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250,000 expected for Capital Pride weekend

Capital Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

The 39th annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival will be held this weekend. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

More than 250,000 people from the D.C. metropolitan area and the Mid-Atlantic region are expected to participate in the 39th Annual Capital Pride Parade on Saturday and the annual Capital Pride Festival on Sunday.

The parade and festival in recent years have served as the grand finale to a month of LGBT Pride-related events in the nation’s capital, including the annual Black Pride, Trans Pride, Youth Pride and Latino Pride.

As D.C.’s largest LGBT community event of the year, Sunday’s Pride festival was to include entertainment from nationally recognized headline performers, hundreds of booths representing LGBT organizations and LGBT-friendly groups and businesses, including corporate sponsors.

Several federal and D.C. government agencies were scheduled to set up booths at the festival, including LGBT employee groups with the FBI and the CIA. At least four D.C. government agencies, including the Office of Human Rights and the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking reserved space for booths.

Although the White House isn’t participating in the parade or festival, President Barack Obama submitted an official letter of recognition, which is published in the Pride Guide, Capital Pride’s official publication.

“For generations, courageous lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans have spoken up, come out, and blazed trails for others to do the same,” the president wrote in his letter. “Festivals like Capital Pride bring opportunities to reflect on hard-won progress and the work before us still to forge a more just Nation,” he said.

Among the 170 floats and contingents set to participate in the parade, Capital Pride organizers say they are especially proud that for the first time ever, a U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard contingent was scheduled to march in the parade. The contingent was scheduled to perform its traditional presenting and retiring of the “colors” or U.S. flag at the start and end of the parade.

“We are very pleased that we asked and the Department of Defense agreed to provide us with a Color Guard,” said Bernie Delia, chair of the Capital Pride board of directors.

“It’s a wonderful step forward for everyone involved – for the country, for those LGBT members of the military,” he said. “I think it is a fantastic development for everyone.”

Former Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe, an LGBT ally, was scheduled to serve as grand marshal for the parade.

Similar to past years, the festival on Sunday will be held on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., between 3rd and 7th streets, with the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop to the main stage.  The festival exhibit hours are from noon to 7 p.m.

As a new feature this year, events on the main “Capitol” stage, including a dance party, will continue until sunset at about 9 p.m., according to an announcement by Capital Pride.

Among those scheduled to appear on that stage throughout the day were headliner performers Rita Ora, Karmin, Bonnie McKee, Betty Who and DJ Cassidy.

“We’re looking forward to an absolutely wonderful weekend,” Delia said. “We’ve got a phenomenal lineup for the entertainment on Sunday. And we’re thrilled that Chris Kluwe is our grand marshal for the parade.”

The parade was scheduled to kick off Saturday, June 7, at 4:30 p.m. at its traditional starting point of 22nd and P streets, N.W. Similar to last year, it will travel east on P Street to Dupont Circle, where it winds around the circle to New Hampshire Avenue and heads to R Street, where it will turn right on 17th Street.

With thousands of spectators expected to line 17th Street, where several gay bars and restaurants are located, the parade will pass along 17th Street then turn left on P Street, where it will travel past the official reviewing stand at 15th and P.

From there, the parade will continue along P Street to 14th Street, where it will turn left and travel north to its endpoint at 14th and R streets, N.W.

According to information released by Capital Pride, the lesbian group Dykes on Bikes of Washington, D.C. was designated as the lead contingent of the parade. Contingents of the Metropolitan Police Department of D.C., the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the Arlington County Police gay and lesbian liaison division and George Mason University Police were scheduled as the next contingents.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and at least eight members of the D.C. City Council, including Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and mayoral candidates David Catania (I-At-Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), were scheduled to lead their own parade contingents.

And at least eight candidates running for seats on the D.C. Council as well as Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who’s running for a U.S. House seat, were scheduled to participate in the parade.

Visit capitalpride.org for more information.

04
Jun
2014

Queery: DC Allen

DC Allen, Crew Club, gay news, Washington Blade

DC Allen (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Things will be a little different at the Crew Club (1321 14th St., N.W.) on Sunday. From 2-6 p.m., owner DC Allen is hosting a birthday party. Gay porn star Matthew Rush will be on hand. It’s open to the public.

Allen, a 58-year-old Boston native, has been in D.C. since 1990 after spending the ‘80s in New York.

