Monday, March 24, 2008

New Town at Capitol City, a Neighborhood Takes Shape

Ten years from now, today may be cited as the day a cool, close-in neighborhood was given life. Tonight, DC's Zoning Commission will hear Gateway Market Center Inc's development proposal for the northwest corner of the intersection of 4th Street and Florida Avenue, NE. The building under review is one small piece of a grandiose plan to create an entire mini-city dubbed New Town at Capital City Market, which would replace 24 acres of industrial land in a neighborhood bounded by Florida and New York Avenues, just west of Gallaudet University.

Gateway, a subsidiary of Sang Oh Development, LLC, is not looking for project approval at this stage, but seeks action from the Commission to 'set down', or initiate, the zoning review process. Gateway Inc. would have been well on their way to realizing this project, as they had gone through very much the same steps more than a year ago in January of 2007. But the Commission deferred that case anticipating the results from the Florida Avenue Area Study, not wanting to approve the project without an up-to-date market analysis of the neighborhood. Now that the plan results are almost ready to be released, Gateway is going through the same routine, in the hopes of a better outcome the second time around.

Sang Oh Development partnered with the District, which got initial approval by the DC Council in December of 2006. In theory, New Town would create 3.4 million s.f. of new space including more than 1,500 residences, two hotels, 1 million s.f. of wholesale, retail and restaurant space, and plenty of outdoor spaces. The entire construction of DC's newest mini-city would cost an estimated $1.2 billion; or, about equal to 13 minutes of the Iraq war, to put it in perspective. Perhaps due to opposition against the District's decision finding a development partner in Sang Oh Choi, a virgin to the development world, a joint-venture was formed in June of 2007 between NY-based Apollo Real Estate Advisors, an international real estate fund manager, and Choi's development firm. Still, not everyone is contented with the planned development; not the least of which is the group of wholesalers that currently occupy the thriving warehouse site, one of the few remaining industrial sites near downtown.

Tonight's meeting will not serve to review the larger-in-scope plan for New Town, just the building at 4th and Florida, which is planned to be a single, mixed-use building, measuring 120 ft. in height, and serve as the gateway to New Town. The gateway building will be home to 116 'luxury' residential units, 40,000 s.f. of retail and about 60,000 s.f. of class A office space totaling about 300,000 s.f. of new real estate which will sit atop 200 underground parking spaces, half of which will be for residents of the building. The building is self-described as being the "cornerstone for further redevelopment of the greater Capital City Market site."


IMGoph on Mar 24, 2008, 10:06:00 PM said...


go on a tour of the market with the proprietors of frozen tropics and rebuilding place in the urban space. richard and elise can open your eyes to the amazing amount of things going on there. it's not a blighted sore that needs to be removed, as these developers have been pitching to those who will listen.

Anonymous said...

i dig from whence you come, but there is definitely room for improvement.

i live just a few blocks away, and have to deal with all kinds of crap from that area - from fights, to drugs, to prostitution, to speeders racing through the market only to hit and kill children walking around the periphery.

i'm not saying 'new town' is the answer, but something has to be done.

try living next to it for years, as opposed to going on a weekend tour. oh, and btw, inked (frozentropics goddess) does not live that close to the market, even though she and richard offer the tours.

Anonymous said...

AND, richard left the area quite some time ago, even though he insists he is still the current expert on all things NE.

IMGoph on Mar 24, 2008, 10:51:00 PM said...

poo poo:

just because people don't live within 2 or 3 blocks of something doesn't mean they can be intimately knowledgeable of it.

you sound pretty bitter about things. whatever the history is between you and these two other folks, i'm barely interested.

richard doesn't insist that he's an expert on all things NE. i've talked with him quite a bit, and he's someone who understands a great deal about urban development. more than most people, i'd wager, but he certainly never claims that he's king of one quadrant.

i'd love to live next to it. i've looked at buying a house nearby (we'll see how that works), but man, nothing bugs me more than the DC-specific insistence that longevity is required for expertise on something.

inked on Mar 25, 2008, 9:23:00 AM said...

This particular parcel is one Choi got through an RFP way back in 2003. The zonging changes he's asking for aren't small. He want to build mixed use with residential units. He also wants to build it up to 11 stories.

You also forgot to mention three major things.
1. Apollo is big, but I'm told they aren't really about throwing money at this deal.
2. J Street purchased a lot of land in there and they will want to exercise some control.
3. Gallaudet appears to have no interest in the New Town plan, and has basically said they plan to develop their parcels themselves [not for the purposes set out in New Town]. But if you look at the New Town plan he's got that new building, the one where he wants to put the vendors, on Gallaudet's land.
I think we can all agree that the area needs a bit of a scrubbing and some help from city agencies, but seriously, did you even do anything but read anything besides Choi's/John Ray's development literature before you wrote this?

