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New digs on 14th Street

14th Street, real estate, gay news, Washington Blade

New condos and high-end apartments are being built on 14th Street. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 14th Street corridor that runs from roughly Florida Ave. to Rhode Island Ave., N.W. is — as has been widely reported by the Blade and other media outlets — in the midst of a construction boom that is expected to have about 1,200 additional housing units and more than 85,000 square feet of retail space by the time it’s all finished in over the next couple years.

Most will be high-end apartments, but a few condo buildings are planned as well. Here’s an update on where the various projects currently stand. Thanks to urbanturf.com for information on the various projects.

* Douglas Development
2221 14th Street, N.W.
Six-story, 30-unit apartment
Construction just starting

* View 14
Above Kapnos at 14th and W
185 apartments
Leasing now

* Louis at 14th
JBG Companies
14th and U streets, N.W.
Mixed use with 267 unit apartment building
Leasing soon

* Level 2 Development
1905-1917 14th Street, N.W.
144-unit apartment building with ground level retail
Under construction

* The District
Above the new bulletin and Lou Lou shop at 14th and S
Leasing now
About 70 percent full

* The Aston
Condos above M Cafe
14th and R
Sold out

*Central Union Mission space
1350 R Street, N.W.
51-unit condo project
Under construction

*Abdo Development
14th and Rhode Island, N.W.
Six-story, 30-unit apartment building with ground floor retail and second-floor office space
Construction not yet started

19
Sep
2013

14th Street blossoms

Lou Lou, 14th Street, shopping, gay news, Washington Blade

A peek at Lou Lou, one of the new boutiques on 14th Street. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

It might soon be fall outside but commercially speaking, it’s spring time on 14th Street with so many new boutiques and shops popping up weekly. Now that many of the construction projects are either at or near the finish line, it’s time to check out what’s new.

Blue’s Hard Goods (1803A 14th St., N.W.) holds a collection of clothing ranging from the Victorian era to the present. The shop may seem familiar; it was previously known as Rue 14. The sign, nestled on the second floor above longtime gift shop Pulp, still displays the former store name. Last year the vintage store changed all the merchandise from before except the denim. The racks are packed with eccentric vintage pieces perfect for an early Halloween costume or to add some flair to the everyday wardrobe. Although the location is the same as before, walking through the door leads to a whole new shopping experience.

Buffalo Exchange (1318 14th St., N.W.) is the consignment shop your wallet will love. Its opening last year brought designer clothes to closets without breaking the bank. The space may seem cluttered on first glance, but be brave enough to jump into the chaos and you could find the most loved item in your wardrobe or a designer label priced for a steal. We’re talking sky-high stilettos, five shirts, six pairs of pants, four dresses and not a bit of post shopping what-was-I-thinking regret.

Federal (2216 14th St., N.W.) opened in 2007 and ever since has offered an assortment of men’s vintage clothes and quality denim. Brands such as Levi’s, Toms and Red Wing can be found here. Vintage sunglasses and backpacks are also available along with odds and ends like flasks. A relaxed atmosphere makes Federal a good place to shop without feeling crowded or rushed.

 

Lou Lou (1802 14th St., N.W.) is the mecca for women’s accessories on 14th Street. Jewelry, bags and any other accessory can be found in this new shop. Bright colors make it a welcoming environment to find a new pair of sunglasses or fragrance. The amount of choice is almost overwhelming for a pair of earrings or a handbag. Fair warning: the boutique is all around adorable, so it may be impossible to walk out empty handed. loulouboutiques.com.

 

Redeem, 14th Street, shopping, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Redeem (1810 14th St., N.W.) is the Urban Outfitters for those who don’t want admit they shop at Urban Outfitters. Knickknacks and rocker clothes abound in this men and women’s couture clothing store. Items aren’t for the financially faint of heart, but the quality will make the investment easier. Redeem has been a staple of 14th Street for a while but they recently moved to their new location for more space. redeemus.com.

Treasury (1843 14th St., N.W.) has been around since 2009, but its assortment of vintage clothing keeps the place feeling brand new. The space is small but Treasury manages to make sure every bit of the space is utilized to hold vintage goodness. Dresses, T-shirts and more hang on the racks with tags that list the approximate date the item entered the space. At the front near the register is an assortment of jewelry that would make for an interesting addition to any outfit or collection. The men’s section is a little on the small side, but is still worth a look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20
Sep
2013

Building tension: housing, commerce and parking

traffic, cars, gay news, Washington Blade

A growing tension in the urban confines of a maturing city with a growing population and integrated commercial zones is the battle over cars and where to put them. (Photo by BrokenSphere; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, a 105-unit apartment building planned for a lot next to a Metrorail station at the corner of 7th and R streets in Northwest Washington’s beginning-to-boom Shaw neighborhood east of Logan Circle encountered opposition. The issue? Not enough underground parking.

Some are unhappy that the mixed-use development, with a modest 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail, will include only 40 spaces for rental to residents with likely use of a small number of spots by storefront customers. However, the area neighborhood advisory group is upset that more parking is not being built.