He and husband Ken Flick live on 17th Street near Dupont Circle with their dog, Toad. Allen enjoys reading, community activism, working out, cooking and traveling in his free time.

Find the Crew Club on Facebook or visit thecrewclub.co for details.

 

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?

Since 1979. My stepfather who was not gay friendly.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Frank Kameny for his long-term activism.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?

The Crew Club, of course!

 

Describe your dream wedding.

Surrounded by family and friends, in the District Courthouse with fake flowers on a plastic trellis. We did it in October 2012!

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

The little children in the U.S. Congress playing their childish games.

 

What historical outcome would you change?

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Windsor case would apply to all states, not just the federal government.

 

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

The first time I saw “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway. The irreverence and truth was spectacular!

 

On what do you insist?

That we as a community never put up with bullies.

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

I posted my birthday party at the Crew Club that I’m throwing on Sunday. I also posted thank yous to everyone who wished me happy birthday.

 

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

“Whoremaster to Weenie Waggers”

 

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I would stay the same delightful homosexual that I am today.

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

A spiritual existence and a power greater than myself.

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Never forget that we are not heterosexuals.

 

What would you walk across hot coals for?

Complete equality.

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

We are not all 20-year-old muscle bunnies.

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Kinky Boots”

 

What’s the most overrated social custom?

There are no overrated social customs.

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I was lucky enough to receive the Business Leader of the Year Award in 2012 from the Capitol Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. That was and is the award I most coveted because it recognized all of the positive things I’ve tried to do in the D.C. gay community.

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

Floss more, eat less.

 

Why Washington?

I had family in the area. Also, Washington has the highest percentage of master’s degrees per workforce in the world. I like a bright, driven population around me.

05
Mar
2014

The business of a broadening pride in equality

corporate, gay news, Washington Blade

Enterprise takes as much pride in standing with us as we do in joining with one another and a supportive community. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Gay Pride celebrations across the country this summer have offered a unique reflection of an astounding moment in time. Now part internal community celebration and a simultaneous measure of external engagement and broader public affirmation, these annual events have increasingly become more party and less protest.

In D.C., some have casually predicted that the local Capital Pride festivities will soon involve attendance by as many non-gay area residents as the high-profile Halloween-themed “High-Heel Race” now does each October on 17th Street in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Others wonder whether gay participation in Pride events will begin to diminish in coming years, especially in localities like the District where the LGBT community enjoys a full complement of civil equality and commonplace community embrace.

The annual Pride Parade on Saturday that kicks off the early June weekend in the nation’s capital each year has gradually become at least as well-attended as the next-day downtown Festival and a broadly shared community-wide event. More than ever before, this year an entire city and metropolitan area took notice of the dual events amid a wave of unprecedented local media coverage, community news features and special publication and broadcast profiles.

Businesses large and small, and national and local, are the major event sponsors and primary financial underwriters.

Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

The accelerating nationwide acceptance of lesbians and gays alongside political approval of same-sex relationships and marriage equality has heightened the focus of the larger community. With distinct national majorities now in full support of gay rights and approving of our relationships and right to marry should we so choose, locally it seemed an entire city wanted to share in a commemoration of that development. It was essentially “gay weekend” for everyone, unlike any previous iteration.

Of course, all of this might be merely a temporary phenomenon, perhaps a collective exhale that local and national culture has progressed to dominant status with normative acceptance of gays and lesbians within a framework of equal treatment under the law as the new societal standard. The larger citizenry’s involvement in marking this advance may end up mirroring our own declining and potentially growing disinterest in this tradition of memorialized revelry.

For the time being at least, broad civic engagement and corporate sponsorship of these annual Stonewall-saluting events will remain substantial and business engagement is likely to grow even more prominent. As notable as the increasing corporate participation and brand affiliation with Pride events has become, it represents an overall explosion in general marketing to the gay community year-round. While prior national outreach to gays and lesbians was largely limited to alcohol and other specific product categories with already-established consumer and venue relationships, commercial communication now involves an enlarged spectrum of commerce.

Especially significant, no longer is this association narrow in breadth of exposure or limited to being “dog-whistle” in nature. It is direct and non-ambiguous, as well as pervasive, utilizing images as authentic as our lives today. Conveyed with the nonchalance it should be, corporate outreach is now an ordinary marketplace activity.

