Wednesday, November 01, 2006

RP: Relating to the Florida Market

Rebuilding Place has some generalized thoughts on market districts like the Florida Market. One of Richard's concerns is that if you were to introduce housing into the Florida Market (which is zoned entirely commercial/light industrial, NOT residential) that you get an automatic anti-noise/smell lobby that can ultimately drive many of the market businesses out. Personally, I'm not sure I think that introducing housing to the market would necessarily be the first sign of the apocalypse (I think there are examples of this type of business co-existing with housing). But I get Richard's point. There are, after all, plenty of cases where homes have sprouted up next to existing industry, and the industry suddenly (with the demise of the "coming to the nuisance" defense) finds itself labeled a nuisance that's got to go. If I had the cash (and appropriate zoning), I'd probably love to live in an area like that (of course, I say this without having actually awakened to the the grind of trucks & strong odor of fish in the wee hours). So housing in a place like this is definitely for a niche market, and then what happens when people begin to move in who like the gritty look, but not the reality that goes with it? Like I said, all academic, since the zoning isn't there, but something to think about anyway.

While you're considering the matter, I'll refer you back to the example (for a vision of a dying market district) to the Meatpacking District in NYC. Incidentally, one of the friends I took to the Market last Saturday is a former New Yorker who, being a cooking nut, used to frequent the Meatpacking District back when it really funtioned as one (these days it's got plenty of restaurants & trendy clubs, but the meatpacking businesses are mostly either gone, or going).


Anonymous said...

Now after Adams Morgan is well into its gentrification phase, a number of the new, affluent condo residents have complaints about all of the "annoyances" caused by the numerous local restaurants and bars, purportedly trying to shut some of them down.

Do people like that realize what they're getting into when they plop down $700,000 on a new condo? Don't they realize that part of the draw and their property value is tied into the unique setting?

-Disgruntled and Disgusted H Streeter

inked said...

One slight difference is that I think Adams Morgan has actually gotten a bit louder (and visits from suburban drinkers who binge, puke & run have probably increased), whereas, I'm talking about a business district where the situation that could be labeled a nuisance is entirely pre-existing (and not increasing in intensity over time). Anyone with more than 5 years in DC want to challenge my perception of Adams Morgan?

inked said...

But yeah, if people move into a condo right off the strip in Adams Morgan today, they know what they are getting into (and I don't have much sympathy).

Mari said...

I can't help but be reminded of what happens when you put a residential development near a farm, complaints from the development. People go to place X, out in the country surrounded by idlyic farmland, and a few years into it people start complaining about the farms. Chickens crow, cows stink, pigs really stink, fertiziler really really stinks, the roads are clogged with slow moving farm equipment, there are no sidewalks and on and on.
The Florida Market is the worst place to put residential housing next to. There is stink, trash, noise, critters, and traffic all related to the normal operations of a warehouse food area.

inked said...

There are tons of cases just like what Mari mentions where some developer builds out by an existing farm, slaughterhouse, industrial business, and that entity, which was well within its rights to be there, and really wasn't bothering anyone before the construction of the housing, is forced to shut down or relocate. It is something that just doesn't seem right to me. Housing in a place like the market is a risky proposition. I like to think that it is not an impossiblity (if handled correctly), but I concede that I may be being a little naive on the issue (wishful thinking?). I continue to feel that the problem is people who move in craving "authenticity," but aren't actually ready to deal with reality.

Richard Layman said...

I have been involved in Brookland as of late, and a Yes grocery store is gonna open there. The person immediately abutting is complaining--made 70+ calls to DCRA, complains that the loading dock is being used, that trucks go there.

I said, why live immediately next to the commercial district if you aren't willing to co-exist? Some people said I was like Shane, trying to force people out.

Like Elise, I wouldn't have problem necessarily living in the area next to the Market (or I used to live immediately abutting H St.).

It's a good point about reality vs. the theory...

Speaking of NYC, the markets on Penn Ave. in Pittsburgh are comparable to places like Sahidi's in Brooklyn, but much bigger.

Alan Kimber said...

I haven't finalized where I stand on the potential development of the Florida market, but here are some thoughts that have occurred to me:

1. Perhaps obvious, but the Florida market could be preserved in part and developed in part...

2. On housing near a rebuilt (or preserved) market: Now that folks have seen the problems in Adams Morgan between the pre-existing conditions and the new condo owners, I think there may be several creative solutions. Buyers could be required to sign covenants during the purchase process (these would bind future owners as well). Another possibility would be to "condoize" not only the residential units, but also the business units--then the condo documents could reflect limitations based on the existing uses (this works even if residential is marketed as rental apartments--developers now typically "condoize" new construction apartments).

3. On physical displacement of businesses: Construction of replacement business locations could be staggered in such a way that disruption would be minimized. The example I can think of most readily is the floor-by-floor (top to bottom) relocation of residents of Cabrini Green public housing complex in Chicago--each floor was only demolished after everyone had been relocated from that floor. Note that this could also work if existing businesses were refurbished/restored rather than being completely replaced.

4. On rent increases (due to development) causing businesses to close: It seems that this is a situation where a subsidy from the District would make sense, to preserve the diverse mix of businesses, and also the 2,000+ jobs sustained by the market.

Ultimately, I hope that the affected ANCs will listen carefully to all of the impacted neighbors and businesses before weighing in on this very important issue.

Sorry for the long post!

Alan Kimber
Candidate for ANC 6c05
(c) 202-390-0235

mark said...

Note that the famous market in Brooklyn (on Atlantic Avenue, separating Brooklyn Heights from Cobble Hill) is Sahadi's, not Sahidi's.

Atlantic Ave resembles H St in a lot of ways: it's a wide arterial street that divides (and serves) populations to the north and south. (There has even been a spate of atrocious mid-rise construction just outside the historic district, on Court St.) It would be great if we had that same mix of retail & services.

rectalhorror said...

The Gallery Place Living blog is chock full of folks yelling about noise. Construction equipment mostly, but also truck loading/unloading noise in the morning. That's ALL you hear at a market. Businesses start their day early, so trucks have to unload even earlier (i.e., the tail end of your beauty sleep).

You build residential adjacent to the market, guaranteed you will have angry residents complaining about noise.

Kerry said...

This post made me somewhat mad at myself.

A few weeks ago, I was walking to one of the said "trendy" clubs in the meatpacking district (incidentally, too trendy for me - they wouldn't let me in), and was appalled by the god-awful stench coming from - surprise - a meatpacking plant.

Your post aroused my ire at the thought of those who would move into the Florida Market area, then complain of noise and odor. Then, when I got to the part mentioning the meatpacking district, I realized that I had fallen into the same trap. Shame on me.

That said, despite the noise and smells, I'd love to live near Florida Market. Of course, were it developed, I can't imagine I could afford it.