Welcome duo, Georgetown’s Newest Boutique

February 22, 2012

Georgetown’s newest addition of contemporary women’s clothing, duo (with a little “D”), will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday, February 11. A sibling venture—as Georgetown is becoming known for, with the Cupcake Sisters and the Pie Sisters, among other family-owned and operated businesses in the area—duo is the work of sisters Kyle and Elizabeth Barber, who promise to bring affordable, contemporary fashion to the neighborhood.

The newest boutique in town features upscale, designer apparel and one-of-a-kind hand-crafted accessories, catering to the trendy fashion sense of the District and offering a mix of established and up-and-coming designers, including Greylin, Ali Ro, Amanda Uprichard, Addison Story and more.

“We also have Cynthia Steffe’s new line Cluny, that’s just been released through Neeman Marcus,” says Elizabeth. “That’s one of our favorites.”

“Addison Story isn’t around as much either, but I love it,” adds Kyle. “It’s kind of whimsical, with flowy tops and mixes of silk and fun patterns. Stuff that be worn to work, but also out to happy hour.”

Duo is looking to be a wonderful addition to Georgetown’s retail district, appealing to young professionals, who want to wear designer clothes without having to pay typical designer prices. The store’s price points are generally between $150 and $250, but there are plenty of items around $50.

The shop will also carry Kyle’s custom designed, handmade jewelry. “I started making jewelry years ago for family and friends, and people loved it,” Kyle says. “And I was tired of looking around and seeing people wearing the same stuff, that was also way more expensive than I thought it was worth. My jewelry definitely has a bohemian edge—it’s a combination of designs and materials. I love to find vintage earrings and incorporate them into more modern materials. To me—and everyone else has been very excited about it, too—it’s affordable and totally unique. You’ll never see anyone else wearing it.”

One line of Kyle’s jewelry will be putting a portion of all proceeds toward charity.

Kyle and Elizabeth have been working toward duo for a while now. Kyle has her Masters in education and has always been rather crafty. The store is something the sisters have always wanted to do. “And now seemed like a good time to join our interests together,” says Elizabeth.

Join duo on Saturday for champagne, mimosas and hor d’oeuvres all day, from 10am to 7pm, and welcome them to the neighborhood. Duo is located at 1624 Wisconsin Ave., just next door to Urban Chic.

For more information visit duoDC.com

Ins and Outs: Antiques of Georgetown Closes

Bidding Goodbye to Antiques of Georgetown

A farewell party for Antiques of Georgetown is planned for March at the store, after it officially closes Feb. 29. 

“I have been very happy here,” said William Donahue, whose first antiques shop was four doors east on O Street. “I have loved being my own boss.”

As reported in the Jan. 25 Georgetowner, Donahue—who has operated an antique shop in Georgetown since 1967—is retiring.

An economics major, Donohue worked for Riggs Bank downtown until the antiques world became a business for him. “My wife Mary and I had three kids when I started,” Donahue said. “We lived in Foxhall Village.” Now, they have places in Bethesda and Georgetown, and wife Mary prefers to spend more time in Florida.

“One of my best clients was Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger,” said Donahue, who also recalled when First Lady Nancy Reagan visited his shop and was given two pieces of art she had admired—by the artist.

The most interesting piece he sold? A desk with nine secret compartments. His most sentimental item? A chandelier from his family’s R Street home, still in the shop.

The Donahue family—the father was a physician—grew up on 35th Street. The children were born in Georgetown University Hospital; that same building is now Loyola dormitory. A brother, Matt, who lived on Prospect Street, died Jan. 19.

Donahue remembers delivering newspapers in town when many black families lived on 32nd Street and elsewhere. Grown-up memories include Sunday brunches at Doc Dalinsky’s pharmacy with trays of food from the Georgetown Inn’s Collins Bird. One of those Sunday regulars, Ben Bradlee, might add: It has been a good life—antiquing and other adventures—for Donahue.

The store is having a half-price sale; check www.Georgetowner.com for details on the March send-off reception.

Say Hello to a 2nd Tu-O-Tu

On Feb. 20, owner Mino Sarano opened a second eatery, Cafe Tu-O-Tu Express, at 3421 M Street, N.W., right next to the Pie Sisters. The Regency Row spot on the west side of town complements his first Tu-O-Tu near the Fours Season Hotel at the east side. Manager Bora Akcakanat welcomes his new neighbors with wraps, sandwiches, salads and an all-day breakfast, which includes a “Key Bridge” egg, cheese and bacon sandwich. So, that’s area code 202 . . . 337 4455.

