Author Topic: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC  (Read 6340 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« on: August 30, 2013, 06:26:56 AM »
Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC



Is it too late for a downtown Jacksonville turnaround?  Many were asking the question about this city's downtown 20 years ago.  Today, Metro Jacksonville looks at the rapid revitalization of Downtown Washington, D.C.


Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-aug-downtown-revitalization-washington-dc

Jumpinjack

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2013, 10:57:09 AM »
We've been to DC before their revitalization and afterwards. The place is beautiful, people are walking on the sidewalks, enjoying the pocket parks. In the area around Union Station, which is one beautiful building, the energy of the city is remarkable. I wouldn't be surprised to see that their city tourism has boomed as a result of the changes they made.

simms3

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2013, 11:20:40 AM »
Surprised that CityCenter wasn't mentioned.  It's one of the few DT multifamily developments on basically the last major development site.  The article included a pic of one of the almost completed resi buildings.  Article also caught a couple of nice pics of two of my own firm's latest acquisitions, a couple of office buildings, one of which we just picked up.

http://www.hines.com/property/detail.aspx?id=1757

http://www.citycenterdc.com/

From my limited experience, DT DC is pretty and pristine, but largely dead at night.  If I lived in DC, I'd prefer a more established neighborhood where you can walk to local bars and restaurants and walk home.
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thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2013, 11:45:47 AM »
It certainly isn't Adams Morgan, Dupont Ciricle or Georgetown at night but it's no where close to what DT Jax is at night either.  The cool thing about DC is that you can stay in just about any neighborhood and still be within walking or biking distance of other popular districts.  If that's unreasonable, then high frequency transit is at your disposal as well.  I looked into CityCenter but decided to not focus any recent developments in particular.
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peestandingup

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 12:14:08 PM »
It certainly isn't Adams Morgan, Dupont Ciricle or Georgetown at night but it's no where close to what DT Jax is at night either.  The cool thing about DC is that you can stay in just about any neighborhood and still be within walking or biking distance of other popular districts.  If that's unreasonable, then high frequency transit is at your disposal as well.  I looked into CityCenter but decided to not focus any recent developments in particular.

Yeah, that's the thing about DC. If your block is "dead" at night, just walk over a couple blocks. ;) Anyway, Center City is more like a mall environment. A little too sterilie & lack of real character for most late night stuff, so yeah. Its gonna be dead after 9. That's not rocket science.

The neighborhoods are where its at. My old block on U never shut up. Weekdays it would go till about 12-1am. Weekends, it was at least 2-3 before people weren't on the streets. And that was mixed use with apartments & row houses everywhere. Imagine if King, Avondale or San Marco were like that here in Jax on a regular basis & how many residents would be pissing & moaning about it.

thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 01:06:16 PM »
^U Street is the type of urban environment I was looking for when I relocated to Jax. One of my friends moved to DC after high school and she lived a block off U.  I used to go up and visit a lot and fell in love with the scene.  It has yuppified since then but it's still a great urban environment.  I was truly disappointed to find Jax didn't have an area like that in 2003. 

Now, having a better understanding of Jacksonville politics, I believe the best place this type of environment to spring up anytime soon is Brooklyn.  If growth is coordinated right, there's an opportunity develop a vibrant mix of old and new.

U Street





« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 01:10:07 PM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Jim Crooks

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 03:34:23 PM »
Impressed by the article, I hope everyone on the Downtown Investment Authority is encouraged to read it. Neighborhood nodes are important (as mentioned) in San Marco and Kings Street. Five Points needs some help and Brooklyn may be a future one. But another place to start in Hemmings Plaza and develop activities in each direction. Some already exist: the MOCA, library, Chamblins,etc., but why cant the Plaza be as attractive as Memorial Park (sans the river view)? One Spark will help, as does First Wednesday. Thanks Ennis for this contribution.

peestandingup

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 04:50:58 PM »
^U Street is the type of urban environment I was looking for when I relocated to Jax. One of my friends moved to DC after high school and she lived a block off U.  I used to go up and visit a lot and fell in love with the scene.  It has yuppified since then but it's still a great urban environment.  I was truly disappointed to find Jax didn't have an area like that in 2003. 

Now, having a better understanding of Jacksonville politics, I believe the best place this type of environment to spring up anytime soon is Brooklyn.  If growth is coordinated right, there's an opportunity develop a vibrant mix of old and new.

U Street







Ha. That McDonalds is literally a stone's throw (more like a pebble) from where we lived. And you know you're in a truly urban environment when your Mickey D's has a walk-up window. 8) But that development next to it is obviously new. I'm pretty sure they had to tear down stuff to build that. In fact, I know they did because that's where my KFC used to be. Bastards! ;D

Yeah, U is cool. Although I think the secret is out & its like you said, more yuppie than ever. I feel anyone not that is being priced out, which is a shame as it removes some of the culture & uniqueness of the neighborhood. Wife went a couple months ago & said its changed a lot even in the 6 years since we've been gone. But then again, it was pretty gritty when we were there. I remember a couple weeks after we moved in some dude got shot in front of our apt & they dumped his body from a moving car. Woo! :o

We actually just found out we're moving back in May for the entire summer (could turn into a permanent thing) & need to figure out where to live. I don't think it'll be U since its gotten more expensive (and we got kids now). May look into Eastern Market or some other area that's more affordable & where the circus hasn't came in yet. Any ideas?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 04:53:19 PM by peestandingup »

thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 06:02:44 PM »
Try the H Street area. It's on the come up.
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peestandingup

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2013, 07:20:06 PM »
Try the H Street area. It's on the come up.