Poo Poo, I live 6 blocks away from the Market [at one point it was more like 4.5]. I walk past it everyday, and I'm in the Market at least once a week. I'll bet that's more than most people who sound off on this issue can say.

Mari on Mar 25, 2008, 11:37:00 AM said...

The market may not be pretty, but it is functional and what it does is serve the people who serve the city. I use it almost weekly, and would hate to lose it as a resource.
It could use some cleaning up, yes. But it doesn't need to be another mixed-use glass thing that undermines property rights just to be created. It's the eminent domain part that gets my goat.

Richard Layman on Mar 25, 2008, 1:02:00 PM said...

poo poo, you'll have to start writing my blog entries. I'd never claim to be "the expert on all things NE."

I do care about authenticity, jobs, urban design, foodways, etc.

And, as I always say, I don't hide anything I write behind anonymity.

Richard Layman on Mar 25, 2008, 1:26:00 PM said...

poo, you live as close to the Market as Inked does. You live what, 1, 1.5 blocks from H St.?

Don't you think that H Street impacts your little single block far far far more than a market district many blocks away?

Anonymous said...

The Iraq war is expensive, but not $48 trillion a year, which is what it would cost if 13 minutes was $1.2 billion...

David on Mar 25, 2008, 2:20:00 PM said...

DC MUD UPDATE: The case was 'set down' last night, serving as the first victory for Gateway Market Center Inc. Now, the Office of Planning will refer this case to the following government organizations for review and comment:

Anonymous said...


I had a male co-worker who was robbed and raped at gun point right in front of Galludet Univ and people just kept driving by. I hope the new development will bring more police activity. Before he use to work from the NY Ave Metro to West VA Ave and now he drives everywhere. Oh by the way, he is white not that, that make any different. He still haves abrasions and stitches to his rectum. He life has changed since moving here from Montana.

Ken on Mar 25, 2008, 8:20:00 PM said...

Okay, mea culpa from the editor. I added the Iraq war crack, meant in a non-political but cynical way. I did not thoroughly fact check how many minutes of the Iraq war this would pay for. I'm impressed that you calculated it out, I did not. I will trust your math on this.

Anonymous said...

read comments from residents that live 'next door' and judge for yourselves.

those of you that 'commute' to the market for tourism don't get what us folks that live 'next door' have to deal with.

i'm sure there are a bunch of VA and MD locals that read the blogs and run out to a funky area, only to find their car stolen, or deal with a multitude of other stuff.

it's not a fantastic place for folks nearby. it's scarey.

i had to gun my car the other day, while some whino waved what looked like a gun.

maybe i should go on the cutesy tours, and change my mind.


Anonymous said...

Poo Poo, we need to meet. I was pistol whipped walking thru the alley on my way to a club on NY Ave. I woke up hrs later and it was morning and someone had taken a leak on me. Where has the love and courtesy gone? And that market is the nastiest thing I have seen. Looks like the markets in flithy NYC.

Anonymous said...

My name is Joe everyone and my friend told me to read the comments on this blog. I was the one that robbed and raped in front of Galludet University. Since that incident I have been scared for my life and haven't shit right for 3 weeks. I am going to create a account on here so I do not have to post anonymous. I am still in so much pain. I don't really understand why I was robbed and after taking my money and cell phone why in the world, does a man rape and another man? DC is so cold that people never even stop as my civil rights were violated as the guys entered in my rectum at the front doorstep of Galludet on Florida Ave. I can only could imagine what would of happened if I was handicap or even deaf. I might have been killed or thrown into the back of van or something else. I have been ashamed since all of this. It was hard to tell my girlfriend that I was raped by 2 men. I thought this kind of stuff only happens in prison. I guess not. I guess this is my Welcome to DC because I cannot even sit down on my ass yet, everytime I do I shit on myself. This kind of stuff never happens in Montana. I guess this is the thanks I get for buying in a transition neighborhood or shall I call it gangster gayberhood. I want to sell my place so bad. I return to work on Monday for the first time since my incident. Watch out for this guys because they are sick in the mind and cause extensive body damage. Poo Poo where do you live? I live on West Virginia.

IMGoph on Mar 27, 2008, 12:05:00 AM said...

poo poo and others:

you're right. this is a terrible neighborhood. how could i have been so blind to that fact. i'm going to write to the mayor's office tomorrow and insist that they start writing up plans to bulldoze the market. i also plan to bring a suit against the city for neglecting the safety of the residents.

i'm also going to ask that they do the same to georgetown, since that british citizen was killed there last year. and tenleytown, since that ny times reporter was killed there also. those neighborhoods are blights on this city.

(i'm making light of someone's suffering, and i'm going to burn in hell for that, but damn, stuff happens all over the city. i feel bad for the guy who was violated, but that could have just as easily happened anywhere else in the city. to blame the neighborhood for it, like y'all are doing, is pretty damn disingenious.)

