Sunday, April 15, 2007

Florida Avenue Market Study


The text immediately below is from the Office of Planning flyer:

The Office of Planning (OP) has initiated a study of the Florida Avenue Market and is engaging property and business owners within the Market, as well as residents, institutions and other stakeholders surroundin
g the Market. The purpose of the Study is to conduct an existing conditions analysis, an economic analysis of the wholesale and retail market functions, and an operational analysis. Additionally, the Study will provide demand projections for other potential uses on the site, resulting in various redevelopment/revitalization scenarios for consideration. The Study will also address sustainable development (green technology), urban design, transportation and historic preservation issues. Before any decisions are made regarding the future of this site, it is critical that the District and all affected parties have a full and balanced understanding of the opportunities, constraints and fiscal impacts of redevelopment, and that the public is significantly involved in considering these findings. The Florida Avenue Market is at a critical juncture of its history. Your participation in the coming months is critical for creating a successful and responsive plan!

Here is the public meeting schedule

First Public Meeting
Tuesday April 24th, 2007
Content at both meetings is the same (they are holding two meetings to accommodate different schedules).
3:30-5:30 pm
6:00-8:00 pm

The Office of Planning invites property and business owners within the Florida Avenue Market and neighborhood residents and stakeholders around the Market area to help us create development recommendations for this site.

Our goal is to produce recommendations for:
• Urban Design/Public Realm
• Uses
• Parking
• Greening
• Historic Preservation.

2nd Public Meeting
Wednesday May 30th, 2007
Highlights of Possible Redevelopment Session
3:30-5:30 pm
6:00-8:00 pm

Both public meetings will be held at:

Gallaudet University
Foster Auditorium in the Student Academic Center
800 Florida Avenue (enter at 8th Street NE)

For more information or to RSVP, please contact: Deborah Crain, Ward 5 Neighborhood Planner, 202-442-7615 or ; or Jeff Davis, Ward 6 Neighborhood Planner, 202-442-7704 or .
Stocking the shelves at Litteri's.
Photo by Ken Firestone (all rights reserved, used with permission).


Anonymous said...

Honestly, the text considered in toto sounds to me like they've already made up their minds to raze and re-develop. I'd say "and the only question is what kind of development to make," but given the amount of money Choi has given to the members of the Council, it's hard to imagine that they'll recommend anything more strongly than New Town.

inked said...

Well, the study itself can't do anything but good. It will, at the very least, give all parties involved some hard numbers with which to work.

Anonymous said...


i think i'll go to the meeting.

the site is going to get developed.

i'll just present my two cents.

DEVELOP it, but keep it quaint.

there are some nice structures there.

preserve those, and gimme some real services.

great opportunity to stake a claim on what might be.

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe the fact that imminent domain would be used to seize private property isn't causing a bit more anger. This area isn't blighted, end of story. No case for imminent domain. Period. Any private land owner, including Choi, should be able to redevelop, they should NOT be allowed to steal the private property of others. They're not building a highway, or a dam, or a power plant or anything that could conceivably be found to be NECESSARY for the public good (unless condos are now necessary).

great opportunity to stake a claim on what might be.

Wow...last I checked, I didn't have the right to 'stake claim' to someone else's land. You neighbor has a nice house...maybe I should stake claim to it...

Anonymous said...


You have a pretty valid point. This property may be underutilized (in our opinion.... maybe not in the opinion of the people that actually own the buildings), but it's not overly blighted. The concept of taking by force absent a real government need or blight is troubling.

Unknown said...

A couple of thoughts from a homeowner who lives a couple of blocks down the street. I would love to see this area redeveloped if it's done properly. What I'm hoping to see is a place that I can do a variety of activities without having to leave the city. Shopping, eating, even a place suitable for family activities (think Chuck E Cheese or game center for young children). I really don't think we need more housing units, especially considering the soft housing market and all of the condo units currently on or being brought to the market soon. Upscale condos or apartments wouldn't bother me too much, but I just wonder if there will be a demand for it. Shopping is the big issue for our family, and if this redevelopment addresses that, then I think there's much to be gained with this project. I would love to see some higher end dining options here. Fridays, Olive Garden, a steakhouse, and that type of thing would be nice. I have no idea what the developers have in mind and hope I'll learn more at the meeting.

As far as the property rights issue, I'm not sure who owns what and how that would affect the overall project. I was under the assumption that much of the redevelopment area is owned by one or few people. I'm not familiar with that, but I would assume the developers have begun to if not already ironed that out. Stealing is illegal and that won't happen. As long as the property owner is given just compensation and is not detrimental to the person being bought out, there shouldn't be an issue. What I think is meant by stake a claim is those who put their money and efforts into this project have good potential to begin a legacy of transforming this area and of course make money. While I don't think the area is blighted, I do think there's a ton of room for improvement. I have often stopped at the Subway and A Litteri's and on a few occasions seen people begging for money and urinating outside. I just get the sense that there this area can be utilized in such a way that it lifts up the surrounding neighborhoods. That's my hope anyway.

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but I believe that for this new town 'plan' to go through, appx. 50% of the 'to-be-developed' land would need to be acquired via the gov't use of imminent domain and/or land swap between the district and Gallaudet.

Either way, a significant amount of land would be taken from people who don't want to give it up (which is why the council put the requirement of 50% of the owners would need to agree...which they don't have). They would be compensated, but from my vantage point, this is spitting distance from stealing.

Anonymous said...


I'd be very surprised if the suburban-type restaurants you mention would be interested in this location. They would consider the neighborhood unsafe. And they wouldn't have what they consider adequate parking.

Also, the things you mention (and others) all require residential density. Simply put, there aren't enough housing units in the immediate vicinity to support much in the way of restaurants, especially once H Street develops as a restaurant destination. Adding a housing component helps a lot with that, both on that site and in surrounding undeveloped parcels.

