Tag Archives: Barracks Row

ANC6B Gives & Pizza on Barracks Row a Second Chance

8:30am on the 400 Block of Barracks Row, Tuesday, May 13

8:30am on the 400 Block of Barracks Row, Tuesday, May 13

Steve  Salas at ANC6B Meeting, Tuesday Night

Steve Salis at ANC6B Meeting, Tuesday Night

ANC6B Gives & Pizza on Barracks Row a Second Chance

Neighbors Unconvinced by Owner’s Maneuver

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, an earnest Steve Salis, owner of &Pizza, breathed new life into his moribund request for a fast food exception to open a pizza place on Barrack Row.  Salis appeared before ANC6B with a new proposal calculated to head off what appeared to be certain rejection of the exception.  He announced that to allay the primary concerns of his 7th Street residential neighbors across the back fence, he had asked for a one month delay in consideration of his case by the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).  Salis said he has applied for a variance that would allow him to build an enclosure attached to the proposed restaurant for indoor trash storage, and dispose of stored trash by moving it out to 8th Street. He said he would make the application for the exception contingent on approval of the variance and that the delay would allow parties to look at his new proposed solution through an “unbiased lens”.

If the delay is granted, Salis would come back before the ANC on June 10, to present the case for the variance and the request for the exception – to be considered as a package – with the request for the exception  contingent on approval of the variance.  Such an offer appeared to some observers to indicate Salis’ confidence that he can get BZA approval of the variance.

Neighbors were having none of it.  They say that the new proposal is where Salis should have started at a meeting with them in April – rather than stonewalling them then and coming in with a proposal 24 hours before Tuesday night’s meeting.  Neighbor after neighbor arose to ask ANC6B to oppose the application, citing their underlying concerns that an additional fast food restaurant on the 400 block of Barracks Row will increase the rodent, trash, noise and odor issues.  For several neighbors, the trustworthiness of the applicant was at issue.  Salis allegedly told neighbors that with the exception of a couple of DPW warnings because homeless people were dumpster diving in the alley at the H Street &Pizza, he had no violations from either agency.

In response to the claim, neighbors produced evidence of 23 Department of Health violations at the H Street &Pizza between May 23, 2013 and April 15, 2014.  According to InspectionMapper (a website that tracks restaurants and grades them according to number of violations) as of mid-April, H Street &Pizza received an “F” for the accumulation of violations. At that time, InspectionMapper said, 25% of restaurants were rated “A”, 21% “B”, 22% “C”, 16% “D”, and 16% “F”.  Neighbors say the infractions show that Salas has not demonstrated the attention to detail necessary to address their concerns.

Apparently reflecting concern of the neighbors and underlining the need for a comprehensive approach to the rodent problem in the immediate area, Commissioner Ivan  Frishberg told Salis that he expected a good “chunk” of his product would end up being consumed on 8th Street or in Metro Plaza.  Salis agreed and acknowledged a systemic rat problem, but said that he can only control his space and his operation.

Frishberg expressed his concerns regarding the block’s rodent problem in an email to his constituents earlier this week, saying, “If we do not set the highest standard for current and future operators on these densely populated blocks we will only be adding to the problems of rats that are running rampant in backyards, across the metro plaza and all around the restaurants most of us frequent.”

In the end, ANC6B voted 8-0-2, to oppose the application, but added language addressed to the BZA acknowledging that the applicant has requested a delay and encouraging a delay in order to provide an opportunity for the issue to be resolved by negotiation between the restaurateur and neighbors and allowing ANC6B to consider the fast food exception and the variance at the same time.

Those commissioners voting for the delay:  Peish, Frishberg, Pate, Campbell, Garrison, Oldenburg, Opkins, and Loveland.

Those commissioners abstaining:  Flahaven and Jayaraman

(Flahaven said he abstained because he wanted to see a compromise.  Jayaraman said he did not want to say he was opposed to &Pizza on Barracks Row while there was an opportunity to see if the strategy Salis is proposing works better than what other restaurants are doing.)



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On the Eve of Potbelly’s Arrival on Barracks Row,​ Is Capitol Hill Losing It’s Character?


Some residents fear that homogeneity will accompany Potbelly’s arrival on Barracks Row.  The restaurant is scheduled to move into the space formerly occupied by Tandoor Grill.  Plans for the Indian restaurant to re-open on the newly constructed second floor have been shelved in favor of office space.

Some residents fear that homogeneity will accompany Potbelly’s arrival on Barracks Row.  The restaurant is scheduled to move into the space formerly occupied by Tandoor Grill.  Plans for the Indian restaurant to re-open on the newly constructed second floor have been shelved in favor of office space.

