Downtowner DC

D.C. to Enforce Straw Ban Next Year

The District will be banning plastic straws starting in 2019. Effective Jan. 1, businesses and organizations that serve or sell beverages or food will be required to use compostable or reusable straws. The straw ban is due to the fact that plastic straws, which take hundreds of years to degrade, pollute rivers and oceans and harm fish and other aquatic animals.

Banneker High School’s Move to Shaw Challenged

Because Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, near Howard University, is contending with inadequate infrastructure, its relocation to the site of the closed Shaw Junior High School was announced in October. Current student Margareth Mbea, among others, testified at a D.C. Council Education Committee roundtable on Nov. 15 in support of the move. It is opposed by some in Shaw, who said Mayor Muriel Bowser and mayors past promised them a new middle school.

Developer Proposes Underground Apartments

D.C. developer Perseus TDC is planning to construct 125 to 150 apartments in the lot behind the Masonic Temple on 16th Street NW, owned by the Scottish Rite. Most would be above ground, but some would be underground, facing an external wall and lit by natural light from above. Retired history professor Victor Wexler, who lives in the area, was quoted at a community meeting saying, “It’s like living in a Metro tunnel.”

Conrad Hotel to Open in CityCenterDC

A Conrad hotel is set to open in posh retail and eating area CityCenterDC on Feb. 1. Overseeing the design is Switzerland-based “starchitect” partnership Herzog & de Meuron. The signature chefs of the hotel restaurant, Estuary, will be Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. Reservations are currently being accepted for March 15 and later. Conrad is a luxury brand of Hilton Worldwide.

D.C. Considers Roboshuttles

The latest in transportation coveted by cities around the country? Roboshuttles. Planners are intrigued by box-like vehicles that go just 10 mph, reported the Washington Post, though there are concerns about safety and economic viability. In D.C., the Southwest Business Improvement District is hoping to use the shuttles to connect the Smithsonian to the waterfront, roughly a half-mile away.

Olli Roboshuttles

Andrés Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Celebrity chef José Andrés — whose America Eats Tavern opened in Georgetown in June — has been nominated by U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Maryland) for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work feeding Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017. The winner of the roughly $1-million prize will be chosen by the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, appointed by the Norwegian parliament, and announced in October of 2019.

Chef José Andrés

Bar Loses Case Against Trump Hotel

Last year, Cork Wine Bar brought a case in U.S. District Court alleging that President Donald Trump was using his position to increase business for the Trump International Hotel. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon dismissed the suit last month. Politico reported that Leon said actions like using the White House to promote a family business are part of the free market and don’t violate D.C.’s common-law ban on unfair competition.


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