Sunday, March 23, 2014

HOUSING COMPLEX | The Coast Guard-Driven Neighborhood Revival That Wasn’t

Go HERE for the full article by Aaron Wiener. What are your thoughts? Is Congress Heights benefitting from the new Coast Guard employees on the Saint Elizabeths West campus? Would you expect those federal employees to patron the businesses on MLK Avenue?

"So how's the project going? According to an email from one Coast Guard employee, who asked to remain anonymous, not very well: 
I read your article about the new Coast Guard Headquarters published on July 29, and I have to say as an employee at the new building, you were absolutely right to doubt the impact we have on the neighborhood. There just isn't anything around the building that is easily accessible and would have any attractions to people who work here. Yes they have food trucks coming to the Gateway Pavilion every once in a while, but that's about a mile walk just to get there from the main building. 
There is a shuttle bus from the Anacostia metro station to the front gate, as well as one from L'Enfant. I'm pretty sure that 90% of the people who metro in spend only as much time on the ground in Anacostia as it takes for them to catch a bus. Additionally, the headquarters building and site itself is situated on a dead end road purposefully built alongside 295. There's just nothing around. No street vendors, no easy access to anything in the neighborhood, absolutely nothing. If Anacostia and Congress Heights transform themselves and become an attraction for the employees here, there might be more interaction between us and our surrounding communities, but having this building here is doing absolutely nothing for them right now, and I don't see any way of changing that on this side of the problem."

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DaReslnt1 said...

I am not sure how the food vendors decide which location they will be at on any given day, but I don't think that many of them are even aware of the potential business opportunity that is available in this area.

It's up to the local politicians and the people that work for them to make vendors aware of the fact that the Navy and Homeland even exist in these areas.

Anthony Gualtieri said...

Is it that residents were not prepared/able to begin the scale of economic revitalization envisioned by the same residents prior to the opening of the USCG HQ or was it that capitalists outside Congress Heights did not deem it valuable given returns elsewhere in the District?

I would answer both and add that practical differences between the east and west make a huge difference. I'm referring to organizational resources and the legal system among other things.

Don't forget we had a major property bubble burst during this time.

Just go on Zillow and look at the dozens of pre-forclosure sales in Greater Anacostia and Congress Heights.

I'll let my colleagues discuss the racial aspects of that...I'm good with talking about creative inequality.

h st ll said...

Good point DaResInt1.

As I said on the article itself, I think major commercial renovations/improvements are a couple of years coming for Congress Heights. It is coming though :)

Unknown said...

The point is that these are multi decade investments. The Gateway is a multiple decade investment as is the CG facility. And they are high quality.