Residents want more retail like Danna Oweida’s recently opened Pinktini Fashion Boutique, 705 North Carolina Avenue, in the former home of The Village Gallery, adjacent to Port City Java.

Residents want more retail like Danna Oweida’s recently opened Pinktini Fashion Boutique, 705 North Carolina Avenue, in the former home of The Village Gallery, adjacent to Port City Java.

Inside Pinktini Fashion Boutique

Inside Pinktini Fashion Boutique

 …and more like the deceptively named “Homebody” at 715 8th Street, SE, one of the coolest retail outlets on Barrack’s Row.  Homebody, co-owned by Henriette Fourcade and Erin Mara is in its ninth year on 8th Street.

…and more like the deceptively named “Homebody” at 715 8th Street, SE, one of the coolest retail outlets on Barrack’s Row. Homebody, co-owned by Henriette Fourcade and Erin Mara is in its ninth year on 8th Street.

Mara interacts with customers outside the store on Saturday.

Mara interacts with customers outside the store on Saturday.

On the Eve of Potbelly’s Arrival on Barracks Row,​ Is Capitol Hill Losing It’s Character?

by Larry Janezich

On April 8, a City Paper reporter said of the closing of Remington’s: ​ “As reported by PoPville, the building, located at 639 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, was sold a year ago and will be renovated.  If a Potbelly moves in, I’m moving out.”

Well, it’s a good bet that in the coming months Potbelly will move into the space now occupied by Tandoor Grille, and “& Pizza” will replace OXXO Cleaner’s on the same block.  A series of recent changes in Capitol Hill business fixtures point to the state of flux in the neighborhood’s​ commercial corridors.  The continuing trend toward food and drink venues – including fast food – worries residents.

Gone:  The old Hawk ‘n’ Dove, the 18th Amendment, Li’​l Pub, Remington’s, Fusion Grill, Hello Cupcake, Monkey’s Uncle,  Capitol Hill Fitness, the Dollar Store, China Wall.

On the way out:  Tandoor Grill, OXXO, Capitol Hill Sporting Goods, Kraze Burgers.

On the way in:  Potbelly, &Pizza, Capitol Teas, District Doughnuts, Sprint. (The owners of the former Remington’s are reportedly looking for a way to open a food venue in the half of the building not occupied by Sprint.)

Recently arrived:  Pinktini Fashion Boutique, Capitol Frames, Pure Barre. Barrel, Sona, Rose’s Luxury, Chiptole, District Taco, Medium Rare, Kimchii Cafe.

Status uncertain:  Nine restaurants formerly owned by Xavier Cervera.  (A recent rumor that Mr. Henry’s was going on the block was knocked down by owner Alvin Ross, who told CHC “Larry Quillian will never sell the building and I’m here ‘til I die.”)

The list above reflects changes in community demographics,​ ​as ​family​-​oriented businesses replace the edgier – and to some, more interesting – food and drink venues.  As the edgier places turn over,​ landlords look to increase revenues by renting to food and drink providers.  City agencies seem disposed to businesses which provide the most tax revenue.  Rodney Smith of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods, who has until January before his lease is up, says the building’s owner has been approached by a sushi bar operator.

One factor that contributes to high rent (and the bias in favor of chains that can afford them) is the major transportation hub at Eastern Market Metro.  A high volume of foot traffic provides fertile ground for fast food outlets.  Rents in the 400 block of 8th are reported to be $80 – $100 per square foot compared with $40 – $50 in the 700 block of 8th Street.

Residents and Barracks Row Main Street would like to see the street become home to more retail.  Five of the more successful Capitol Hill retail outlets are Homebody, Labyrinth Games and Puzzles, Hill’s Kitchen, Metro Mutts, and Biker Barre.  It’s noteworthy that owners of all five businesses live on Capitol Hill.  Erin Mara, co-owner of Homebody,​ says that it helps to have a good landlord and says “sometimes, we don’t pay ourselves.”  The Labyrinth Games & Puzzles and Howl to the Chief were recently listed as two of the 24 coolest small businesses in DC by Business Insider.  http://read.bi/1ntYv7G   Owner Kathleen Donahue of Labyrinth points to customer service and making your store a destination as the keys to retail success on Capitol Hill.   Leah Daniels of Hill’s Kitchen says that engaging the community beyond the store by participating in community events, embracing the “unbelievable amount of work,” and framing your selection around customer interests and listening to their feedback is key to her store’s success.