Parking requirements, often higher than utilized, add astronomical construction expense and significantly inflate rents and prices. Each level burrowed into the ground costs significantly more than the one above and the first one eliminates usable space at ground level. Developers seeking permission to provide no dedicated parking is slowly increasing, usually requiring prohibition of tenant parking permit eligibility.

Lowered parking provision in transit-convenient locations is increasingly allowed and the Office of Planning has already approved the Shaw project. Anticipated adoption of new zoning regulations in the works for six years will soon codify this shift in official attitude, if only by limited measure.

Complaints over parking often originate with longtime house-dwelling residents with an astounding sense of entitlement. It’s as if they expect to tie up their horse outside the front gate like exurban gentry – regardless of whether they have a second, or even third, vehicle parked out back off an alley. Increasingly byzantine residential street parking rules leave many a neighborhood visitor or local business customer bewildered, even angry.

A growing tension in the urban confines of a maturing city with a growing population and integrated commercial zones is the battle over cars and where to put them. Following several years of intensifying new residential construction, nearly 17,000 additional apartment units and 2,000 condos are already scheduled for delivery in the next 36 months. More people, and inevitably more cars, are coming.

Although the District’s population increased by more than 40,000 over the past decade, car registrations have remained relatively flat. Offsetting new car-enabled residents is a reduction by some existing households in the number of autos owned. The ratio of all local registered vehicles to driving-age residents remains well over half.

Three-fourths of those moving into the District in the past 10 years have been 18-to-34 year-olds and single-person households are the highest in the country at just under 50 percent. Many of these younger singles do not own cars. Regardless, continuing influx of largely affluent inhabitants will likely maintain net car use at current levels or slightly higher.

As D.C. accelerates its ascent as a world-class destination for shopping, entertainment and nightlife, more metro-area residents are traveling into the District to take part. With an early-shuttering subway designed more for daytime worker inflow offering limited coverage areas and only scattered locations, many residents and most surrounding nighttime consumers rely on four wheels to partake in two-legged fun.

While a vibrant city with a walk-able environment in many areas may slowly see a reduction in car use over time, that process will be both slow and arduous. For those stuck in tedious peak-hour traffic or struggling to find parking space, it already is.

Despite a robust range of alternative options, from bike to bus to subway to a soon-to-be small-scale novelty retro trolley, it isn’t going to get easier anytime soon. In fact, to the chagrin of many drivers, it is explicit District government policy to not make it easy to own a car, or at least to use it – and with good reason. The city simply cannot remain as heavily reliant on them, or see ownership numbers increase, without exacerbating already clogged streets and curbsides.

That Shaw apartment building with easy access to public transit and convenient to commerce is the way to get there.

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

18
Sep
2013

Queery: Sarah Blazucki

Sarah Blazucki, gay news, Washington Blade, Queery

Sarah Blazucki (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mid-year last year, Sarah Blazucki was ready for a professional change.

The 37-year-old Baltimore native had a good six-and-a-half year run as editor at Philadelphia Gay News and was looking for fresh vistas to tackle. In October, she moved to Washington to work as a writer and editor with The Peace Corps.

“I felt like I’d done all I could do with the paper and it was time to let someone else take over,” she says. “Someone with new, fresh ideas and for me to do something else. I was sort of looking to take my career to the next level.”

Though she says things are “very good” in her new position, it’s a huge change from what she calls “the rhythm” of the weekly newspaper rigors. She also realizes it will take time to get integrated into D.C. LGBT life.

“Just being at the PGN, I very much had my finger on the pulse of the LGBT community and down here I just don’t,” she says. “Granted I’ve only lived here three months, but it’s just going to take some time to find the community again. And not just the bars. I know where they are, but I mean really the heart of the community. The non-profits, the larger piece that really makes up the heart of the community.”

Blazucki is also active in the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the founder of website lgbtrights.me which allows web surfers to find out what laws apply in their part of the country. She also writes resumes on the side.

She has identified as queer since she was 21 and was in an 11-year relationship with a man whom she eventually married. But she says she knew all along she “was not straight.”

Blazucki’s dating but not in a serious relationship. She lives in Petworth and enjoys running, yoga, reading and “being a news junkie” in her free time.

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

Since I was 21. Sometimes I get flack from gays and lesbians because I’m not a gold-star lesbian and that can be hard.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Can I have more than one? As a journalist, I really admire Rachel Maddow. She’s super-smart and she’s got moxie. I also have a couple of personal heroes, who I can also count as friends: Gloria Casarez, who is the director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, and Carrie Jacobs, the executive director of The Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia.

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

Tracks. I had some good times there.

Describe your dream wedding.

I was married before and that was probably as close as I would get. (See my answer about overrated social customs.) It was a 1920s carnivale theme, very fun. Less of a wedding, and more of a big party.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?

Gender equality/women’s rights.

What historical outcome would you change?

The 2007 Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. In the case, the court ruled 5-4 against Lilly Ledbetter, who had been getting paid less than her male counterparts at Goodyear for years. The court said her claim of long-term discriminatory pay decisions was filed after the statute of limitations, 180 days, had expired.

