Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sometimes You Have To Wonder

Still in Chicago, but checking up on Our Washington Nationals, I came across this article with the headline: "S.W. Real Estate Market Dead, Agent Says" The story caught my interest, especially since all I have read about for the past two years concerning land around the new stadium are escalating prices to acquire it. Yet, if you read this headline you would get the impression the entire area South of the SE/SW Freeway to the water is still a total wasteland, never to come to life. Yet, nothing could be farther from the truth.

When The MCI Center (Now Verizon Center) was built in the late 90's, many similar stories popped up. Reports stated "No one has acquired building permits". "No restaurants are planned." "No one lives there, or will ever want to be there." "The Gallery Place/Chinatown area will never revitalise and be a vibrant community." Well, its 2007, and look at that area now. Not only do people work and live in Gallery Place/Chinatown, they shop and party there, too. Some would say the quadrant around The Verizon Center is one of the most vibrant areas of Washington, DC. And, due to Metro accessibility, it always will be.

Metro access is one of the sole reasons Georgetown has dropped in popularity. No one can park there. No one can easily get to Georgetown. The many folks who live in Georgetown might like their privacy, but in the long run, no visitors means no tax dollars, and a dying community. I have no doubt, if a RE-DO was possible, the Blue & Orange Lines would stop between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. Georgetown Residence voted against Metro years ago, and they will pay for it, forever.

That's why when I read this story in The Examiner, I just started shaking my head. There is NO DOUBT in my mind, come 10 years from now, The SW & SE Waterfronts between The Navy Yard, The New Nationals Park and all points West to The Fish Markets on Maine Avenue, will be REBORN. Just like The U Street Corridor. Just like Eastern Market. And, Just like Capitol Hill. The SW/SE Waterfront is Metro Accessible, a new Magnet--The New Stadium--the Anchor, like MCI Center was before, downtown. Our City is transforming, for the better, and nothing is going to stop that development. Life is being put back into a long lost part of Our Nation's Capital. The Washington Nationals new stadium is leading the way.

Today's Examiner Article is shortsighted and does not properly look at, not only history, but FACTS!! Just look at this site. Obviously, there are MAJOR changes already in the works. The Examiner story makes me wonder whose paying attention?


JD said...

Hi there--thanks for the link to my Near Southeast site, you may want to check out the entry "Southwest vs. Near Southeast, Round 7685" for some discussion of the Examiner article you're mentioning.

Eddie Cunningham said...

I don't think Georgetown will stagnate to the point where it will become a backwater, but you are right in that not building a Metro station there was a HUGE mistake. I think they are trying to correct that by adding the "Georgetown Commuter" buses that go to nearby Metro stations like Foggy Bottom.

But if the residents of Georgetown truly believe that the economic future of their neighborhood depends on Metro, then I believe a "do-over" is possible, although it would likely be very expensive. They managed to build the New York Avenue Metro station between the Rhode Island and Union Station stations. I think the same can be done between two underground stations, but it would be very tricky.

WFY said...

In his book The Great Society Subway, George Mason University history professor Zachary Schrag concluded that there was no historical evidence to support the theory of NIMBYs blocking a Georgetown Metro stop. The reason he determined was Metro felt it was not cost effective to build a station there since it would be so deep on only serve a residential neighborhood. The only station ever stopped by citizen opposition was the Oklahoma Ave. stop just between Stadium Armory and the Anacostia River.

I interviewed Dr. Schrag last year when the book was published.

SenatorNat said...

I believe that if the City Council could just rename the District of Columbia "Bill Clinton City," all four quandrants and any depressed or crime-ridden or forgotten places within them would instantly receive the following headlines: "Area expected to flourish as business, civic organizations, and citizens from around the globe flock to live, work, create, and thrive in halcyon Clinton City," etc.

Trust in Kasten. All Good.