New in Town: Suitsupply and Noodles and Company

The Dutch outfit, Suitsupply, known for its quality suits at reasonable prices, will be opening its doors at 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., at the Four Seasons. The only other U.S. location is in New York.

Noodles and Company is taking over the former Einstein’s Bagels location by the Safeway building at 1855 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. Dine in or take out a wide array of menu options, all containing noodles, of course.

Business Ins & OutsNovember 16, 2011

November 16, 2011

IN: Oui: Paul Bakery and Caf? to Open Officially Nov. 21

Say “bonjour” to the new bakery-caf? near the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, as it may already be serving its famous breads, sandwiches, salads, sweets and tarts. Paul, the 120 year-old upscale authentic French bakery-caf?, boasts 500 stores in 25 countries — from Japan to Qatar and now in Georgetown. Its downtown D.C. shop opened in May.

While the eatery touts its tradition and history, the U.S. side of the firm is led by Philippe Sanchez, president and CEO of PAUL USA, Inc. Sanchez is a 20-year global marketing veteran of three of the world’s most recognizable brands, Starbucks, Nike and Disney, and is known as a visionary in digital imaging. He was also marketing VP for Getty Images. Prepare for a Napoleonic campaign of bakery victories across America.

“We?re very excited about the new location in a beautiful historic brick building that once was the kitchen to the historic City Tavern,” Sanchez said. “Built in 1889, our new Georgetown location shares the same birthday as Paul, which was founded in 1889 in Lille, France. We?ve customized the space by adding a large and glorious window to the top floor, which will serve as the dining area, accommodating 30-40 patrons in a cozy and beautiful Parisian caf? ambiance.”

Paul Georgetown Bakery and Caf?, 1078 Wisconsin Ave., N.W, (Located at the southwest corner of Wisconsin and M, between the Banana Republic and the entrance to the Georgetown Park parking garage.)

Tel: 202-524-4630 / 4631 / 4632 — Email: paulb03@paul-usa.com

OUT: Georgetown Inn and Hotel Monticello sold

The Georgetown Inn has sold for $34.6 million to a group of investors including former Best Western International Inc. chairman Nayan Patel, according to the Washington Business Journal. Georgetown Washington DC Inn LLC is planning a major renovation of the 1310 Wisconsin Avenue property, which traded for about $360,400 per room, Patel told the business newspaper. ?We?re really excited about this property, we think it has great potential, and I would like to take the property to the next level,? he said.

The newspaper also reported that Savills Hotel Group announced the sale of the Hotel Monticello at 1075 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, for an undisclosed price to Monticello Hotel Owners LLC. with plans for ?major renovations.?

The new owners of the Georgetown Inn do not plan to change the hotel’s name, as Patel told the Business Journal, “because of the worldwide recognition associated with Georgetown. D.C. continues to be a strong hotel market, nationally and internationally, and really Georgetown within that market is very hard to beat.?

IN: Cafe Tu-O-Tu Adds Second Georgetown Spot

Already at the eastern edge of town near the Four Seasons at 2816 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Cafe Tu-O-Tu, a eatery specializing in Mediterranean salads and sandwiches, is setting up shop on the west side on the 3400 block of M Street, next to Pie Sisters. (Its name derives from D.C.’s area code, didn’t you know?)

IN: Edible Arrangements Coming to Wisconsin Ave.

Edible Arrangements — creators and deliverers of fruit and chocolate gift baskets — will occupy the former 7-Eleven spot at 1600 Wisconsin Avenue and Q Street.

OUT: Safeway Closes its Gates

The Safeway in the Watergate office building will close Dec. 3, according to the Washington Business Journal. Safeway is focusing on closing its older stores and updating newer, larger locations.

Business Ins and Outs

October 19, 2011

The Saloun, the live music and dance bar at 3239 M St., N.W., closed Oct. 15. The 20-year-old watering hole sustained some damage from the June 29 fire at Hook Restaurant next door, but no direct reason for its closure was given by its owners.

Ella Rue, the secondhand, name-brand dress boutique, owned and run by Krista Johnson, is moving across the street to a bigger space. The new address is 3231 P St., N.W.