With the current legal trouble of Kraze Burger and Cervera​’s former empire, the recent anonymous comment on a recent posting on CHC: “the monoculture of food establishments on 8th is taking a beating. Maybe 8th St. needs some evolutionary diversity to survive as a commercial corridor,​” ​seems​ all the more relevant.​

So too do policies favoring restaurants over retail – like those which allow restaurants to pay far below minimum wage and allow tips to compensate (and exceed) the difference.  Visitors from Europe and Asia – including South Korea – must be surprised at the expectation of tips in American restaurants.  It’s worth remembering that customers subsidize artificially low labor costs for restaurants and bars, which depend upon greater numbers of workers to function, but which can also rely on a high mark-up for alcohol to produce a higher net profit.

And then there is the question of quality, and local versus chain.  Some of the people who would pass by a Potbelly’s will try an affordable yet more interesting spot like H Street’s Toki Underground, Chupacabra, or Taste of Jamaica.  Yet it is hard to design a policy tool that will facilitate one type of business over another.  Likewise, the success of the locally owned Biker Barre exercise and fitness business on 7th Street probably factored in to the Pure Barre fitness chain’s decision to open an outlet over Metro Mutts on Barracks Row.  It is difficult to see any threat to Biker Barre’s popularity as a result, especially since the fitness studio keeps its prices competitive.

In light of the city’s hunger for revenue at the expense of integrity of the community, it’s up to residents to hold ANC6B and city agencies accountable to preserve the commercial diversity and unique character of our neighborhood.  And in the end, it will be up to the neighbors to vote with their credit cards – in either direction.


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Xavier Cervera Undermined Restaurants in Take-Over Bid Say New Owners’ Lawyers

Xavier Cervera Undermined Restaurants in Take-Over Bid Say New Owners’ Lawyers

Update:  Full Text of Cervera’s Statement in Response to the Claim

by Larry Janezich

According to a report by Katy Stech of the Wall Street Journal Bankruptcy Blog on Thursday,  lawyers for the current owners of the Hawk ‘n’ Dove and seven other restaurants recently owned by Xavier Cervera claim that Cervera, in his role of consultant, undermined the profitability of several of the restaurants so the new owners would default on monthly payments thereby returning ownership of the restaurants to Cervera and his partners.  The new owners filed for bankruptcy on March 28, 2014, forcing the issue of Cervera’s accountability into the courts.  Capitol Hill Corner reported Cervera’s reaction to the bankruptcy filing here:  http://bit.ly/1dC2dLY

The lawyers did not say how the alleged deceit was effected, but according to court documents, the new owners fear the funds were diverted for other purposes.

Cervera and his Florida-based partners sold their nine restaurants to a Boston investment firm in December of 2012.  Cervera was brought in as consultant last August after revenues at the chain’s flagship restaurant – Hawk ‘n’ Dove – fell off sharply under the manager for the new owners, Richard Cervera (Xavier’s brother).  Richard Cervera was removed as manager of the eight restaurants and Xavier Cervera was reported to have resumed control of the day to day operations of the restaurants on behalf of the new owners.  (The ninth restaurant, Willie’s Brew and Que near National’s Ball Park, which was part of the deal, is still under construction.)  Richard Cervera’s tenure as manager was marked by an effort to take the Hawk ‘n’ Dove to a new upscale level and a management style which reportedly alienated long time employees.

Update:  In response to the report, Xavier Cervera authorized the  release of the following statement:  “Xavier Cervera had no ownership, management, or financial control over any of the Debtor’s operations at any time following the sale.  Any and all financial decisions and disbursements were those of the buyer, and Mr. Cervera never even had access to any of the buyer’s bank accounts or cash funds.

His only role was pursuant to a consulting agreement with the new owner, where he was called upon from time to time to express his opinions and assist in specific tasks that the new owner assigned to him

One of those requests was to assist and advise  the new owner in attempting to reverse a steady decline in sales and loss of key personnel that had occurred while the restaurants were under the control of Richard Cervera prior to Richard Cervera’s termination by the buyer last fall.  Sales at the venues were increasing steadily after Richard Cervera’s departure and prior to the bankruptcy.

All decisions as to management and financial control — and all aspects of the buyer’s finances and disbursements — were solely those of the buyer and any attempts to blame Mr. Cervera for the actions or inactions of the buyer’s management that led to the bankruptcy are without merit.

This includes any payments made by the new owners with respect to the construction of their new restaurant – Willie’s – which was almost ready to open prior to the filing.  In particular, Mr. Cervera has no “contractual obligation” to fund construction of Willie’s, as the new owners allege.

