ANC Highlights, July 2022
By July 11, 2022 0 543•
Briefings from Anthony Lanier of EastBanc, Mayor Bowser’s office, Ward 2 Council Member Brooke Pinto’s office, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Georgetown Main Street highlighted this month’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC2e) virtual meeting on July 5.
Anthony Lanier, Founder of EastBanc,‘Optimistic’
“What EastBanc sees coming is of interest to all of us,” said Chair Rick Murphy by way of introducing Anthony Lanier, the founder of the firm that owns and manages some 60 buildings in Georgetown. Lanier’s main message: there’s every reason to be optimistic about Georgetown’s commercial real estate in the next few years. “I know there’s a lot of concern about vacancies and leasing,” Lanier said, “but, rather than look at it as a black mark, we should see it as an opportunity to escape sameness.” As with Grace Street and other thoughtfully cultivated commercial corridors, the opportunity to bring innovative and exciting retailers which compliment rather than detract from their neighbors is “an exciting opportunity.” A key to achieving such retail diversity is to allow for flexible and short-term leasing opportunities where “merchants who want to try out Georgetown have the ability to [sample] the area for 90 or so days.” This helps launch start-ups and create a good platform for “e-retailers to land in Georgetown.”
Lanier heralded Showfields, which has been touted as the “most interesting store in the world.” Calling themselves an “innovative retail concept built to engage and inspire your sense of discovery,” Showfields will be moving into the former Brooks Brothers at 3077 M St. NW. Most recently, EastBanc’s start-up incubator 31/M occupied the site and he touted the successful launch of two innovative retailers from that effort. Lanier also announced that Glossier – a narrow but “very worthwhile” cosmetics company – will be opening in the early fall in the old Sephora spaces at 3065 M St. NW. The Zara building at the corner of Prospect and Wisconsin will also have five new tenants. “I’m optimistic that by the end of the year we will have 100 percent of our spaces occupied,” Lanier said.
Public Safety and Crime
In Georgetown, crime statistics over the last two months have improved according to Sgt. Philip Robinson, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). For violent crimes: no homicides, sex abuses, or assaults with a deadly weapon took place while only 1 armed robbery was committed. Property crimes were more concerning, however, with 3 burglaries, 10 motor vehicle thefts, 18 thefts-from-autos, and 57 (general) thefts reported. Sgt. Robinson attributed drivers’ leaving keys in cars as a major factor in auto-related crimes and said 4 out of the 6 motor vehicle thefts were resolved with a return of the vehicle. Property thefts were mostly targeted against businesses.
Progress has been made on homeless encampments which “don’t now pose a threat in the Georgetown community,” Robinson said. Residents can contact DMHHS.dc.gov/Page/Encampments to help with housing or for inquiries/concerns. For mental health-related emergencies, residents may also call a Community Response Team at all hours at (202) 673-6495.
Office of the Mayor
Mayor Bowser has launched an initiative to protect homeowners from construction project damages. Residents may contact the DCRA’s Insurance Education Center at DCRA.dc.gov/insurancecenter for assistance.
Ward 2 Council Member Pinto’s Office
Vaccinations for the Monkeypox virus are available through DC Health at preventmonkeypox.dc.gov. Residents with rat or rodent problems are encouraged to call 311. DC Health also provides a Rat Riddance Academy seminar. While there have been many complaints about D.C. government, “it’s never been the case with me about DC Health,” ANC Chair Rick Murphy said. They’re “very responsive and do a good job.” Later in the meeting, Murphy received unanimous ANC approval for his proposal to tighten and enforce rat-abatement measures in light of this summer’s “alarming increase in rat incidents.”
Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park
The group is pleased to announce that the fountain is back on, and they’ll be sponsoring an NPS Park Ranger for the summer. Residents interested in serving on their board should contact Meg Hardon at Megh3@verizon.net.
Georgetown Main Street’s Art All Night
Executive Director Rachel Shank announced that GMS will be sponsoring Art All Night in Georgetown on Friday, Sept. 23, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. to “highlight the art and culture of Georgetown.” The group is hoping to more than double participation this year to 5,000 over last year’s 1,700 attendees. Ten establishments will be activated for the festival.
MacArthur High School
Commissioner Kishan Putta (2E01) announced that DCPS will be constructing a new high school – with a “placeholder name” of MacArthur High School – for students graduating from Hardy Middle School. Students currently in 5th grade will attend the new school to be constructed at the former campus of private Georgetown Day School on MacArthur Boulevard NW, but current 6th and 7th graders will have a choice to attend Jackson-Reed while construction takes place.
ABRA Licensing: Officina
The ANC voted unanimously to protest Via Umbria’s application for a Retailer’s Class “C” license. “In recent months, Officina [located at 1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW] have conducted rooftop events in violation of their settlement agreement,” Chair Murphy said. Murphy also led the ANC in protesting the Class “C” licensing application for Sandbox at 3251 Prospect St. NW because they have not yet negotiated a settlement agreement.
Public Space Committee: West Heating Plant
The ANC gave the go-ahead for construction to begin around Labor Day at the West Heating Plant. Years in the making, this ambitious project is designed to “transform the long vacant, contaminated, and blighted site bounded by 29th St. NW, the historic C&O Canal, Rock Creek, and K Street in Georgetown from an obsolete steam heat facility… into a Four Seasons-managed residential condominium with an adjacent one-acre public park,” according to the Levy Group sponsoring the project. “Boy, will we be glad to see the first spade turn on this project,” Chair Rick Murphy mused.