Wednesday, December 13, 2006

RP: More on the Florida Market

Richard's got another post on the topic, and this one has renderings from the new version of the New Town brochure.


history disneyland maybe, but... said...

While Richard writes that he thinks this newest rendering is better. I agree that DC would be missing a real opportunity to capitalize on what tourists come here for- a glance into history. While it might not be totally authentic- I think that anything that goes into that area should be more historic in feel and aesthetics. Those glass and metal structures shown just don't do it fo me. Give it a real sense of history-like Eastern Market and I think that it can be a success. Otherwise it will be a venture that seeemed like a good idea at the time but that fades into obscurity.

Anonymous said...

I think it's easy for us to say what the market *should* be.

The fact is, DC has little space left for development, and the market won't stay as it is for very much longer.

Outside of our little area in NE, very little of DC's residents, let alone tourists, know about the market.

I even had a cabbie hesitate to take me there once, because he was worried about crime.

I bet if you did a poll in NE, more folks would be for *any* kind of development.

inked said...

If you manage to get a majority vote for a bunch of slot machines in the same location (hey residents can use them, it will generate more funds, and it will bring tourists) is that a good idea? I'm not saying the market should stay exactly as it is (the idea that anything really remains unchanged is a self-deluding one). I'm saying there are better plans out there for this space.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that's a fabulous idea!
Slot machines would be a nifty addition to that area, but I'm not sure about DC laws regarding gambling. They do have the Lottery here, which is similar to gambling, but it's not really the same as slot machines because of the enormous amounts of money involved.

Maybe we could organize a community rally to support the idea of introducing slot machines at the Florida Market, no?

hstreetrez said...

Anonmyous, you are a dimwit.

As for people wanting "anything is better than what is there now" should be careful what you wish for. Check out the crumby SW Waterfront Mall. Check out the old Post Office. When you exspect very little from a place that is what you end of getting. Are you someone who is willing to settle for scraps so that others can get rich from our neighborhood?

But the real issue here is the forceful displacement of successful merchants. It is truly a sin.

Anonymous said...

Hey, it wasn't my idea about the slot machines! Sorry if you don't like it. You need to call the inked person names, not me!

Why is everyone so mean?!

Rob said...

Yeah, man. I don't agree w/ slot machines but there's no need to be calling people dimwits.
Thanks Richard for posting that brochure. Inked says there are better would be great to see them.
I have to say they *have* done a great job of incorporating the "against" arguments into at least their marketing materials. I doubt it would work because a) unless there was some sort of long-term cheap lease for current residents they'd never be able to pay the rent and b) I don't know if I saw any way for the tangle of cars & delivery trucks to fit into the new idyllic street scene they portrayed. Inked has also commented about where the vendors would go during construction...maybe that could be handled by phasing the development so that some buildings remained open?
One last comment on the Brentwood shopping center...I've spent thousands in that Home Depot and most of the time the stuff I buy is way to big & heavy to cart home on the D8 or D4. That HD & Giant is a blessing at the same time it's a curse.

Anonymous said...

First of all, oo one should ever call Inked names. She does a huge community service with this blog.

Anonymous said...

yes! And her idea about slot machines is excellent as well!

Let's all support her and this idea of the machines.

You go, inked!

hstreetrez said...

You all are dimwits because your reading comprehension is terrible. Inked does not support slots.

Anonymous said...

You can read her post, the third one on this thread. She has the idea to bring tourists and $$ with slot machines.

She is a very wise and intelligent. You should not be dissapointed in her, and call her names through me.

You should be ashamed of yourself. When the slot machines come, you should definitely not be allowed to play them!

inked said...

The latest version of the brochure does call for phased development, so that would probably take care of the issue re: where the vendors would go in the meantime.

Re: the slots, interesting to note that Ray was also a lobbyist for that cause back when it tried to come to Ward 5.

Viceroy of Lost Umbrellas said...

I think we should avoid the ad hominem attacks here.

I don't see how those business could survive the new town proposal. Then again, I don't see how those businesses could survive any gentrification in the market. Most of the businesses aren't open to the public. There are some that could make the transition but a lot of them won't.

As for the Brentwood shopping center with the Home Depot and the Giant. I've seen the surrounding areas and they aren't very built up either. The Home Depot serves a need. If there were no parking for a car, I would go somewhere in the suburbs to make those purchases.

I don't think that slots are going to make anything better in the neighborhood. Slots like most forms of gambling are a tax on people who can't do math.

inked said...

The slots initiative is long dead (at least regarding Ward 5). I was using it as an example. A lot of the places are open to the public, you just wouldn't know it from the signs (that, and current hours for many businesses are not very useful).

Richard Layman said...

Think urban!

At Brentwood (or at the forthcoming DC-USA) stores like The Home Depot and Giant could also have delivery services.

By building urban in that area, you could have strengthened the urban fabric in that area, rather than provided one more stomach punch of vacuum and dissipation.