Anonymous said...

Fridays and Olive Garden, from my selfish perspective, I hope not. Fridays, Olive Garden, Outback, Applebees, etc., are what I moved to DC to get away from.

Anonymous said...

fridays? outback?


Anonymous said...

i heard that Denny's was interested in opening a second dc location once the market is redeveloped.

Anonymous said...

I know it's uncool, but I love Dennys. Tasty breakfast for not a lot of $$. What's not to love? Especially if they still have their menu items in picture form....

Olive Garden? Not so much. Fridays? If it was run like the Fridays was near the White House, not a chance. The staff was surly, the food stone cold.

Staffing is also a problem for these types of restaurants. Simply put, it seems to be hard for them to get adequate staffing in DC. So even an adequate chain restaurant that you enjoy in the burbs is quite likely going to be a different experience in DC.

One exception, though, is the Fuddruckers in Chinatown. Very friendly, food is hot, etc.

And the KFC on Pennsylvania Ave SE, near Potomac Ave Metro. Stunningly friendly staff there. Has been for as long as I can remember. And they put up with some serious crap from a lot of their patrons.

kenf said...

Heck they already have a Subway, what more could David want? BTW-The Little Tavern that used to occupy that building was an improvement over the Subway.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the chains will be opening in the Florida Market anytime soon. They tend to open in more affluent suburban areas first

At this point, the demographics won't support the chains. Currently, the Market won't support a coffee shop let alone a nice sit down restaurant.

Eminent Domain has been around for a long time. If you think that eminent domain is bad, look up adverse possession.

Alan Kimber, Commissioner, ANC 6c05 said...

The new problem with eminent domain is taking the private property of one person to give it to another person. This is what was recently approved by the US Supreme Court, and what would happen in the case of the Florida Market.

Yes, taking property through eminent domain has always been with us--but for public purposes like rerouting a highway or widening a street (SE-SW freeway and other 60's proposed projects to carve up and destroy the neighborhoods are not good examples of this).

The problem with the new applications of eminent domain is that the justification doesn't have to be a "public purpose" beyond the opinion of the (lobbyable and perhaps buyable) government thinking someone has a better idea of how to use your property.

Add to this that "just compensation" is a very vague term, and you've got big potential for abuse. Would you willingly sell your property for the assessed value?

I think some folks' opinion might be much different if it was their house that was being proposed to be given to a developer. And the city proposed to puchase their property for the assessed value.

My two cents.

Alan Kimber
Commissioner, ANC 6C05

inked said...

Personally, the concept of adverse possession bothers me a lot less than eminent domain. There are things an individual landowner can do to avoid losing his land to adverse possession, something thatBerman v. Parker (the big case concerning the seizing, and subsequent leveling of SW DC) made clear does not apply to eminent domain.

I think we'd all like to see development in the Market. I just don't think New Town is the way to go for several reasons. I think the neighborhood could support a coffee shop or restaurant in the Market. The problem is that no one would go with the Market looking the way it does today. That's why I'm saying that we do need some kind of comprehensive vision, something involving the Office of Planning that could include Community Development Block Grant ("CDBG") funds in the form of loans to help out existing and new businesses in the area (existing businesses to fix up their spaces, and new businesses to do the same & to use as a supplement for startup funds). A strong merchants' association with guidance from the Office of Planning (and other District Agencies) could do a lot. I know this isn't necessarily the easiest thing to imagine at this point, but you've got to have a little vision.

Anonymous said...

I remember a case from the early 80s where they demolished a neighborhood to a build a manufacturing facility.

I think that the Supreme Court case solidified the basis for it, but to say that it wasn't out there is not accurate.

I'm not in favor of the practice. I think that if Choi wants to develop the land, he should develop his parcels and then if successful let market forces convince the others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

I just noticed I'd been spelling eminent domain imminent. Tough to take a person seriously when the can't spell!

Either way it's garbage and I'm happy to see a few voices of reason!

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but H Street related.
Anyone see this?

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Wrong link, although they do mention NoMa in that article.

I meant to point to the April edition of

The article is entitled:

Calls Mount to Halt H Street Upzoning

inked said...

People might be interested in the article on the ongoing dispute over just compensation for people who land was taken through eminent domain to make room for the baseball stadium.

Anonymous said...

Where is the best place to park tonight?

Anonymous said...

here's my two cents. i'm with my family in this dispute as well. my parents leased a building in the florida market. with the little money they had to make some what of a business. just to make ends meet. a lot of business owners try hard to make a living. to take away the property to build something better? where are these hard working people from the Florida Market going? it's hard enough already to make ends meet. it's CHOI this and CHOI that. money can make people either good or bad. appearantly it seems bad for CHOI's situation. he doesn't care about "others" (people who puts money in his pocket to rent his land) it's all in the name of greed. wanting too much, while making people have to suffer more stress. each day a squeeze, some days it's ghost town. live each day wondering if you'll make enough for the bills you have to pay. everything gone up in a decades time. (i.e. electricity, water, waste removal...) it's like a slap in the face to each individual business owner who rent's CHOI's properties as of today. it's hard for my parents since they've dumped soo much money to maintain a business. to give it up the business, and do what? people in general don't get the message about what's going on really in the Florida market. i see there's a lot of people in favor to renovate the area to something more extravagent. there's hard working families trying to make a dollar just to survive. just cut off the air supply while you're at it. the middle class and low class work soo hard just for the enjoyment of the wealthy to take advantage. the only reason there wasn't much of a revolt in the Florida market, is because many individuals don't understand/speak English well. most just pay rent and go about their business. in this world we live in, only the wealthy gets wealthier. i don't worry myself to much, i believe in karma.