Sometimes no words are needed, the image speaks for itself. For weeks now it hasn’t been safe to walk under many of our favorite tree-lined streets. Walking around the FBI? The National Portrait Gallery? Bring an umbrella. Now that we’ve had our first really cold weather, we’re hopeful this seasonal nightmare is almost over.
Growing up in the area, one of my favorite childhood memories is a special assembly at school with Reptile World. Iggy the Iguana always brought laughs and Buttercup the albino turtle taught us about beauty in the reptile kingdom. Mr. Mike and his fantastic friends will be at the National Theater (1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) on Saturday, November 16 at 9:30am and 11am. If you have little ones or just a little curiosity, it’s worth the visit.
The Washington Business Journal examined the four redevelopment bids remaining for the Franklin School located at the southeast corner of 13th and K Streets; the Washingtonian also reported on the matter focusing on the renderings. It’s a majestic building that has been shut down since 2008 when then Mayor Fenty closed the building which had been operating as a low barrier homeless shelter. The final winning choice will be made in early 2014. For added background, this blogger chronicled the informational meeting and Q & A hosted by the city while this site provides history about the Franklin School.
The articles hit the high points of each of four distinct proposed uses:
- A technology research and development center for the company Costar which has its corporate headquarters at 1331 L St NW
- A Kimpton/Gemstone hotels 40 room boutique hotel called The Benjamin which includes a penthouse restaurant
- A contemporary arts, performance, and educational destination including culinary arts called the Institute for Contemporary Expression
- A tech accelerator with live/work space
None of the proposed uses are like the other and we think it’s great to see such diverse proposals make it to the final round. Frankly, of all these choices we like the contemporary arts destination the best because it’s the most unique. DC has plenty of hotels, office space, and one major tech accelerator already. The city also has lots of arts venues but we think having a venue dedicated to contemporary arts downtown and east of 16th Street might be the most accretive use of the space from a public goods perspective. Such a venue might even be able to integrate its programming with the revitalization of Franklin Park. That would be a double bonus.
Was it foolish of us to set ourselves up for disappointment? Probably, the information has been out there and we’ve been blogging about it for years. Still, we had high hopes that at the 11th hour someone with the power to make the change would realize that 10th Street NW, between H and NY Ave, shouldn’t be reopened to auto traffic.
But it’s going to be, and by the looks of things the other morning it might be soon. We had grand visions of 10th Street turning into something of a pedestrian mall. A bright, vibrant space for weekend and holiday markets, or other similar events. But that block of 10th Street which has been closed for so many years, is poised to soon allow two-way traffic; there will be no last-minute reprieve.
Now we know a lot of people will be happy to have 10th Street opened to auto traffic, and maybe this decision makes the most sense for the development and the city. Pedestrians, when that block of 10th Street does open, let’s be careful out there.
We reported that the Chop’t (Creative Salad Company) was moving along with construction in Market Square West (801 Pennsylvania Ave NW) at a good clip. Consider that clip really good because they opened last week on October 31 and are serving customers! They also offer delivery to a decent sized box downtown – see below for geofence and menu. In the Chop’t website locator, they are calling themselves the Archives location.
Their location is in the old Manhattan Deli/Acqua Restaurant space facing the Navy Memorial plaza’s waterfall with tables and chairs available for eating outside. If today’s weather is any indication, we might have one or two days left to enjoy eating outdoors on the plaza (note the propane heaters)!
801 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004
Menu Link [PDF]
Delivery box/geofence: E St SW to E St NW/2nd St NW to 12th St NW/SW
Mon thru Thurs 10:30am-10pm
Fri 10:30am – 10pm
Sat 10:30am – 10pm
We want to remind downtown stakeholders of all sorts that the public discussion about renovating and reactivating Franklin Park is back on for this Thursday, November 7 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Four Points Sheraton at 1201 K St NW. This discussion is a joint event hosted by the Downtown DC BID, the National Park Service, the DC Office of Planning, and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.
Penn Quarter Living has been posting on and discussing Franklin Park and what a great resource it could be since 2009 and we are big proponents of improving this underutilized resource.
Located at 714 7th Street NW, the Herman C. Ewald, or H.C. Ewald 1888, building was once the home of of Ewald’s Confectionary.