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

Pop culture really isn’t my forte, but Kurt Cobain’s suicide was pretty significant.

On what do you insist?

It’s OK to be gay. Also, good grammar and correct language use. It’s my job.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

“So excited to have found what is likely the closest grocery store to my house, and it’s an organic grocer. That only took 3 mos. Sheesh!”

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

“Determined: How I got over a mostly shitty childhood and found my way in the world”

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

For myself, nothing. I like being queer. For others, encourage self-acceptance.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?

The universe.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?

Keep up the good fight. Don’t let the LGBT-rights movement be sidelined by petty differences. Don’t sacrifice the minorities amongst us for the good of the majority.

What would you walk across hot coals for?

My family, my close friends, LGBT equality.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?

That lesbians “process” too much.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie?

“Bound”

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Weddings

What trophy or prize do you most covet?

I’m not particularly motivated by either, but a Pulitzer would be nice.

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That my life and work mattered, and that I could have a positive impact with both.

Why Washington?

Work. And it helps that my family is close.

09
Jan
2013

Log Cabin official to head GOP in D.C.

Robert Turner II, Log Cabin Republicans

Outgoing D.C. Log Cabin Republicans President Robert Turner II. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Robert Turner, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Washington, D.C., is expected to step down from that post later this month to become executive director of the D.C. Republican Committee.

Turner was to be appointed to the executive director’s position by Ron Phillips, who was the strong favorite to win election on Jan. 10 as chair of the 126-member DCRC, which serves as the governing body of the city’s Republican Party.

Turner would replace Nick Jeffress, the executive director who resigned at the end of last year and was appointed by outgoing DCRC Chair Robert Kabel.

Kabel, who’s gay and is the former president of the board of the national group Log Cabin Republicans, won election last year as one of D.C.’s representatives on the Republican National Committee. He’s ineligible for another term as DCRC chair because of a term limit rule.

Turner is believed to be the first out gay to serve as executive director of a state or D.C. Republican Party committee.

A native of Austin, Texas, Turner moved to D.C. in 1995 to work as a congressional staff member before starting his own political consulting company, The Turner Group.

He also serves on the board of Capital Pride Alliance, the governing body in charge of running D.C.’s annual Capital Pride parade and festival.

Turner said voter outreach would be his top priority when he assumes the day-to-day operations of the DCRC.

“Most people who live in D.C. either think the party doesn’t exist or it’s a joke,” he said of the city’s Republican Party.

“And we need to change that mentality,” he said. “We need to show that we are a viable alternative to the corruption in the Wilson Building. We need to talk to voters, first and foremost, and see what their ideas are and then show them how the Republican Party of D.C. can jell with their ideas.”

He said the DCRC’s top priority in the first part of this year is to help elect GOP candidate Patrick Mara, the current Ward 1 school board member, to the City Council in a special election in April to fill an at-large seat.

The seat became vacant when Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) won election as Council chair. The seat was filled last month on a temporary basis under city election rules when the D.C. Democratic State Committee appointed its chair, Anita Bonds, as interim Council member until the special election is held on April 23.

Mara is a longtime supporter of LGBT rights and testified before the Council in 2009 in support of the city’s same-sex marriage bill, which passed in the Council later that year.

Turner said he believes Mara has a shot at winning the special election if Republican and independent voters as well as a sizable number of gays who supported Mara in the past turn out in large numbers.

“There are 30,000 Republicans and 350,000 Democrats,” he said in pointing to the city’s voter registration rolls. “But there’s also about 80,000 registered independents that we can tap into, and a lot of those voters are disaffected voters.”

Turner was quick to reply when asked what he thinks the national Republican Party should do in the wake of President Obama’s defeat of GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney.

“Well, the first thing the party needs to do is talk to more people than straight, white men,” he said. “There are women, gays. There are minorities out there who believe in the principles of the Republican Party – of less government, less taxes, less regulations and a strong military. Let’s talk to those people and show them Republican Party ideals work in tandem with their principles as individuals.”

10
Jan
2013

Valentine’s Day weddings at D.C. courthouse

Princess Calloway, Jennifer Gavrish, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, marriage equality, gay news, Washington Blade

Princess Calloway and Jennifer Gavrish (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A lesbian and gay male couple were among 14 couples who tied the knot
in Valentine’s Day weddings on Thursday at the D.C. Superior Court’s
Marriage Bureau. The weddings were part of an event that courthouse
officials billed as “Fourteen on the Fourteenth.”

With bright red hearts decorating the walls of the Marriage Bureau’s
wedding room, Virginia residents Princess Calloway and Jennifer
Gavrish were joined in marriage at a 2 p.m. ceremony. Earlier in the
day, Pennsylvania residents Michael Lausterer and Stephen Jarvis II said
“I do” as the two exchanged wedding vows in the same room.

Judges and court employees designated as marriage officiants began
performing same-sex marriages at the courthouse in March 2010, when
D.C.’s same-sex marriage law took effect.

14
Feb
2013