The purchasers have also asserted in the bankruptcy that Mr. Cervera kept control of a couple of items following the sale that they now claim should belong to the Company and not to him personally  The ownership of these few items is very much at issue and will likely be determined at some point as part of a court proceeding.”

Part of the purchase deal with Xavier Cervera was that he would not open a restaurant on Capitol Hill for ten years.  But Xavier Cervera is planning a new gastropub in Shaw’s Blagden Alley close to the trendy restaurant, Rogue 24.

For the entire WSJ post, see here: http://on.wsj.com/1pvy85W


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Fraud Allegations Behind Closing of Barracks Row Kraze Burger

Kraze Burger Barracks Row Closed Mid-March, Five Months After Opening

Kraze Burger Barracks Row Closed Mid-March, Five Months After Opening

Fraud Allegations Behind Closing of Barracks Row Kraze Burger

by Larry Janezich

Two investors have filed suit against several individuals allegedly involved in the opening of Kraze Burger Barracks Row, naming Virginia attorney Richard MacDowell and his associates as key actors.  MacDowell, reported recently to be the American CEO of Kraze Burger, a South Korean restaurant franchise, is listed as the agent for Kraze Burger Inc., said to be the operator of Kraze Burger on Barracks Row.  The suit filed in DC Superior Court on December 23, 2013, alleges that MacDowell, a partner in MacDowell & Associates, as well as his employees and/or partners in several businesses the documents say are owned by MacDowell, improperly converted funds which the plaintiffs – Great Falls, Virginia, couple Joo Won Kim and T.W. Kim – invested as start-up money for the Barracks Row Kraze Burger.

In related news, the Kraze Burger franchise chain’s first DC-area outlet in Bethesda filed for bankruptcy in late December, listing liabilities between $100,001 and $500,000.  Creditors included restaurant suppliers as well as the county tax department.

According to documents filed related to the Barracks Row lawsuit, MacDowell, in October of 2012, offered the Kims the opportunity to enter into a partnership to open a Kraze Burger franchise at 415 8th Street, SE, Barracks Row.  The documents allege that MacDowell proposed that the Kims would be 70% partners in a Kraze Burger to be set up by MacDowell, who would be the 30% partner, with profits and costs allocated accordingly.  The suit charges that MacDowell “induced” the Kims into allowing him to act as the sole partner responsible to hold and manage disbursement of investment capital as well as serving as counsel for the partnership.

The court documents state that MacDowell claimed startup capital would be $620,948.92 – a figure the Kims now claim MacDowell knew to be “inflated and inaccurate.”  The Kims say they deposited $430,000 in MacDowell and Associates’ escrow account and that MacDowell told them that a “significant portion” of the startup funds would be used to procure a lease with Street Sense, the building’s owner.  The Kims claim that MacDowell subsequently “contracted” with a construction company actually owned by MacDowell to do the build out work to open the franchise.

The documents also claim:

  • The construction company presented false documents which inflated the cost of opening the franchise and that MacDowell only spent funds deposited by Kim to open the franchise without investing his 30% of investment capital.
  • MacDowell never contributed any money whatsoever to the startup costs.
  • After buildout was complete, the Kims were made aware of multiple issues with the franchise resulting from poor management, including delinquent bills.
  • MacDowell ignored or denied numerous requests for accounting of expenditures and of funds being held and the Kims were “left no choice” but to conclude that funds were improperly taken and that MacDowell “intentionally misappropriated” funds and that MacDowell had “acted with malice.”

The documents do not address whether MacDowell put a price on his legal representation or on any activities he engaged in to further the project, nor whether MacDowell agreed to put up any funds at all as a portion of the $620,948.92 estimate for opening the restaurant.

The suit lists ten counts alleging improper “conversion of funds deposited [by the investors] for the use and purposes of… Kraze Burger and/or MacDowell outside the partnership” by ten individuals and an eleventh count alleging conspiracy to commit improper conversion naming all ten defendants.

When contacted by Capitol Hill Corner, MacDowell’s attorney referred questions to MacDowell, who was unavailable for comment.  There was no immediate response from Kraze Burger’s US headquarters.   The attorney for the Kims said that because of the pending litigation, he could not comment.

The building that houses Kraze Burger was once a Dollar Store and Chinese carryout that was purchased and remodeled by DC real estate and development company, Street Sense.  Although ANC 6B seemed anxious to limit the number of carryout restaurants on Barracks Row, commissioners raised no objections to Kraze Burger’s proposed arrival.  While open, the restaurant appeared to be doing little sit down business.