Companies have caught on that the benefits of reaching out to a wide range of diverse market segments without hesitation or hidden from others includes the gay community. Businesses understand the value of target-specific communication, whether a national or local product or service. Nowadays it also reaps benefit within other demographics by signifying a contemporary cultural affinity critical to creating a positive brand image reflective of modern mores.

Cultural codification through corporate encouragement rivals even the impact of legislation, as it empowers the community change in attitude that paves the way for it.

Corporate America and local businesses alike are strong allies for equality. Enterprise takes as much pride in standing with us as we do in joining with one another and a supportive community.

That’s important to business and is the part of winning that should make us proud.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

02
Jul
2014

A family of food and farm

Josh Hahn, David Winer, EatWellDC, gay news, Washington Blade

David Winer (on right) and his nephew Josh Hahn are the force behind EatWellDC.

When David Winer recounts the launches of the five EatWellDC restaurant group establishments he doesn’t note openings by year. He identifies how long each has been in operation, as if doting on the ages of offspring.

It’s a fitting quirk for the serial creator of affection-winning restaurant-bars with a welcoming “family feel” extended to employees and patrons alike.

Winer, originally from the Boston area, enjoys 30 years in the industry – first honing his hospitality skills at a Back Bay restaurant. His employer partnered in Winer’s inaugural Miami Beach restaurant in 1993.

Josh Hahn, Winer’s nephew growing up a block away in Newton, Mass., worked at an upscale gourmet carryout and caterer while in high school. Completing a business degree at Emory University in Atlanta, Hahn came to D.C. 12 years ago to join the staff at his uncle’s first local venture. Grillfish restaurant, opened in 1996 at 21st and M streets near Dupont Circle, has remained popular for seafood specialties and American fare in a relaxed setting.

Featuring elevated ceilings, wood textures, warm colors and eclectic accents, the casual environment and cuisine would serve as a model for subsequent eateries. Logan Tavern, opened in 2003 off a desolate-at-the-time 14th Street corridor, was followed by now-named Commissary in 2005. Both are prominent fixtures on the 1400 block of P St., N.W.

“We were busy from opening day” at Logan Tavern, recalls Hahn, “so busy that I had to splash water on my face every so often.” It was the “right concept at the right time,” he says, noting that the venue quickly won the loyalty of locals eager for dining and socializing spots during the area’s then-nascent re-emergence. “We were able to give the neighborhood something it wanted,” affirms Winer, “and it helped the area grow.”

“Everyone thought I put together something magical,” Winer says, “but it was just something lacking and appreciated.”

“The neighborhood needed so many things,” Hahn adds, “we helped accommodate the desire for a consistently reliable and value-oriented” product that contributed to “a sense of community.”

The duo, with partner Tony Oquendo, next looked north to open The Heights in 2008, at the commercial corner of 14th and Kenyon streets in Columbia Heights. An expansive outdoor patio and light-filled interior pub-tavern ambience have made it an area mainstay.

This spring will mark the second anniversary for the newest addition to the EatWellDC family of restaurants. Usually “fiddling with a concept” for several months, Winer figured the evolving plethora of 14th Street dining options suggested something “very special, very unique.” The Pig, at 1320 14th St., offers a distinctive nose-to-tail “pork-centric menu with eccentric fare,” says Hahn. “It’s a completely different concept.”

Several years ago Winer, frustrated by the lack of reliable availability of locally sourced organic produce, found a 13-acre farm for sale in La Plata, Md., an hour outside the city. EatWell Natural Farm, initially a hard-labor-of-love, now supplies in-season vegetables, greens, tomatoes, herbs, orchard fruits, vine berries, and beehive honey. A new greenhouse extends the growing season and produce variety.

It’s taken significant investment to grow the farm, Winer points out, “but we’re committed to sourcing produce from our farm and other sustainable growers.” He notes that proteins are ethically raised, free-range and organic.

Employing nearly 200, “our staff become like family,” Winer says, “and represent an incredible cross-section,” noting many have been with the company nearly 10 years or longer. “By expanding,” notes Hahn, “we can provide opportunities to grow into new leadership positions” while serving the community.

Winer, helming the enterprise with Hahn handling managerial details, adds, “We’re always thinking about the next opportunity.”

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter:@MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

19
Mar
2014

Longtime maître d’ Phillip Gaines dies at 62

Phillip Gene Gaines, a longtime D.C. resident who worked as a maître d’ at the popular D.C. restaurant Port of Piraeus for more than 20 years, died July 24 at a hospice in Arlington, Va., from a heart infection. He was 62.