Sean Hennessey on Mar 27, 2008, 11:14:00 AM said...


i'm horrified and terribly sorry about what happened to you.

i hope you recover quickly.

Richard Layman on Mar 27, 2008, 6:13:00 PM said...

I agree with empathy for people who have been injured. One crime is too many.

I will say that to compare H St., Florida Market of today to say 20 years ago, there is no comparison.

When I lived but 1.5 blocks from poo poo (at 4th and I St. NE), back in 1987-1989, more than 30 people were murdered in about 18 months, in the area north of L St.

So it's difficult, excepting of course, individual terrible experiences (and yes, I wish that_Code of the Street_ and _Streetwise_ had been written before I moved to the H St. neighborhood) to feel the same way about the current level of crime, which does not compare, can't, won't ever, to back then.

inked on Mar 27, 2008, 11:43:00 PM said...

I have placed multiple phone calls to MPD to ascertain whether a report was filed, and if one was filed, why the neighborhood was not notified. I will call them all again tomorrow. What you describe is indeed a horrifying incident. I assume, since you obviously received medical treatment, that a report was filed [as would be required if you visited the emergency room]. Did you file a police report? Regardless, I would encourage you to call me at 202/631-8254, or to call the Councilmember directly at 202) 724-8028 to ensure that you receive the necessary services. This is not my SMD, but I am confident, given the circumstances, that the relevant Commissioner would not mind. For obvious reasons I will also be talking, not only to the MPD, but also to ANC 6C and Gallaudet. Take care,
Elise Bernard
Commissioner 5B08

Anonymous said...


30 murders does not compare to being raped. Poor Joe had his manhood taken from him and he is scared to death. I am black and I hate to say that all the black people are committing the crimes but it is the truth of the matter. Although raping a woman is horrible I think raping a man is so more horrific. How does his life go on? Who knows what kind of STD he could have been subjected to? His crime does not compare to a murder. If you, were raped and robbed what would be your position? I see white people jogging in this neighborhood at night with iPod's and all I think they have a death wish. I am gay but I don't think I would wanted to be raped and robbed at gun point by 2 big black men.

And to the guy who was to the club in a alley, "Hello, it is night and you are taken shortcuts in alleys." I am 5'11", 190lbs and black and I would not have done that. I hate to call out race but he must have been white. I am still trying to figure why he was pisses on too unless it was someone's fetish to knock him upside his skull and just piss on him then to go home and beat off. It probably was one of the guys that raped Joe.

This neighborhood is too much. It is trendy to live in DC but at what state. I blame MPD for DC getting this out of hand. If I see another cop in a police with an automatic camera snapping picture for speeding cars and not out here doing police work. Lanier needs to get fired and go home to her girlfriend. I hate her and that old fat ass Ramsey. We need Chief Moose who was the Police Chief over the sniper shootings. At least he made a difference. Oh yea, fire the school chancellor too. She is about as dumb as a box of rocks.

inked on Mar 28, 2008, 12:10:00 AM said...

One more quick comment here based on Joe's comment, and the 1044 anonymous comment. Lots of the men who rape men are not gay. You may have heard the argument that rape is often a crime of aggression, not sex. I think this may be a perfect example. If you rape someone in such a situation it would strongly suggest to me that the motivation is humiliation and power, not sexual gratification [maybe a combo]. I would wonder if the guys who might perpetrate a crime like this were not offenders with an incarceration history, but possibly basically straight.
I don;t believe that raping a man is worse, just more jarring in our society. That kind of crime, rape by a stranger on a public street would be horrible for anyone. All victims are subjected to physical and metal trauma, including the risk of contracting many types of STIs.
I can't account for the ignorant comment about Lanier going back to her girlfriend. Not every powerful woman is gay.
I would, however, strongly discourage people from walking/jogging while wearing an ipod at dusk, or after [same goes for cell phones]. This applies to all sections of the city, because I've know people who have been mugged in many different areas.

inked on Mar 28, 2008, 12:19:00 AM said...

Sorry, just one more. Anal rape to anyone by two guy in that situation definitely sounds worse that the average rape that you hear of.

Anonymous said...


You are either a man who is in the closet with his sexuality or just plain stupid. I am still trying to figure out which one. I hope some men rape you and you tell them when they are doing it that they are not gay, that they are doing it because it is a form of power. How stupid are you? Incarceration history or not, anal sex to a man is gay. How do I know? Because I am gay and I like anal baby. Acceptance of what it is, is very important. I look like a thug but I know who and what I am.

Anonymous said...


They have a "I was Raped" T-Shirt. What is your address so I can send you 1? I hope it helps you in the recovery process. Have your co-workers been supportive of you? They was a crime initiative meeting and I told your story and people wanted to meet you. I hope all is well. Read this.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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