For the time being, it is not clear what the future holds for the Kraze Burger on Barracks Row.  The effect of legal troubles on the other four area Kraze Burgers and a proposed NoMa outlet is uncertain.  CHC reported on Barracks Row Kraze Burger’s opening October 17, 2014 here:  http://bit.ly/1nkoGQR



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Xavier Cervera Comments on Wall Street Journal Report On Hawk ‘n’ Dove Bankruptcy

Wall Street Journal Reports Hawk ‘n’ Dove Files for Bankruptcy

by Larry Janezich

The Wall Street Journal reported tonight about 7:30pm, that Barrack’s Row Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  The action also apparently protects Boxcar Tavern, The Chesapeake Room, Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grill, Molly Malone’s, Pacifico, Senart’s Oyster & Chop House, Park Tavern in Canal Park, and the soon to open Willie’s Brew and Que, on the Southeast Waterfront.  According to the WSJ, Manager Richard Cervera signed the bankruptcy petition.

Capitol Hill Corner reached original co-owner Xavier Cervera, who sold the restaurants to Boston Equity Firm in 2013  (Richard is Xavier’s brother, and part of the group which purchased the restaurants.)    Xavier Cervera said, “Not really sure what’s going on. My business partner and I sold the company in December of 2012. We did finance a large part of the sale so I guess our attorneys will be very busy next week trying to establish what difficulties they are having .”   (Update:  CHC erroneously reported Xavier  has a contract with the new owners   to manage the day to day operations of the nine restaurants.   He has no such contract.   Xavier does not and has not since the sale managed the restaurants.  He has a contract to work as a consultant.   CHC regrets the error.)

See the WSJ Story here:  http://on.wsj.com/1pljTNL

For CHC posting on the sale of the restaurant group to Boston Equity Firm in April of 2013, see here:  http://bit.ly/1dVMFgU


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Barracks Row Main Street Celebrates Success in Attracting New Businesses


Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS, recaps the group's 2013 accomplishments

Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS, recaps the group’s 2013 accomplishments

Barracks Row Main Street Celebrates Success in Attracting New Businesses

CSX Continues Major Financial Support of BRMS

by Larry Janezich

Last Wednesday, Barracks Row Main Street (BRMS) held its annual meeting celebration to highlight the 13 new businesses on 8th Street in 2013 and four new arrivals so far in 2014.  One of those new 2014 arrivals, the soon to open Capital Teas, at 731 8th Street, hosted the event.

The majority of businesses which opened on Barracks Row in 2013 were food and beverage and service providers, including the restaurants Ambar, Kraze Burger, Nooshi, Tash, and Rose’s Luxury.  Service providers included Capitol Hill Fitness (now defunct), Metropolitan Wellness Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Momentum Dance & Fitness, The Nails Spa, Optimus Website Design, and End to End Strategies.  The oil industry environmental advocacy group, Oil Change International also set up shop on Barracks Row last year, as did the lone retail operation, DCanter, purveyor of artisan wines and craft beers from around the world.

Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS also touted four early-2014 new business arrivals, including the prix fixe steak house Medium Rare and the vintage donut shop, District Donuts (opening soon in the former Sneed’s Barber Shop), Capitol Frame (formerly Capitol Hill Fitness), and lastly, Capitol Teas.

A Spot of Tea

A Spot of Tea

Capital Teas is especially welcome as a of one-of-a-kind retail outlet which brings a different product line to the corridor.  The company is headquartered in Annapolis, and has an outlet there as well as Bethesda Row, Dupont Circle, Bethesda Wildwood, Fairfax, and National Harbor.  In addition to Capitol Hill, the company will open up in Charlottesville this year. The company is family-owned and operated by fifth generation tea merchants and traces its tea heritage to co- founder Manellle Martino’s great-great grandfather, Francis Van Reyk.  See: http://www.capitalteas.com

Manelle Martino, co-founder of Capital Teas.  BRMS Martin Smith (center) confers with BRMS President David Perry in background.

Manelle Martino, co-founder of Capital Teas. BRMS Martin Smith (center) confers with BRMS President David Perry in background.

The BRMS board of directors is made up of representatives of business interests in the broader Capitol Hill retail corridors.  According to Martin Smith, the board recently broadened its membership to bring in more retailers and property owners.  BRMS oversees efforts to recruit and retain small businesses, enhancement projects for public spaces, the Barracks Row façade improvement program, and a series of annual Barracks Row events.

Day to day operations of BRMS depend upon contributions and support from the corporations, DC Government agencies, foundations, businesses interests, and the broader Capitol Hill community.  For the second year in a row, the major cash and in kind donors contributing $10,000 or more included CSX Transportation, DC Department of Housing and Community Development, DC Department of Small & Local Business Development, and the National Capital Bank Foundation.