Gaines was born and raised in Hagerstown, Md., and was a 1970 graduate of South Hagerstown High School and a member of the Hagerstown Christian Church, according to information released by a family member.

He and his brother Gregory sang with local Hagerstown bands and musical groups. He also worked as a ballroom dance instructor in Hagerstown.

Wallace Dickson, his partner of 40 years, said Gaines began work in the bar and restaurant business shortly after moving to Washington in the early 1970s. Among his first jobs in D.C. was that of a bar back at the Georgetown Grill, a popular gay bar at the time, Dickson said.

Gaines worked in several other establishments before landing a job at Port of Piraeus at its location at the time at 1155 21st St., N.W., in the city’s West End section. Dickson said that during his tenure at the popular Greek restaurant Gaines saw its ownership change from father to son.

“He knew every customer by name,” said Dickson. “He never forgot a name or a face.”

Dickson said he first met Gaines in the early 1970s at the then newly opened gay bar Mr. P’s near Dupont Circle about a year after Dickson separated from his wife and was just becoming acquainted with D.C.’s gay scene.

“He knew people all over town from the bars,” Dickson said. “He was my ambassador to the gay community. And he became my savior.”

Dickson said that in May 2008 Gaines suffered a severe stroke that resulted in the loss of his kidney function, requiring dialysis treatments three days a week. This forced Gaines to take an early retirement on disability.

The kidney problems led to further health issues that recently precipitated a severe infection of a heart valve, which was the immediate cause of his death, Dickson said.

“He had a long journey with the kidney problems,” said Dickson. “He never complained once. “He was a happy and cheerful guy. He always had a bright outlook on life. He was a dear person and he’s going to be missed by me.”

In addition to Dickson, Gaines is survived by his siblings, Arthur D. Gaines Jr., Judith Gaines, JoAnn Gaines Claybon, and Denise Gaines, all of Hagerstown; Julia Gaines Harris of Winchester, Va.; Timothy Gaines Simmons of Suitland, Md.; and many nieces and nephews, other cherished relatives and many dear friends.

Burial of his ashes is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown to be followed by a memorial service on Sept. 27 at a location to be announced.

A gathering of friends and neighbors in Washington in a celebration of his life is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m., at the home of A. Cornelius Baker, Apt. 500, 1707 Columbia Rd., N.W.

07
Aug
2014

A personal FITness place

Michael Everts, FIT Personal Training, gay news, Washington Blade

Michael Everts refers to his business as an ‘institute of higher learning’ for fitness. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

FIT Personal Training founder Michael Everts refers to his business as an “institute of higher learning” for fitness more than an exercise gym and workout center. That distinction has proven key to the success of the soft-spoken 38-year-old owner’s enterprise, located on the lower level at the corner of 17th and Q streets in the Dupont Circle area.

Always knowing he “would work for himself,” Everts launched what is now “the oldest personal training gym in Dupont” at 1633 Q St., N.W., in Dec. 2002. The high-profile spot at the center of the 17th Street commercial strip garnered immediate attention. “There weren’t a lot of similar options when I opened FIT,” Everts recalls.

It was his fitness philosophy, however, that attracted clients to the one-on-one personalized approach he offered, initially as the sole trainer. Everts now employs 14 part-time and full-time trainers assisting a diverse clientele that has evolved alongside neighborhood demographics.

Specializing in individualized instruction for clients with a wide range of objectives, Everts has assembled an experienced staff roster. “Our trainers have comprehensive knowledge, allowing us to teach people how to work out with a plan covering all aspects of health, exercise and fitness,” Everts emphasizes.

Hiring professionals with “very strong academic credentials,” Everts employs trainers with a minimum five years experience and multiple accreditations. “I know how much I’ve learned,” he adds, “and continue to learn about all areas of fitness. We’re not a place that checks exercises off a list, instead designing strategies for achieving goals.”

“Most new participants come from referrals,” he notes, “but we also get a lot of walk-in inquiries from people who have seen our sign or website and heard good things about us, as well as those working in the surrounding area.”

Everts – who serves on the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Nutrition – has a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Science. His credentials include certification both from the American College and the National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise and National Endurance Sports Trainers Association. A former college athlete with a background in physical therapy, Everts is a NASM-certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, holds an Advanced Exercise Nutrition Certificate and is a CrossFit L1 Trainer.

