January 2017 Archives

Need Green to rent green

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I'm going to state the obvious. Housing in DC is expensive.
New housing in DC is expensive. Old, historic, and historic districty housing in DC is expensive.
So taking a plain, basic apartment that is decent enough that you're not calling the owner a slumlord is more than likely to be expensive. Throw on fancy stuff and that's gonna cost extra. Want a green LEED certified apartment or house, yup that's gonna cost you.
The folks at Rent Cafe contacted me a while ago with some tables and graphs.
Top-10-green-cities-via-RENTCafe.png
Along with the statement that:
  • Washington DC overtakes other popular urban hubs - including Manhattan and San Francisco - in green rental stock, boasting an impressive 7,000 apartments classified as ''green.'' The capital also comes in 8th place in our Top Greenest Cities, for best ratio of people to green rentals (96 people for every green unit available).

Makes sense.

For a while I thought our representative bird was the building crane, and those new buildings usually had the extra LEED/ green this and that flava crystals. Before, in the good old days, or bad old days (same days) there was a fair amount of affordable housing going up in DC because that was the market. The regular market rate renters were heading for the burbs. Then after Mayor Williams, DC starts getting all popular and developers are building apartments, condos and houses for people with disposable income/higher paying jobs. People, more willing to pay the green housing premium.
As a homeowner who has done some work on her house I know that the green choice is not necessarily the cheaper choice. Low/No-VOC paint, costs a lot more that the regular paint. Paying someone for the blown-in insulation, more than the pink fiberglass bats. According to the study Rent Cafe mentions,  "Average rent in green-certified apartments is $560 more than in regular new apartments, while most surveyed renters are willing to pay up to only $100 more."
Of course, being green is only one part of the price as there are several other factors that go into making DC housing expensive. There are things the city government demands (taxes, fees) and does (long permitting process), there is our old friend "supply and demand" and a cost of doing business that gets passed on to the renter.

The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle

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Frankenmaps.jpgWell after a year of planning The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle (#TheTraingleKnownAs #TruxtonCircle) is up in a Truxton Circle gallery for Truxton Circle/Shaw residents to view.

Our opening was last night, and despite my own problems with crowded rooms, it was wonderful. Speaking for myself my goal was achieved, I told the history of the neighborhood and people got it, they really got it. I have been trying to tell a story of this neighborhood, this section of the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area I call Truxton Circle for over a decade on this blog. Maybe this blog was always too small and it story needed to be made more real and told with something that can be seen and touched.

But maybe it needed to be told with my colleagues artists Ira Tattelman and Brian Bakke who also told a story of Truxton Circle. Ira told the story the old traffic circle with his installation. People at the opening would look for the traffic circle on my maps. Hint: you can find the remnants of it on the 1970 "You Are Here" map where visitors from Shaw, east of 7th St can place a pin where they live, and an outline of the circle on the "Freeway Plan circa 1957-1960". I'll leave it to everyone else to argue about where exactly the circle was. Brian and I told the story of the people of Truxton Circle (though he doesn't call it that). Whereas I focused on demographics, Brian told stories of particular people, including one character we don't see around much anymore, Hollywood. You remember Hollywood don't you, bearded black man in Parliament-Funkadelic outfits, used to hang out at 7th & P and the BP Station across the street from the gallery (410 Florida Ave NW) where all this is taking place?

I really liked how everyone interacted with the art and the exhibit. And I hope those of you who came will come again to get the luxury of reading the captions and panels on a less crowded day. The gallery (410 GooDBuddY at 410 FL Ave NW) is open on Saturdays 12-2PM, Fridays 10AM-12PM until we shutter the thing February 17. Inauguration Day stop by we'll be open until 3pm that day, and we have an artists talk February 11th 2-4PM so you can ask us questions. 

Thanks to BACA, the DC Humanities Council, ANXO, Right Proper and other sponsors, oh and Scott Roberts (Mr. Info).

This is a fight I'm done with- Richardson Place

So I'm back from a BACA meeting. Two topics took up a majority of the meeting, one being the District of Columbia's criminal justice system, the other being the proposed co-housing, 24 bedroom, 24 bath thing up on Richardson Place. The residents of Richardson, particularly Jim N. have my sympathy, but that property, that problem, I'm done with it. I fought that fight in 2005, it's been over a decade, and I can think of worse things.... which we fought against, and what OakTree development proposes, that ain't it.

Back in November 2005, eleven years and two months ago, I wrote on the old InShaw blog about Wilbur Mondie/ Mondi and his plans to build some buildings on the empty lots, and later Jim N.'s beautiful garden. In that month a few neighbors on that block, people on Richardson, 4th Street and New Jersey Avenue banded together and got our then ANC and BACA president Jim Berry involved.

Then the residents were concerned about water drainage, parking and a concern about shoehorning families in need into some cheaply built cramped looking housing. I should mention in 2005, parking was plentiful (compared to today) and we had lots of Section 8's (poor people housing) with disruptive tenants. No Big Bear. Nothing cool.

The person spearheading the effort was a lawyer (or employed in the legal profession) named Karl K. and of all the people deeply involved he was the last to move in 2016(?). Jim Berry stepped back and later moved. Toby and his wife moved to NoVa after the birth of their first kid. John stuck around to fight another zoning fight but moved to a guaranteed good DC school district after getting married and having kids. And there were others, who eventually moved. A lot happens in 11 years.

Greater density has happened. Within a 5 minute walk houses are getting re-divided (many were built as duplexes, turned into 1 unit, then divided again) into condos, tall infill buildings were filling in, and there were pop-ups, some good, some bad, and some downright ugly. Street parking became harder to find, and until I married a car-owner, I didn't care. And this was coming from the east with NOMA and the west with U Street amenities slowly moving east. 

Regardless if there are 24 or the feared 48 residents, or even a possible 15-20 residents at one time (because of vacancies) parking is going to get scarce. Those wonderful restaurants and businesses that are slowly making their way down Florida Avenue will bring competition for parking. Demographics are changing and the two bedroom, one den condo or house bought by the power couple, and the dozen more like them, will in time get rented to a gaggle of bros or gals or mixed group when the power couple wants to move because of kids or another job opportunity in Phoenix or New York. 

The building is not as ugly as Mondi had initially proposed. It looks like the infills that dot Shaw.
The people that will supposedly occupy the building would be young single childless professionals. That demographic is taking over the area. Whippersnappers.
At this point I'm not sure what would be gained with such fight. Nah, I'm saving up energy to fight for a turret.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

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