You can still accommodate cars, but building a suburban place when you had the opportunity to build a more urban place (i.e., Home Depot in Lincoln Park in Chicago, various supermarkets such as Publix in South Florida, or Kroger in Atlanta, with housing above) does the city no favors.

No different here.

I won't address most of the other points, because I've written hundreds of thousands of words about these issues already.

Rather than spout off ill-informed stuff, the best thing most people can do if they live in a center city is to read the book _Cities: Back from the Edge_ (it's at MLK) and learn about urban issues, as opposed to thinking like a suburbanite, since most of us have been shaped by a suburban land use and development paradigm.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they tear down the crappy mall on Benning Road & Maryland Avenue and build this thing? Better to tear down that suburban hell hole than to destroy the market area.

Rob said...

I can see Richard's point about having residential stuff on top or mixed in with the HD, etc at Brentwood, esp. so close to a metro. I doubt you could have convinced many people to move in there if you had built it that way at that time, though.
I would say that calling people's opinions ill-informed is not the most effective way to sway them to your point of view.

Anonymous said...

What was in Brentwood prior to building the Home Depot? The surrounding land could hardly be called an Urban setting at least from the Brentwood side. It is a bit more urban on Rhode Island Avenue, but not much more so.

The question I would have for Richard is whether there is a market demand for such housing in DC and whether there was when the structure was built?

A better target for redevelopment would be the crappy mall on Benning and Maryland. Most of those businesses aren't heavily patronized and there is enough land there to be a New town style place with relative ease.

Rob said...

I just went over to the market today and got some wine at Litteri's and lunch at the Market Deli. I also read the 2005 article Inked posted. A person in the article is quoted saying they want it to be a destination. Well, then, it has to be more inviting...Fla ave and the gas station are psychological barriers. It's an unattractive and confusing place. The problem is *that's why rents are low*. As soon as you make it a destination and an inviting place, you make rents go up and drive out the vendors.
Most of Richard's arguments are legit and have to do with process. But if the project and process are brought out into the daylight and the developer responds to criticism is it better to have the place re-developed all at once under a comprehensive plan than to have it bought piecemeal (as it surely will if there's money to be made) and developed without a plan?

pingo said...

I dig Rob's point.

"Destination" is not what the Florida Market is about. It's a secret that only a few folks know about. Yes, it is an important part of DC's history/economy, but the minute you try and juxtapose that with somethin much more expansive, you're really trying for way too much.

Unless folks get organized and actually come up with a plan that encompasses all the great historical ideas that folks on this site espouse, it's really up to developers and economics.

It's great to discuss potential, it's another thing to get down to pragmatics and come up with something that's actually viable.

I'm not the most educated person, but apparently there were 4 markets in DC. The only surviving two are the Georgetown Dean and Deluca, and the Eastern Market.

The rest are history, and that seems to include the Florida Market.

Dean and Deluca fit with the rest of the GTown development. It would be great to get the Florida Market to fit within the new NE development, but....

The problem is that no one knows exactly how the area is developing.

Once, our area was the destination shopping area of DC.

Now, it's a burgeoning 'arts district', laden with hip clubs.

It seems to me that there is no long term vision for the area.

Therefore, it's all up for grabs, and the folks that have the resources are calling the shots.

Which leaves the area up to independent shareholders, as opposed to a cohesive vision.

I constantly refer to H Street (and the surrounding area, including the Farmer's Market), as an analogue to U Street. Same idea.

Why can't we do the same?

inked said...

What I'm advocating is an organic (same business owner) transformation of the market along the lines of what the OOP put forward. The area could be a tourist magnet. So what if people don't know it yet. They could know it in th future. Organic (place by place) is not the immpossible dream. In fact, it is probably inevitable, but it can be guidesd, and preserved. It is just a matter of working with vendors. How would you guys feel if someone came at H Street with the same approach & tried to forcibly take any business that din't go along. It wasn't so long ago that people used the term blight to refer to H Street (some people still do). Consider the comparison. It isn't ridiculous.

Rob said...

Point taken and people fighting to fulfill seemingly impossible dreams is often how great things come about. I do feel that H St:Fla Market is not a direct analogy for the following reasons. One is that there are barriers making it difficult for people who would walk to the Fla. Mkt. where H St. has a lot of residential streets feeding right into it. Two is the historical buildings that thank God still stand on H St. As I said yesterday (and maybe I wasn't looking hard enough) those buildings in the Fla. Mkt. are unattractive. Most urban tourist areas I've been in have beautiful historic buildings , trees and other things.
Maybe the current residents will plant some trees and make their shops nicer, I don't know. I think they're like any small businesspeople and concentrating on making $$ and staying in business. Fascinating dilemma.

Anonymous said...

I just went to the eye doctor, because of a 'pink eye'. I've never had this affliction before, so it's kind of wierd. Even the doctor hadn't seen one in quite a while. BTW, great eye doc on cap hill, glad to refer anyone.