He personally introduces new clients to the compact well-equipped facility, featuring both free weights and other equipment ideal for use at home or when traveling, and that “provide diversity in muscle recruitment.” Everts sits down for a complimentary one-hour meeting to discuss goals before setting up a schedule with a dedicated trainer. Optional in-home sessions and on-site workouts in residential gym facilities are also available.

One of those trainers is Alvaro Maldonado, domestic partner to Everts, and director of local non-profit dance-theatre company Ballet Teatro Internacional. Maldonado’s training in both classical and modern dance expanded expertise in stretching and alignment techniques.

The couple met shortly after Everts opened FIT and they now live above the gym in the mixed-use building with their two surrogacy-born children. In addition to training clients, Maldonado assists with administrative tasks and marketing projects. They share childrearing duties for five-year-old son Paolo and five-month-old daughter Sasha.

The motivation for Everts to provide guidance to those focusing on their wellbeing is exemplified in his obvious pleasure ducking out of the gym to meet Paolo after his pre-K classes at Ross Elementary School a block away. “The best bang for your buck,” Everts says, “is investing in your health and not being limited by coordination, alignment, or core strength.”

It’s the kind of fitness that allows him to playfully lift Paolo up as they walk home from school together.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow him @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

25
Mar
2014

Gay ANC member charged with assault drops out of race

Robert Leo Dwyer, gay news, Washington Blade

Robert Leo Dwyer (Photo courtesy Dupont Circle ANC 2B)

Gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Robert Leo Dwyer, who was charged on July 28 with assaulting a man in front of the McDonald’s restaurant on 17th Street, N.W. near Dupont Circle, has dropped out of his race for re-election.

According to information released by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on Thursday, Dwyer, 32, did not submit the petitions signatures required to be placed on the ballot in November by the deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Dwyer’s withdrawal from the race leaves Dupont Circle civic activist Justine Underhill as the only candidate running for Dwyer’s ANC 2B07 seat.

A D.C. police arrest affidavit says Dwyer allegedly assaulted Rinaldo Jones by spraying him “with an unknown liquid substance from a squirt bottle” after yelling a racial slur at him shortly before 3 a.m. on July 28.

“The complainant stated that defendant Dwyer was throwing homeless peoples’ belongings into the street and spraying the area with an unknown liquid substance from a squirt bottle,” the affidavit says. “The complainant didn’t know what the liquid was but stated that it had a chemical odor and was irritating the skin on his arms,” according to the affidavit.

The affidavit says D.C. Fire Department medical technicians later “treated the complainant for irritated skin.”

The affidavit says a witness on the scene who knew Dwyer told police Dwyer was an ANC commissioner, worked as a bartender at the 17th Street, N.W. gay bar JR.’s, and lived on 17th Street a short distance from where the alleged assault occurred.

After contacting Dwyer at his residence, two D.C. police detectives invited him to come to the Third District police station for an interview and he agreed to do so, the affidavit says.

“Defendant Dwyer confirmed that he had strewn homeless peoples’ personal property about the street and sidewalk,” the affidavit says, “because the area had a bad odor due to the homeless population.”

It says Dwyer also confirmed that he sprayed a person who fits the description of Rinaldo Jones with what he called a household cleaning product.

“When asked if he used any racial slurs during the offense, defendant Dwyer stated, ‘I don’t think so,’” says the affidavit.

In a court appearance last week a D.C. Superior Court judge released Dwyer on his own recognizance on the condition that he does not “assault, threaten, harass, or stalk” Jones. He is scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing on Aug. 25.

Dwyer didn’t respond to a phone message from the Blade seeking comment.

Will Stephens, chair of Dupont Circle ANC 2B, told the Dupont Current that the situation surrounding Dwyer’s action as a sitting ANC member was “unprecedented.” He told the Current the commission might take formal action depending on the outcome of the upcoming court proceedings. Stephens’ comments to the Current came before Dwyer’s decision not to seek re-election became public knowledge.

JR.’s manager David Perruzza told the Blade he could not comment other than to say “Leo has never said a racial slur at work and is known as one of our nicest bartenders, and customers love him.” Perruzza added, “I don’t know what happened that night.”

08
Aug
2014

Hot housing trends in D.C.