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&pizza Looks Again to Barracks Row for New Gourmet Pizza Outlet

&pizza Looks Again to Barracks Row for New Gourmet Pizza Outlet

by Larry Janezich

Last Tuesday night at Hill Center, &pizza chain owner Steve Salis told ANC6B that he hopes to open a sixth location at 405 8th Street, SE, the current location of OXXO cleaners.  Veteran readers of Capitol Hill Corner will remember that Salis flirted with Barracks Row in 2011/2012, when he announced plans to open in the space at 415 8th Street, currently occupied by Chipotle/Kraze Burger.

Salis is again reaching out to engage ANC6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the community, saying he will apply for a fast food exception which will allow him to open up on Barracks Row.

Barracks Row zoning requires a special exception for fast food restaurants.  &pizza falls into the fast food category because you have to pay for the food in advance, even though inside seating will be provided.  Zoning regulations provide some 15 or requirements an applicant must meet in order to qualify for an exception.  The request will come before ANC6B, likely next summer and approval by that body will send the request to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for final approval.

The issue is a sensitive one for nearby neighbors who have been vigilant in policing food venues on the 400 block of 8th Street because of operational issues contributing to rodent and odor problems.  Salis said he is aware of these concerns and is prepared to address them.

In February of 2012, Salis said he pulled the plug on the Barracks Row project after it became clear to him that he could not launch the business according to schedule in spring of that year.  He cited the uncertainty involved in getting a fast food exception – even though the Capitol Hill Restoration Society had already signed off on it – and uncertainty as to when Streetsense could deliver the store space.  In addition, Streetsense had asked Salis to “put down a substantial amount of capital as a deposit in order to hold the space.”  He said he found his position untenable being faced with “a bad use of my capital and no guarantees” on how the process would be resolved.

&pizza’s website and menu can be found here:  http://www.andpizza.com/


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ANC6B Committee Lists Projects Seeking Part of $1.4 Million for Barracks Row/Ballpark District


Barracks Row Seeks Parking Funds to Repair Pedestrian Hazards on 8th Street, SE

Barracks Row Seeks Parking Funds to Repair Pedestrian Hazards on 8th Street, SE

ANC6B Committee Lists Projects Seeking Part of $1.4 Million for Barracks Row/Ballpark District

Ballpark District Bids for Major Chunk of Performance Parking Community Project Funds

by Larry Janezich

Last night at ANC6B’s Transportation Committee, commissioners from ANC6B and representatives from Barracks Row MainStreet and Capitol Riverfront BID submitted non-automotive transportation projects they hope to have funded by the $1.4 million available under the Neighborhood Performance Parking Fund.  The committee will decide which projects should be prioritized and forwarded to the full ANC for approval at the March meeting next Tuesday; after that the projects are submitted to DDOT for review.

Michael Stevens, Executive Director of Capitol Riverfront BID, had a long list of projects – all for the Ballpark District – with an estimated cost for some of them:

  • Enhanced lighting for Tingey Street, SE (pedestrian route, Ballpark)
  • New Trash Cans – $84,000
  • New crosswalk striping for intersections
  • Enhanced lighting for New Jersey Avenue underpass – $150,000 (pedestrian route, Ballpark)
  • Signage for attractions – $190,000
  • Establishment of tree farms for growing street trees – $50,000
  • Bike Racks – $l5,700
  • Capitol Bike Share stations
  • Feasibility study for a third entrance/exit for Navy Yard Metro – $170,000

Martin Smith, Executive Director of Barracks Row MainStreet listed the following projects for Barracks Row:

  • Replace tree box surrounds on Barracks Row – $240,000 – $250,000
  • Replace or repair slate pavers on Barracks Row

Committee Chair Oldenberg listed the following projects for ANC6B:

  • On behalf of Commissioner Frishberg, treebox surrounds for Eastern Market Metro Plaza
  • On behalf of Chuck Burger of Barracks Row “Sign Tigers,” landscaping for Eastern Market Metro Plaza – $150,000
  • On behalf of commissioner Brian Pate – pedestrian improvements, Gessford Court between 11th and 12th Streets, SE
  • On behalf of resident Bob Bresnehan – repair sidewalks on Seward Square
  • Improve pedestrian crossing markings at 8th and L
  • Pedestrian improvements at 9th and Potomac and 10th and Potomac
  • Capitol Bike Share Station, SW corner, 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
  • Replace ADA access at 10th and D Streets, SE
  • Replace ADA access at 10th and G Streets, SE
  • New sidewalk on South side of Virginia Avenue Park

The Neighborhood Performance Parking Fund comes from a portion of the increased parking fees in the three areas of the city where the Performance Parking Program has been implemented:  Ballpark Area (including Barracks Row and Eastern Market), Columbia Heights, and H Street, NE.  Within these areas, the following entities are eligible to apply for funding for projects: ANCs, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and Main Street organizations.

