February 13, 2006

A GIANT MESS. Some neighborhoods in DC thrive. Others stagnate. 17th St. in Dupont Circle hasn't changed much for years and looks pretty much as it did 15 years ago -- a decent restaurant or two mixed with the Safeway and CVS. It's so wash-and-wear. P Street in Logan Circle on the other hand has gone from nothing to a vibrant strip with Whole Foods, CVS and several good places to grab lunch and other retail.

What about the strip of Cleveland Park along Wisconsin Ave? It probably falls between stagnanting and vibrancy. (Of course home values in Western CP only recently have slowed.) A few good restaurants and other retail, but somehow you would think it would be doing better. The other Cleveland Park main drag on Connecticut Ave. is doing boatloads better. That's not surprising given the Metro.

So what's holding its brethren back. The nasty Giant Food store at 3336 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Over your tears for this situation, you ought to light six candles -- one candle for each year that has passed since Giant announced it would renovate and expand the store.

But, of course, there are opponents who want a better store but not more customers. Technically, what they object to is increased traffic, more and larger trucks making deliveries and lately a lack of historically sensitive renovation plans. To us, the "Soviet Giant" looks like an ugly shoe box.

To get the ball rolling anew, Anthony Colavolpe of Stop & Shop Supermarket, which is running Giant for a Ahold USA, a Dutch conglomerate, will make a presentation at the ANC 3-C meeting tonight. (But rescheduled for Feb. 28 because of the snow.) According the the agenda, Colavolpe plans to discuss "ideas about expanding and improving the store and also how the two blocks owned by parent company ... could be organized to improve the streetscape and the vitality ofthe commercial area." Plans are in an early conceptual stage. Can we please move on.


Colin said...


David said...

Right on.

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Anonymous said...

Yup, you're right. It all comes down to community involvement and the likes of that community involvement. 17th Street is a good example. It hasn't changed any because some folks have fought tooth and nail to not let it change using mechanisms such as the liquor license moratorium. This was probably a good think in that we don't need another Adams Morgan, however that which doesn't change, dies ... and 17th is now at a cross roads as the "wash-and-wear" establishments it's hosted for so long become increasingly out of sync with a fast changing neighborhood. Hopefully those worked successfully to keep it from "going bad" by opposing any change, will now realize that it's now change or die time ... and a new direction for the street is needed.

Anonymous said...

Question: where do you all live? Do you live in these neighborhoods? Are you letting your dollars speak for you? If you live in these neighborhoods and you don't spend your money there, people will get the point.

I also don't understand this fascination with shopping. Do you have to have shopping everywhere you go? And bars on every corner? A lot of people like in living D.C. because of the small town feel. There are lots of neighborhoods in D.C. with different flavors. The attitude I hear on this board is "enough flavor. I want corporate retail on every block and I want it now!"

DC is not New York, thank god. As a nation capitol, how about comparing it to other nation capitols? Paris? London? DC is closer to these cities. New York is much closer to Hong Kong. Who do you want to be?

Colin said...

All I know is that I don't want D.C. to be Moscow, which is where that Giant looks like it belongs.