Real estate, trends, gay news, Washington Blade

Some residents are opting to ‘go micro’ while others are finding their money goes far enough to afford an extra bedroom in their condo. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Spring is finally here but the biggest buzz isn’t about what’s outside but what’s going on inside. Real estate in the District is changing in a major way from size and design to renovations. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest trends a savvy buyer should know about when hunting for a new home in the District.

First, expansion has become a need than a want. Efficiencies were once the popular (and affordable) option when seeking out a new condo. However, more buyers are now springing for that two-bedroom unit. According to Valerie Blake of Prudential PenFed Realty, the market is more affordable than it’s been for a while. Residents are no longer forcing themselves to downsize and are choosing to spring for another bedroom. The extra space can be used for a guest room, office, nursery or combination of the three.

More space isn’t only desirable feature. Those looking for a new condo are no longer primarily interested in condo facilities such as how good the gym is or whether there’s a pool. Instead, Blake notices a trend of residents wanting their own private, larger outdoor space.

D.C. residents also seem to have had enough of picking up the hammer, those who work the local market say. Many buyers are now looking for completely finished properties that require no extra work.

Kevin McDuffie of Coldwell Banker in Dupont Circle says, “People just want to bring their clothes and toothbrush. They don’t want to do their own renovations. They want a finished product.”

Design is always evolving and kitchen design is no exception. Dark cabinets with light floors used to be the “in” trend. However, now the opposite is true. Dark floors with lighter cabinets is the new chic. Many new homes feature this modern design. In general, traditional looks are no longer being used and a sleeker, sophisticated feel is in demand.

A neighborhood that’s becoming a trend in its own right is the waterfront in Southwest. Chris Heller of Coldwell Banker says this spot is one of the best places to move these days. He says the River Park building (1301 Delaware Ave., S.W.) sat for years with empty townhouses and apartments. Now, many units are going under contract. Heller attributes the interest to the location.

“It feels like living in a suburb over here. There’s a new Safeway and restaurants. But the Metro is only two blocks away. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Bucking the trend of seeking more space are younger buyers, some of whom are seeking “micro units.” These units are even smaller than efficiencies. Many have been included in buildings on 14th Street and in the U Street corridor. Young professionals seek these micro units because they are easy to manage and clean. They are used solely for the purpose of sleeping. Nowadays, Heller says, entertaining isn’t done inside the home the way it used to in the past.

“People don’t hold dinner parties that often anymore if at all,” Heller says. “They entertain their guests in the city in restaurants and bars. There are so many places to go now that there’s isn’t a need for space to entertain anymore.”

These micro units are about 278 square feet and can run as low as $99,000.

Clean, modern and ready for move-in seems to be the consensus among those looking to purchase in the District. It’s something many of us can agree with — the less work the better.

 

Apartment updates

 

U Street Corridor

 

The Cardozo, a 28-unit condominium residential building, is planned for the corner of 11th and V streets. Units are planned to be small, ranging in size from 615-750 square feet. The six-story building will have underground garage parking.

JBG plans to build two buildings with five stories of residential units including ground floor retail and one level of underground parking. One building is planned to run from 8th to 9th Street and the other will be to the east.

Louis at 14th is planned for the west side of 14th street south of U Street. The nine-story building will house 267 units with 30,000 square feet of street level retail. Amenities include a movie theater, yoga room, rooftop pool and 24-hour concierge.

 

Logan Circle

 

Developer Brook Rose has proposed a rental complex on the 1400 block of Church Street. The building would include 29 micro-unit studios and six one-bedroom apartments for a total of 35 available units. Eight stories high, the complex would incorporate the existing row houses on the street.

The Fortis Companies plans to build a 33-unit apartment complex by converting the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Workers in Logan Circle. An additional two floors would be built for either condos or rentals. The units would range in size from 600-1,700 square feet.

Habte Sequar has built the Aston, a development consisting of 31 condominiums, 18 parking spaces and 3,000 in ground floor retail on 14th and R streets. This building is sold out.

The Irwin, a five-story residential building, has been planned for a vacant lot on 14th Street south of Rhode Island Avenue. Units are planned to be small ranging from 500-600 square feet. Condo amenities would include a large internal courtyard, fitness center, bicycle storage, 20 parking spaces and a common roof terrace.

 

14th Street Corridor

 

Douglas Development is building a seven-story residential building on the southeast corner of 14th and Florida Ave.; 30 units are planned for the building.