DDOT gives the highest priority to projects according to location, key walking streets, pedestrian high-injury corridor, missing sidewalks, bicycle network, Capitol Bikeshare, and surface transit routes.

Since applications are due to DDOT by March 21, next Tuesday will be the last opportunity for ANC6B to weigh in on them.  Residents who feel strongly about any of these projects should contact the ANC6 B commissioners here http://www.anc6b.org/ (click on “About the ANC’)

or the ANC6D commissioners here http://www.anc6d.org/

DDOT will announce awards on May 12, 2014

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Wrapping Up the Week – With Photos ….Metro Plaza, Barracks Row, and H Street


Eastern Market Metro Plaza and Park Task Force Met in Hill Center Wednesday Night

Eastern Market Metro Plaza and Park Task Force Met in Hill Center Wednesday Night

Wrapping Up the Week – With Photos ….Metro Plaza, Barracks Row, and H Street

by Larry Janezich

Metro Plaza

Last Wednesday, the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Task Force met at Hill Center to consider the redesign of the Plaza.  Design team leader Architect Amy Weinstein updated the Task Force on interactions with city agencies regarding the plans.  The Task Force made a series of recommendations based largely on community feedback regarding design elements the Task Force would like to see incorporated into the design.  The design team hopes to produce a draft redesign plan by June.  That plan will be submitted to the community for comment and a final plan will be completed later in the summer.  Weinstein stressed that the involvement of city agencies and securing funding will be necessary to move the plan forward.

Barracks Row

Capital Teas will open up a tea boutique in April at 731 Eighth Street, SE, in the space formerly occupied by Tabula Rasa, the event space which closed last year.  The boutique will feature a walk-up tea bar and tea tables in the interior court yard.  100 types of loose teas will be offered, with a selection of light foods and desserts.  The Barracks Row location will be Capital Teas’ seventh and will join the local chain which already has outlets in Annapolis, Bethesda, Fairfax, Dupont Circle and National Harbor. For more info, go here:  http://www.capitalteas.com/

(On March Wednesday, March 12 at 6:00pm Barracks Row Main Street’s Annual Meeting celebration will be held at Capital Teas, 731 8th Street, SE, to highlight the arrival of Spring as well as the 13 new businesses to the corridor in 2013. The party will include tasting samples from many Barracks Row restaurants.  Barracks Row Mainstreet Invites all to stop by.)

Capitol Hill Frame Shop Opened Saturday at 725 8th Street, SE

Capitol Hill Frame Shop Opened Saturday at 725 8th Street, SE

Capitol Hill Frame's Owner Narem Jan Says More Framing Stock Is on the Way

Capitol Hill Frame’s Owner Narem Jan Says More Framing Stock Is on the Way

Capitol Hill Frame Shop Now Open on Barracks Row – A new concept frame store, Capitol Hill Frame Shop, is now open at 725 8th Street, in the space formerly occupied by Capitol Hill Fitness.  The shop will feature custom framing while you wait, and while most frame stores typically feature regular discount sale periods, Capitol Hill Frame Shop will open with a 60% off sale and continue discounting as part of the business model.  The shop is the third for owner Narem Jan, who owns The Frame Shop on Wisconsin Avenue, and Art Plus Frame in Fairfax.  Hours are 10am – 7pm, Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 noon- 5pm on Sunday.

Pure Barre - A New Exercise Venue Scheduled to Open on Barrack Row

Pure Barre – A New Exercise Venue Scheduled to Open on Barrack Row

National Exercise Chain – Pure Barre – to Open on Barracks Row – Pure Barre will open an exercise venue at 407 8th Street, SE, in the space above the pet store, Metro Mutts.  The chain has outlets in all 50 states.  Pure Barre offers total body workouts utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to music.

Southeast Library Now Scheduled to Reopen March 10 – The Library has been closed for almost two months to allow the repair of a water main.  Donations of books to the Friends of Southeast Library has been suspended during this period.  Meanwhile, the Friends of the Northeast Library is happy receive donations of high quality used books for their periodic book sales to raise funds for the librarian activities and equipment.  Books can be brought to the library seven days a week.

