above a commercial space. It’s not like this was recently rezoned or anything. Just sounds like this particular type of commerce is not desired, and it’s a little late for that argument. If restaurant use is not desired/acceptable or needs certain parameters, then that should have been addressed through the zoning board long before TGIF rented the space or with the building landlord to make sure that those restrictions were put into any leases. Don’t really have sympathy for those in the area that “didn’t see this coming.”

      • Commercial doesn’t mean it has to be a restaurant that wants dj’s until 3 am.

        There are lots of other possibilities, like closing at midnight, for instance.
        This whole attitude that if you live near a commercially zoned building then anything can happen in that building must die. This is the reasoning that led to the decline of mixed use developments in the past and the rise of suburban growth. We need our cities to be livable spaces. That doesn’t mean that every commercial space needs to serve alcohol till early morning. The neighbors have legal means to complain. That’s part of the process. Just as you have no sympathy for residents that live above commercial spaces I have no sympathy for business that feel that they won’t compromise with their neighbors and community.

        • yeah, but the thing here is that the business doesn’t want or need anything from you- so why *should* they compromise?

          you may have the legal right to complain. but what actually makes you upset is that you don’t have the legal right to compel.

        • Yeah, but that’s the thing. No one has pre-determined what commerce they do/do not want in that space. So to say that you have a problem with certain types of commerce AFTER they come in is just not likely to garner much support. It would be different if the issue had been raised previously by the residents raising a complaint now. But since that doesn’t appear to be the case, it seems a bit disingenuous to say that the business is being “unreasonable” by not heeding your demands/requests. Why should they? I mean if you rented an apartment and then after the paperwork was signed the neighbors just provided you a list of “rules” they wanted you to abide, would you be antsy to voluntarily accept them? Probably not – even if some of them are “reasonable”.

  • Stop bitching and move out of the city. lots of places in Va and Md where you won’t find this.

  • As a monetize resident – I can’t resist: No one is thrilled by a TGI Friday’s. Everyone is baffled that they went in across from a seemingly deserted Ruby Tuesday’s. But A) that’s urban development B) you should have gotten you’re ire up and proposed an alternate use of what has been ( for 3 years) a creepy vacant place and thus circumvented a chain establishment. C) Good. God. Columbia heights has bigger issues to mobilize around than a chain restaurant. School quality? Affordable housing? The growing homeless population – at that young families an vets with deep needs? Lord- even street lights. As a young woman I’d love for my Monroe community to rally around some better lighting so I feel safer walking home at night. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
    Ps I do live potato skins. They are starchy crack.

  • Surprised and discouraged to read so many nasty comments, false binaries, etc. on this thread. The residents’ group’s requests don’t seem unreasonable.

  • If the TGIF is directly below the senior living, and there is a live DJ or band, the seniors will have serious problems with noise. Our condo building had significant issues with noise from a restaurant on the first floor – when the restaurant had parties, DJs, weddings, and live music. It is very, very difficult to build out a place to prevent noise transference to residents above when loud/live music is involved. By far, the easiest and cheapest solution is to disallow live music and DJs. It would be in the restaurant’s best interest to cave on this item. Otherwise, these seniors are going to be calling/visiting/filing complaints like crazy. Best of luck to you seniors!

  • Kelsey Seniors don’t have the ability to pick up and move to a more quiet community in Maryland or Virginia. For most, this is their final residence before. Period. Most dont have the money or the requisite health for such a step. They are not asking to be put up in a luxury building in Georgetown with views of the river. Just a safe place where they can have some peace. Think of a difficult surgery you recently had now imagine it at 75. Now imagine it by yourself without support – eithe emotionally or financially. And then think of being in pain, having difficulty sleeping and dealing with thumping base, loud drunks and wafting odors of fried meat.

  • I don’t understand any of these frivolous complaints about hours, DJs. The only problem I would have if I lived there would be that a crappy TGI FRIDAY’s IS OPENING.

  • hispanicandproud

    I am prentending to be upset too then I will show up for the grand opening and have free loaded potato skins and beer like the rest of Columbia Heights.

  • The fundamental problem is not TGI Fridays. It is that it wants to turn itself into a nightclub with DJs, karaoke, and live bands directly under housing for the elderly that has been there upwards of thirty years and will be there for thirty more. If Fridays wants to remain just a restaurant, fine. If it wants to generate loud music, this is the wrong location. There is no way this cannot disturb old people spending their last years in the Kelsey Apartments. TGIF’s and Winn’s assurances otherwise are false and will result in continual disruption for the seniors living on the second and third floors above. If you would not put your own parents or grandparents in such a situation, you should oppose TGIF’s plans here. The residents are low income and have nowhere else to go in their later years. This is the last home they will know. It should not be made miserable for them.

  • How is 14th and Monroe remotely a ‘residential area” any more?

  • Regarding the issue of noise and senior citizens living in the same building, has anyone considered that they might not hear so well?

  • I live a short distance from this site. Two things are clear:

    1) The residents are likely to be disturbed by any restaurant with late-night closing using this space, although sound-proofing may help.

    2) A restaurant with late-night closing is a perfectly reasonable use for this retail space at the busy corner of 14th and Monroe. Columbia Heights has evolved so much that it is really the seniors’ home that has become out of place, not the restaurant. Even though the home was there first and in fact many years ago.

    For better or worse, the restaurant is clearly in the right here. Their proposed use is consistent with the character of Columbia Heights today. If the seniors’ home finds this unacceptable, then it needs to move. It is reasonable to ask for one-time sound-proofing but it is not reasonable to ask for ongoing revenue-damaging measures such as early closing etc.

    And finally, can we please get real for a moment. If that seniors’ home has truly been there for 30 years then they were there when Columbia Heights had a significant amount of gunplay and other violence. Surely if you lived through the gun violence phase you can see the bright side of the casual dining phase!

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