Community Three plans for a residential building with 18 condos with ground floor retail. The six-story building would have condos around 600-1,400 square feet including a penthouse on the top floor.

The Corcoran is a seven-story condo planned for a current Zipcar parking lot on 14th Street. The 40-unit condo building would include ground floor retail.

CAS Riegler has redeveloped the Lionel Train Store (1324 14th St., N.W.) into a five-unit condo building. Units are around 1,000 square feet. Pricing runs from $600,000-$850,000. The building is sold out.

04
Apr
2014

Selling your neighborhood

neighborhood, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. is divided into many neighborhoods that can be confusing to learn. (Image by Peter Fitzgerald; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Do you really know where you live?

When I started selling real estate in D.C. in the 1990s there were a number of neighborhood monikers that had withstood the test of time.

Everyone knew Georgetown, for example, with its expensive properties and the restaurants and shops that lined M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Nearby Foggy Bottom was also well known; its name still produces the nervous giggles of a 10-year-old from transplants to our fair city.

Capitol Hill had always been a prominent section of the District although out-of-towners generally associated it with the government rather than the neighborhood of historic homes its residents know and love. And for other D.C. newbies, Dupont Circle was, and perhaps still is, a frustrating roundabout where one can drive in circles for an hour while working up the courage to veer off in the wrong direction, vowing never to return.

Areas like Cleveland Park and American University Park were often a mystery to newcomers who had never realized there was a suburban-like aspect to D.C. And why, they would ask, were there two different Chevy Chases and Takoma Parks?

As time passed and the District improved its economic base, increased development flourished. Legally known as Old City II, easily the Rodney Dangerfield of names, D.C.’s northwest area splintered into a number of new subdivisions. With the addition of each Starbucks a neighborhood name was born.

Initially, when development headed east from western parts of northwest D.C., we added Dupont East, the U Street Corridor, Logan Circle and Logan East, a cachet name for Shaw, which, thankfully, has returned to its roots as Shaw again.

Now we also have Bloomingdale, Mount Vernon Square, Truxton Circle, Kingman Park, NoMa and the Atlas District. Even Penn Quarter, one of the District’s pricier downtown neighborhoods, was not much more than a decaying combination of dim sum restaurants and office buildings prior to 2004.

Because the boundaries of D.C. subdivisions are somewhat blurred, there are often days when I travel around the city never knowing where I am and according to whom. Still, real estate agents must be familiar with a number of areas so we can introduce them to our buyers and sing their praises on behalf of our sellers.

One good way to do this is by developing neighborhood profiles with information that can be kept in a folder or binder for review at an open house, inserted into a PowerPoint presentation to appear on a website or be accessed via tablet, or even take the form of a PDF that can be shared with potential buyers and their agents via email.

It’s important to clarify that a neighborhood profile should not include facts or assumptions that could steer a buyer to or from a given area or tread in any way on fair housing laws. Be sure to let your real estate agent guide you in drawing that line in the sand.

Here are some items that sellers can provide to their agents to help buyers select their neighborhood and ultimately, their home.

• The URL of a website that provides information about the neighborhood

• Access to a listserv or other online forum that includes other residents of the area

• The latest edition of a local paper or community newsletter

• A Walkscore map (www.walkscore.com) that shows the home’s proximity to transportation, recreation, shopping and nightlife

• Metrobus schedules and Zipcar locations

• Copies of articles about the neighborhood from periodicals and magazines

• Background information on properties in historic districts

• Information for pet parents: veterinarians, dog parks, daycare, walkers, etc.

• Reviews of favorite local restaurants and hangouts, shops and markets, and other areas of interest

So when you’re putting your house on the market, increase the visibility and desirability of your area by assembling all the good stuff you would like to have known before you moved there and keep it handy for when your agent asks, “Is there anything in particular about your neighborhood that I should make buyers aware of?”

In real estate marketing, TMI does not apply.

Valerie M. Blake can be reached at Keller Williams Capital Properties, 202-246-8602 or at Valerie@DCHomeQuest.com. Each office is independently owned & operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

08
Aug
2014

2013 in photography

2013 was a banner year for the LGBT community. Here are the top Washington Blade photos of the year. (Washington Blade photos by Blake Bergen, Tyler Grigsby, Michael Key, Kevin Majoros, Damien Salas, Lee Whitman and Jon Wooten) buyphoto 

03
Jan
2014