West Side Alley, 500 Block Barracks Row, Sunday Morning

West Side Alley, 500 Block Barracks Row, Sunday Morning

City To Address Alley Issues on Barracks Row – ANC6B Commissioner Phil Peisch has notified neighbors of the 500 block of Barracks Row that DDOT plans to do an extensive reconstruction of the alley in April and/or May.  The work will take up to ten days to complete.  The alley has been problematic for the Barracks Row businesses and the 7th Street residents who back up on the alley.  A concerted effort by neighbors and businesses, coordinated by Peisch over the past four months was successful in bringing the issue to the attention of the city and winning a commitment from them to do something about it.  For more information on the conditions which lead up to the reconstruction, see CHC posting here:  http://bit.ly/NK8lps

Construction Resumes on Church of Latter Day Saints, 500 Block of 7th Street, SE

Construction Resumes on Church of Latter Day Saints, 500 Block of 7th Street, SE

Mormon Church Gets Back on Track – Construction is again underway at the site of the new Church of Latter Day Saints in the 500 block of 7th Street, SE.  Rumors were circulating last year that a dispute with the contractor had required the church to resubmit the job for bids.

H Street, NE  

Peruvian Beef Heart, Chicken, and Ceviche Coming to H Street – A new restaurant featuring Peruvian chicken and ceviche will open at 1324 H Street, NE, in April.  Restaurant Ocopa is the result of a partnership between chef Carlos Delgado and Chicken Tortilla owners Eddie and Italo Rodriguez.   The Peruvian chicken is traditional as is the ceviche, with the latter showing the influence brought by Peru’s large Japanese immigrant population.  Also on the menu:  traditional potato/meat casserole, and grilled meat skewers, including what is almost a national Peruvian dish, beef heart.

Chophouse To Open in Atlas District – The curiously named chophouse, Mythology & Lore, will open later this year at 816 H Street, NE, until recently the home of Fever Bar & Lounge.  Owners Mark Medley and Todd Luongo will renovate the space over the next several months before opening to offer chophouse fare, quality wine, and craft beers.



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Capitol Hill Sporting Goods and Apparel Looks for a Way Out

Rodney Smith, proprietor of Capitol Hill Sports Apparel, reflected on the past 11 years on Barracks Row

Rodney Smith, proprietor of Capitol Hill Sports Goods and Apparel, reflected on the past 11 years on Barracks Row

Capitol Hill Sporting Goods and Apparel Looks for a Way Out

Flight of Retail from Barracks Row Continues

by Larry Janezich

Rodney Smith, proprietor of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods and Apparel at 737 8th Street, SE, has a “Liquidation Sale” sign in his window.  After 11 years in business he is looking to get out of his lease which runs until 2017 and close up shop.  He says he is overstocked and business is not good.  He’s asking his landlord to give him a year to liquidate and then get out of his lease so “I can leave with clean hands.”

“It’s a landlord’s market,” he said, adding “nobody comes up to shop – they come up to eat.  And a lot of the restaurants aren’t doing that well because there are so many.”  He also blames the city for not being friendly to small business, “any time you bring in five Walmarts into an area this small, we can’t compete.”

Smith was born and raised in the neighborhood and attended J.R. Giddings school, now the site of Results Gym.  He played semi-pro basketball until an injury forced his retirement.  He has had other businesses before this sports shop, including a NE carry-out.

If he can get his landlord to agree, he says he’ll be gone by this time next year.  He hopes to avoid calling in a liquidator who will give him cents on the dollar, preferring to let the community in on a good deal.  But, he says, “it’s up to him” meaning the landlord.  “If I don’t get out of the lease, I don’t know how I’m going to make it.  It will cost me $200,000 if I stay until 2017 – we don’t want to, we can’t survive.”

He said when he first opened there was a lot of retail on Barracks Row.  Now, he points to Homebody and Capitol Hill Bikes as the only two retailers left on the block.   He remembered the stationery store, the toy store in the 500 block which was succeeded by a jewelry shop, and the art outlet – Attitude Exact.  Regarding the latter, he said, “When the lease came up, the landlord raised the rent to $7500 a month wanting to lease it to a restaurant.  They eventually lowered the rent – there’s a nail shop there now.”

In February, 2011, Capitol Hill Corner reported that the ANC was gearing up to fight the application of the building’s owners for a CT (tavern) license to open the 8th Street Bar and Grill in place of Capitol Hill Sporting Goods.  At its November 9, 2010, meeting, ANC 6b voted 10-0 to protest the application for the new tavern license.  ANC6B and neighbors mounted a success campaign to prevent ABRA from granting the license.  See that story here: http://bit.ly/1k06PND





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