Good call! Forgot about all the future projects coming to that area. No Metro stop, but the first line of the DC Streetcar should be opening up there this fall (w 10 min waits) so thats not too bad.

They still consider that area "blighted", but it looks OK to me & isn't bombed out or anything like that. Of course that's "DC in 2013" definition of blight, which is to say not very bad at all.

thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2013, 11:06:19 AM »
Impressed by the article, I hope everyone on the Downtown Investment Authority is encouraged to read it. Neighborhood nodes are important (as mentioned) in San Marco and Kings Street. Five Points needs some help and Brooklyn may be a future one. But another place to start in Hemmings Plaza and develop activities in each direction. Some already exist: the MOCA, library, Chamblins,etc., but why cant the Plaza be as attractive as Memorial Park (sans the river view)? One Spark will help, as does First Wednesday. Thanks Ennis for this contribution.
Thanks Jim. You're right on about Hemming and the heart of the Northbank. I'm glad you also mentioned that some assets are already in place. To many, it may seem that we have to start from scratch with downtown. We don't. We just need to do a better job with the things we've overlooked in the past few decades. These would include programming our public spaces, better integrating our buildings with the street at human scale level, strengthening multimodal connectivity between DT and adjacent neighborhoods, eliminating economically restrictive regulations, etc.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

cellmaker

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2013, 03:22:44 PM »
I grew up in Jax (ok, Orange Park) and currently live in DC. 

DC is quite remarkable for its walkability.  I don't live in the area described, but just beyond (Logan Circle, which is about half a mile east of Dupont Circle).  It's about having just enough density without being overly so.  It's about having grocery stores and dry cleaners and bars and restaurants within a few blocks.  It's about not having "dead zones" (usually surface parking lots or similar) that kill the sense of place, or connectedness.  But it's doesn't need a bunch of high-rises (though it has some 10-or 12-story buildings).  A lot of people have cars, but a lot (no, like a lot) of people don't. 

Really, the importance of how you feel as you walk down the street is critical.  I regularly walk a mile or more in DC and it's a constant adventure, an input to the senses that keeps you interested and engaged and never uncomfortable.  Cars and bikes and people exist peacefully.  I've tried this back in OP/Jax, and a mile feels like forever, usually hostile to a pedestrian, or at least alien.  James Kunstler (really, check him out) has some very interesting analysis about what makes a good urban environment, and I've found his observations extremely on-point.  (Cars are not the enemy -- parking lots are.)

Downtown DC is actually sort of sterile, able to exist because it's Downtown DC.  It may evolve into something better as an actual place to live.  But just outside of it is magic. 

I've lived in DC, New York and San Francisco.  All three cities are fantastic, but living in "near-downtown" DC is my ideal.

 

Mueller

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 10:54:47 AM »
"Downtown DC is actually sort of sterile, able to exist because it's Downtown DC.  It may evolve into something better as an actual place to live.  But just outside of it is magic."

I would definitely agree with this statement: after about 6pm, downtown DC shuts down similar to downtown Jax.  However, adjacent areas just bustle all night, and every area has a distinct quality to it (H St, U St, Barrack Row, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, etc, etc.).  They are all easy to get to by metro, bus, bike, or even (gasp) walking.

My one criticism on the article is the statement of no urban infill obstacles in the District.  The 395/695 SW/SE freeway, L'Enfant Plaza streetscape, and Anacostia River defintely cut off the vibrant areas of DC from many areas SE and SW that are struggling to develop.  I live just north of the freeway, and it has had similar effects as the Hart Bridge Expressway or the Arlington Expressway as far as separating areas south, deveasting homes and businesses, and wasting valuable riverfront property.  Furthermore, the L'Enfant Plaza area where I work becomes a ghost town after work, and cuts off the waterfront wharf from the National Mall.  I'm always bumping into poor tourists that don't know how to get out of this area on nights and weekends, and I try to steer them somewhere better nearby. 

That being said, DC is still wonderful, and I will probably walk home from work today, something I had always hoped I could do in Duval, and not at 4am because I have no option ;)  I don't have a problem with driving, but it's great to not HAVE TO drive.

thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 11:10:49 AM »
Quote
My one criticism on the article is the statement of no urban infill obstacles in the District.  The 395/695 SW/SE freeway, L'Enfant Plaza streetscape, and Anacostia River defintely cut off the vibrant areas of DC from many areas SE and SW that are struggling to develop.  I live just north of the freeway, and it has had similar effects as the Hart Bridge Expressway or the Arlington Expressway as far as separating areas south, deveasting homes and businesses, and wasting valuable riverfront property.  Furthermore, the L'Enfant Plaza area where I work becomes a ghost town after work, and cuts off the waterfront wharf from the National Mall.  I'm always bumping into poor tourists that don't know how to get out of this area on nights and weekends, and I try to steer them somewhere better nearby.

Yes, I-395/L'Enfant Plaza definitely cut off the city from the riverfront. The reason I left it out is because it's south of the Mall.  I was attempting to focus specifically on downtown DC and most sources claimed the area considered downtown was north of Constitution Avenue.
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Mueller

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Re: Downtown Revitalization: Washington, DC
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 11:16:06 AM »
That's fine Lake, no worries: you work much harder at this than I do.

BTW, if you ever need any pics of something here in the District, let me know.