Barracks Row Liquor Ban Appears Increasingly Unlikely
by Larry Janezich
ANC6b’s Retail Mix Taskforce heard from stakeholders in Barracks Row properties Monday night and what they heard was that talk of a moratorium was harming everyone and devaluing property.
Myles Doherty, Doherty Investments, a property owner on 8th Street for decades, said he has never rented to a restaurant and doesn’t want to, and the talk of a moratorium has made it impossible to rent his space. He is considering marketing his building as office space, since no retailers are interested.
Martin Smith, Executive Director, Barracks Row Main Street, reiterated that the buildings on 8th Street are not ideal for retail. He said that since talk of a moratorium started, inquiries from restaurants have dried up. He has been talking to smaller grocery stores and chain stores. But Dennis Bourgault, Chateau Animaux, noted he sold the Animeaux Chataux building after determining that retail shoppers wouldn’t go upstairs. He is moving to lower 8th Street.
Smith said there would be major changes in the neighborhood over the next five years, hinting at “big plans” developer Madison Marquette has for the Blue Castle, and citing a multi-purpose development on the huge parcel bought by the National Community Church including the Miles Glass location on lower 8th Street. Among possibilities for the latter, he mentioned underground parking, performing arts space, an Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse, and child care.
Ken Golding, Stanton Development, noted that retail needs foot traffic which will be provided by additional office space. He pointed out a different issue regarding the retail mix: he has a retail tenant for the first floor of the Hospice Association Building across from Eastern Market but the building’s owner is holding out for an association for a tenant.
As posted on this blog on January 9, a majority of the new ANC could reverse the so-called “de facto moratorium.” In the aftermath of the ANC6b leadership elections, it is likely that there are enough votes to do that. ANC6b Chair Neil Glick, all four of the newly elected commissioners, and commissioner Norm Metzger have either stated their opposition to a ban on new liquor licenses or appear to be leaning against it. It is likely that there is another vote or two among the remaining commissioners.
In a related matter, Golding will host a briefing for the Eastern Market Metro Community Association (EMMCA) on the status of the Hine Development on Tuesday, Rebruary 1, at 7:00pm, in the Stanton Development offices. ANC6b will hold a special meeting to brief the community the following night, Wednesday, February 2nd, 7:00pm, at Brent School, 301 North Carolina Avenue, SE.