Sunday, October 18, 2009

October Items


The October meeting with District AG Peter Nickels and At Large council-member Phil Mendelson was interesting. A note will be forthcoming in a few days. Meanwhile, there were several items that we needed to get out.

Vault Lease Issues

We recently learned that some developers entered into underground vault agreements that may present long-term liabilities to some condominium associations or particular owners who have assigned rights to space within these vaults. These agreements assign limited rights to this space, but preserve the city’s ultimate right to take the space if needed or to charge rent for the space. There is little clarity to this beyond some residents paid for parking spaces without realizing that the space belonged to the city and that the city had the right to charge rent. So far, two buildings have been identified as having such agreements. In one case (555 Massachusetts) , the city charged the residents for back rent and demanded rent for 2010. These residents were unaware that they had purchased public space. In another case (Madrigal Lofts) the public space is mentioned in their bylaws but residents seem unaware that their agreement gives the city the right to charge rent.

It is advised associations with buildings that opened after 2004 check to see if they have public vault liabilities. Currently both Ward 2 and Ward 6 councilmembers Jack Evans and Tommy Wells are working to find resolution.

Carmines Neighborhood Meeting

The Alicart Restaurant Group is bringing Carmine’s, a family style Italian restaurant to 7th Street between D and E street in the space that many had hoped would contain a grocery store. Carmines will serve up to 700 people and will create 220 new jobs for the city. The Downtown Neighborhood Association is organizing a public meeting hosted by the Clara Barton Condominium Association for Tuesday October 27 at 7PM. Jeffrey Bank, the Alicart Chief Executive Officer will meet, discuss their plans and business model, and answer questions. Residents from Clara Barton, Lansburgh, Lafayette, and Terrell Place are encouraged to come. The meeting is open to all downtown residents, so please RSVP to if you plan to attend. For more information on this company and to view Jeffrey Bank’s discussion of their business model, check out the link:

Downtown Streetscape Project

Work has finally begun on the Downtown DCBID Streetscape and Streetlight project. The first areas impacted downtown will be D and E Streets between 6th and 7th Street. The work will include but not limited to upgrading of streetlights, wheelchair ramps, trees spaces as well as repairable sidewalks, gutters and resurfacing of road pavement. This is a project that the Downtown Neighborhood Association provided input and aggressively worked for funding and project approval.

November Meeting

The final meeting for 2009 is scheduled for Tuesday November 10th at Calvary Baptist Church. The lead discussion leader will be Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans who will brief attendees on neighborhood issues and take audience questions. He will be followed by Hadiah Jordan, and Associate with Justice & Sustainability Associates. Her firm is working with the Infrastructure Project Management Administration, a division of the District Department of Transportation, to manage the Downtown DCBID Streetscape and Streetlight project that received stimulus funding. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.

Miles E. Groves
Downtown Neighborhood Association

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