Anyway, I went to CVS @ the Starburst intersection to fulfill the prescription. On the way out, I bought a Coke, and waited in line for about 20 minutes to check out. There was ONE person in front of me. Needless to say, it was not the most efficient of operations.

The woman in front of me was African American. She argued about something... etc. It took forever.

When I (a nondescript white guy) finally got to the cashier, I got a totally different reception. The cashier (an African American), didn't ask for ID when the customer in front of me paid with a credit card. I did. I was asked for my credit card, and an ID, AFTER I had swiped my card on one of those ingenious little 'swipe your card' things.

Upon completing the transaction, the cashier said, "You make sure you be careful out there."

Maybe I'm extrapolating, but to me it was indicative of a mentality out there that suggests that there are a lot of folks out there that don't understand the dynamics of what is happening on H Street and the surrounding area.

I think she said that to me because I was white.

Perhaps I'm wrong.

I grew up in Brasil, so I'm very 'mixed' in terms of race. I'm not one to even think twice about being the only white person in an establishment. I've really only noticed racial tensions since moving to the U.S.

My point is this: I agree with Inked. A cohesive plan is best. However, a cohesive plan can only work with some sense of cohesiveness.

There really isn't any cohesiveness in this area. So how can ANY plan actually go through?

At this rate, it's going to happen piecemeal. Little by little.

And that ain't 'cohesive'.

So... is that what folks mean when they say 'organic'?

Is that the way to go?

There are some very rigid racial underpinnings in this area that will take eons to overcome.

As well as 'class', something Americans are hesitant to address.

I just think that the folks that have legitimate interests in this area are SO divergent, that .... nothing will happen unless our commissioners, representatives, etc. actually engage in some form of coalition building and actual leadership.... this place won't see anything cohesive anytime soon.

But hey, that's democracy at it's best.

Looking forward to 2012. That's when 'organics' might actually lay some claim to fame.

Sorry for the flow of consciousness, but thought I would toss this into the mix.

hstreetrez said...

Racism or the cashier could see that you obviously had "pink eye" and she wanting to express to you to take care of yourself because she could see that you were already injured or ill.

Anonymous said...

uh huh. possibly.

i'd agree with that if she actually had made eye contact w/me.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that you mention Brazil and race. While there is no doubt America is full of racism, Brazil has a lot of problems too. Those of African decent feel it quite heavily.

Richard Layman said...

1. If an area is shitty -- previously the impound lot for the city at Brentwood -- that doesn't mean that you don't try to improve it. In a city, you try to improve things in urban-appropriate ways, hence everything I've ever written or said about the Brentwood Shopping Center.

To do otherwise is to fall into "better than a parking lot" better than cinder block" kind of thinking which doesn't move the city forward. Marginally better crap is a bare step forward, especially when alternatives existed.

2. As far as market demand goes, build quality places, not s***** ones, and advertise proximity to the subway station, and the places would have sold. You build demand, you don't just respond to it. And maybe, if it was a real issue, the pricing could have been slightly below market to stoke demand. And since this was city land given for a song to the developer (at great cost to the city for other reasons) quality should have been demanded.

3. As far as plans go etc. for the Florida Market. There is a plan! By the Office of Planning! But the Deputy Mayor told the OP to shut up, lay back and enjoy getting screwed by the developer forces...

4. And the city never said, oh what about an open, fair, and transparent solicitation process.

I've written about this plenty. I don't care to repeat my arguments.

5. I used the term "ill-informed" specifically rather than write "dumb". Last week, in a class I referred to most comments about development on a particular DC website to be "dumb" and a fellow student suggested that I use the phrase "ill-informed" instead. I thought what I wrote was a step forward.

6. As far as building support goes, it's not unreasonable to ask people to expend some effort to learn stuff, or is it? The fact that most new residents of the city are shaped by a suburban development and land use paradigm creates problems when they address or weigh in on urban issues. The principles are much different. This is a major problem, not just wrt the Florida Market issue.

7. In a 2003 email report to the H St. Main St. board when I was active, after exhibiting at the City Living Expo, I suggested that the organization create a housing policy and program in the retail trade area for H Street, especially in the area north and east of the H St. commercial district. Hechinger Mall and Bladensburg Road were mentioned specifically.

And even before this, in the context of the H Street Strategic Plan I kept mentioning the Hechinger Mall as a site capable of mixed use redevelopment. (The northernmost parking lots of RFK stadium too--on Benning).

Also, one of the revitalization scenarios for the Hilltop school campus (Spingarn, Phelps, Brown, and an elementary school) included housing.

Anonymous said...


It's about class, not color, in Brasil.

You probably have a limited experience w/whomever gave you their perspective.

Talk to me after you've spent 20+ years living all over the country.

I'm sure you believe what you are saying, but I doubt you have the actual experience to really *know* what you are talking about.

You sound like someone's parrot. :o)

Anonymous said...

If you are dark skinned in Brasil, you make less money, No?

Less money makes you the lower class, soooo. The result is the same.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not true that if you have dark skin you make less money. That's just plain misinformation and ignorance.