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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

4 H Street Businesses Get $85k Grants

DSC_0071
Euro Style is among the grant recipients  

Four businesses along H Street recently applied for and received $85,000 grants from the District government.

Those businesses are:

AtlasVet (1326 H Street): AtlasVet is a full service vet clinic offering primary care services. The will use the grant funds to improve their retail offerings.

DC Conscious Cafe (1413 H Street): DC Conscious Cafe will be a restaurant and community gathering place with live entertainment. Apparently they will also have a full floor of retail. DCCC will use the money to open up its floor plan, as well as to improve its facade.

Euro Style (1342 H Street): Sells men and women's clothing with a European aesthetic. Owner Mo Abdi will use the money to improve the facade, build out for additional retail storage, and upgrade his building's HVAC system.

The fourth recipient is actually H Street Main Street. The group plans to spend the money on retail focus groups along the corridor, and to fund a retail summit.

The grant program was created by the H Street NE Retail Priority Area Incentive Act of 2010. The program’s two proposed phases were administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Second-round awardees were selected out of a pool of 10 applicants who submitted applications for the grants by the January 4, 2012 deadline. First-round awards were announced on January 10, 2012. A third round of funding will soon be announced for this program.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Atlas Vet is a cool place but they just opened. And now they are getting a grant? To do what, exactly? Aren't there more established businesses - some of which were very inconvenienced by the streetcar construction - that need this money?

Rayful Edmond said...

Just curious: What does H Street Great Street do?

Anonymous said...

I thought there was some kind of requirement that the grant recipients not be restaurants, bars, etc?

Anonymous said...

How does a business that has not even opened it's doors get this grant? Enough already. kill this program now.

inked said...

The grant app listed them as DC Conscious. I called it DC Conscious Cafe because I have only see it referred to that way. But if they have a whole floor of retail, that's not your average cafe.

Anonymous said...

The way to improve retail is to increase density...get all these stalled projects (H Street Connection, etc...) built. If there are more folks on the street looking to buy, retail will thrive. H Street simply just doesn't have the foot traffic yet of someplace like 14th Street.

Rayful Edmond said...

I'll ask again. What does H Street Great Street do? Why not pay Cush&Wake or Delta to provide a worthwhile retail market study? I bet the results would dictate that tax payer dollars should not be wasted on frivolous grant programs.

inked said...

Rayful,
I believe you mean H Street Main Street. The group does various stuff. I think they are more functional now than they have been at some points in the past. they help promote the Corridor, and keep business owners plugged in. It sounds like they will devote their grant funds towards developing retail on the Corridor.

Rayful Edmond said...

Elise, Sorry. Yes, H Street Main Street.

How are they expanding retail on the Corridor? Are they brokers? Do they provide branding? Are they a BID?

I'm not trying to be nasty. Just want to understand the value they offer.

Joe Stalin said...

This is wonderful news.

Anonymous said...

I think every business on H Street deserves a grant from the city. I really can't think of a better use of taxes, since the schools are all in top shape and the streetcar is up and running like a charm!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:40 - do you really think more money will improve the DC school system, much less $85,000?

Anonymous said...

Good point Anon 8:51 PM. What's $85,000? We should just give that stuff away....

Anonymous said...

I feel just super fantastic that money I and other taxpayers could use to improve our property is taken from us and given to others' to improve their property...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why people are up in arms over $85,000 to local businesses that give back to the city in the form of taxes and give back to the community in the form of jobs. I'd much rather give grants to local businesses than give "loans", even if only $30,000, to elected officials.

Anonymous said...

Well sure, if the choice between elected officials stealing the money and it going to local business grants, then the choice is clear. Fortunately, that's not the only choice. The better option is to get rid of this, and other similar, ridiculous give-aways (i.e. property tax abatements, new ballpark, etc.) and use the savings for a broad based tax reduction. That could actually incentivize non-connected businesses and people to move into the city.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Euro Style upgrades their sweet outdoor speakers so I can continue to have mini dance parties when I am walkkng down the street solo.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight said...

Ridiculous waste of money. DC Conscious Cafe? And Anwar Saleem of H St. Main Street is a real asset to the community if being an asset means you play the race card when its advantageous or else the One Love Let's All Get Along card when its not.

Dude's a joke, he may as well be the stand in for Al Sharpton when Al's not injecting himself into yet another sensitive racial issue inflaming both sides to ensure "peacemakers" such as his benighted self are still needed and relevant. Google Anwar Saleem and read his previous statements, it's a breath of stale Marion Barry air.

So yeah, this 85k is an insult to the taxpayers of DC and an insult to our intelligence. The list of grantees is painfully transparent--throw the "gentry" a bone with the Atlas Vet grant to inoculate us from the charges of unjust favoritism then dole out the remaining (taxpayer funded) goodies to our "preferred" businesses. What a joke.

The grant program and its administration is on its face divisive--not my reaction to it so spare me the racist nanny foo foo charges please. Or not, whatever. I'm sure NO ONE shares this sentiment.

Anonymous said...

If I wanted those businesses to have my money, I would spend money at them.

Anonymous said...

Complete waste of money! C.A.T. Walk received an $85k grant last year to improve their tenant space at the far end of H.

Shame they just moved a few blocks down to a new location. Perhaps we should give them another grant??

Anonymous said...

Forgive me. It was 5 months ago in which C.A.T. Walk Boutique received $85k from this grant program. Effing sham! Stop wasting tax payer dollars!

http://dcist.com/2012/01/gray_and_wells_award_h_street_retai.php

inked said...

12:33/36,
That money actually went into C.A.T. Walk's NEW space, NOT the old one.

Gonzo said...

This all does make me wonder if injecting that much free money into a business might lead to unsustainable business practices. If the businesses have a solid plan and will have significant demand, then I'm sure they will survive, but the prospect of THAT much free money is rather daunting. For the record, Chocolate City Brewing started their entire operation with 100K total. They are doing fine and didn't need a grant. I'm just not sure that we really need to throw that much money at start-ups and I'd rather see low interest loans that free money. Anyone know what these businesses had to do to get the grants?

inked said...

Gonzo,
You can get that info if you follow the last link in the post.

Anonymous said...

What did they have to do to get the grant? Let's be honest: they had to NOT be white. Real talk.

inked said...

I misread that last comment (I somehow missed the word "NOT").

11:48,
I have met the guys from AtlasVet, and they do appear to be white to me. I'm not seeing any great racial conspiracy here. This round two of the grant awards. Take a look at round one and tell me you still be racial favoritism.

Anonymous said...

The grant to DC Conscious is a joke.
The owners of that place kept showing up at City Council hearings with Anwar Saleem, whining that their property taxes should be forgiven after their properties went to the tax auction.
When they finally worked something out, they applied for a liquor license to open the Cafe. No experience running a bar. They planned to have poetry readings and stuff.
When the retail grant became available, they jumped on that and stuck in some retail space. No retail experience. Maybe they'll sell some books, candles, and incense.
Mostly, they can use the money to improve the property and then sell it for a killing since they only paid about $65,000.
Thanks, taxpayers. Suckers! Nice job, Anwar.

Anonymous said...

What's with spending taxpayer money for "retail focus groups" and a "retail summit"?
Hasn't HSMS done enough of this BS already? And why should Anwar Saleem spend any money at all?
There are several major developers adding over 150,000 square feet of retail to H Street, using professional leasing companies. Don't you think that they've done the retail studies?
This is probably going to be another slush fund for HSMS. Has anybody ever seen an annual report from Anwar? What does he do with all the grant money he gets?
Spend the money on an audit.

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Ward 6, I do occasionally read this blog and I recall being appalled by the negative, "anonymous" comments about CAT Walk, which I see have continued, and now include Anwar Saleem and the owner of DC Conscious.

For years-- before H St became the envy of those who don't have a financial investment on the corridor-- I have supported many local businesses on H St NE, and I know the long-enduring hardship that was imposed on the owners due to the construction.

My beautician on H St told me how Anwar Saleem worked with the H St businesses to petition the city to mitigate their hardship caused by the construction.

My beautician--who owns her building and has a great business--said she had never been late on her property taxes or mortgage, but due to the construction impeding access to her building, she couldn’t sustain her obligations and therefore, got behind on bills, including the property taxes. She was enraged when she learned Giant was getting millions of dollars to open on H St, but after years of petitioning and testifying before the council, there still wasn’t any help for her and other businesses.

Fortunately, the construction ended before she was forced into financial ruins. I mentioned this because one of the commenters stated the owner of DC Conscious was also on the tax sales list, and I say, anyone who was able to sustain ownership in their property during the massive, never-ending construction nightmare on H St, NE, deserves all the accolades for being a consummated urban entrepreneurs.

And, if he/she paid $65,000 for the property or if it was inherited, what does that have to do with anything? I remember that building when it was a shell, and if he/she did actual pay $65,000, that was too much. The same commenter also falsely stated the building was never renovated; I know for a fact it was beautifully renovated because I have dined at the African restaurant that once occupied the building.

As stated earlier, I don’t read this blog often because too many of the commenters are consumed with bias, hate and have a problem with people who don’t look like them. And, it’s apparent when you have commenters exerting time and energy to research what someone paid for their building years ago (DC Conscious) or when a business was incorporated (CAT Walk) and then try to use non-relevant information to slander the business and owner.

I will pass-on this blog to my beautician who knows Anwar and the owners of CAT Walk and DC Conscious. I want to make sure these hard-working, black business owners know exactly what they have to deal with outside of trying to run a legitimate and success business on H St., N.E., which they are also rightfully entitled to operate. And, if they also qualify for government sponsored programs for H St businesses, then, they also have the right to apply.

Congratulations to all the winners of the H St Grant, including the ones being vilified-- Anwar Saleem, CAT Walk and DC Conscious.

charles said...

The racial background of these grant recipients is irrelevant. The city has no business doling out such indulgences - period. Why does the vet clinic deserve a grant to subsidize their retail offerings? That seems unfair to the pet store that has been operating on H Street for years.

Gonzo said...

Exactly Charles. My issue is that I don't really find this kind of grant to be helpful in the long run. It's quite a massive chunk of change to be handing out. I would much prefer to see low interest loans or lower grant amounts. Not that this city has seen money go down the drain before...

Anonymous said...

@ Gozma,

You are absolutely correct, the racial background of the grantees shouldn’t be relevant, but unfortunately, many of the comments about the Black grantees made it relevant by posting racist and racial stereotyping comments.

One would think in an urban environment, as diverse as Washington, DC, this type of racial animosity wouldn’t exist.

When you have comments referring to a business owner (Saleem) as Al Sharpton/ Marion Barry; another person posted that DC Conscious will sell “candles and incenses” (which I read will have a full floor of retail), and another person posted that the DC gov't is giving the grants only to Blacks.

I just counted the number of comments on this blog; it took the 29th comment out of 31 comments, before anyone spoke-out against such ignorance.

I agree with the 29th comment and, one would think that a community blog about neighborhood businesses wouldn’t have such hateful and racist comments coming from some of their neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Oops,

The previous comment was in response to Charles and Gonzo.

Anonymous said...

I have three words for Anwar's critics.

H Street Festival