Ledbury is “popping” up on M Street next week. The Richmond, Va.-based high-end mensware line will open for just three days, Oct. 27 through 29, at 2805 M St., NW. The venue will hold a launch party Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. celebrating this whirlwind business venture with a whiskey bar and some old-school funk music.

For the rest of the store’s duration, Ledbury will sell its wares, which are fitted shirts in all styles, at a 20 percent discounted rate. Customers who visit the store can also meet the designers and founders of the line, Paul Trible and Paul Watson, who will be on hand throughout the three days.

The anticipated Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates will open this weekend on Oct. 22 with a Grand Opening Extravaganza from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The opening event will provide samples of some of their “hand-grown” chocolates and hot cocoas, as well as a gourmet s’mores station with homemade marshmallows, graham crackers and, naturally, chocolate.

P Street Pictures will be moving to a new location at 3204 O St. where they will continue their custom framing service. Now the only question is, will they keep their name? The store’s new location will open in December of this year.

Archer, a “20th Century Design + Modern Furnishings showroom,” opened its store in Cady’s Alley last weekend. The flagship store will be a gallery for fine contemporary furniture and art.

Business Ins & Outs

September 7, 2011

Town Hall Moving to Replace Blue Ridge
Town Hall, formerly of 2340 Wisconsin Ave., will move in to the Blue Ridge space at 2218 Wisconsin Ave. in the coming weeks, according to the Glover Park Gazette. The owners of Town Hall will acquire the building, which includes a large patio space and bar, and the property’s liquor license. According to the Gazette, the owners of Blue Ridge, Eli Hengst and Jared Rager, were unable to complete their plans for opening a coffeehouse and diner in the space because of ongoing complications with Mendocino Bar & Grill. Hengst and Rager subleased the M Street property to the Grill, which was forced to close last spring due to back taxes.

‘Uncommon Furnishings’ Comes to Town
Local and international designer, artist and furniture maker, Jan Marfyak has set up shop, Uncommon Furnishings, at 35th and N Streets. “It’s got a different buzz,” says Marfyak approvingly of today’s Georgetown. He has been around D.C. for years as well as the New York and L.A. arts scene and has worked with Krupsaw’s, Antony Childs, Miller & Armey and Muleh.

Displaying decorative objects for homes – polished petrified wood, calcium slabs and mill stones, to name a few intriguing pieces – Marfyak pulls from his warehouse in Montgomery County and his world travels. His designs involve unusual textures, forms and colors with residential and commercial applications. If you are looking for unique framings or yet-to-be-authenticated petrified crocodiles from China – or not – stop by and say hello to Marfyak. Each of his art pieces tells a story, and he can tell quite a few of his own. He is well worth the trip. Uncommon Furnishings is at 1301 35th St., NW, 202.422.6695.

Liquor Store Hours Extended to Midnight
Neighborhood liquor stores can now stay open until midnight instead of 10 p.m. D.C.’s new law which raises alcohol taxes – from nine to 10 percent – also includes extending hours for retail liquor sales to offset losses for the businesses involved. Already, liquor stores such as Wagner’s and Dixie Liquor, are open until midnight Thursday through Saturday.

Georgetown Observer August 24, 2011

August 25, 2011

ANC Votes for Co-Chairs’ Redistricting Plan; 8th District Added
In response to population growth, the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission’s working group to redraw ANC 2E, which represents Georgetown, Burleith and Hillandale, voted in favor of a plan advanced by working group’s co-chairs – commissioner Ron Lewis of ANC2E and his co-chairs, Jennifer Altemus of the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown and Lenore Rubino of the Burleith Citizen’s Association. The proposal adds a new single-member district (SMD) by increasing the number of Georgetown University student districts from one to two, bringing Georgetown’s ANC districts to a total of eight (each accounting for roughly more than 2,000 individuals).

The approved plan splits SMD04 into two, creating a totally new SMD08. (The student districts would account for about 2,500 individuals.) Burleith remains SMD01, and a few blocks are added north on Wisconsin Avenue to SMD05. Voting in favor of the co-chairs’ plan, commissioner Bill Starrels said, “I think it was thought-through, well laid-out and addressed the concerns and all aspects of the community.”

An opposing view, advocated by John Flanagan, a student on the ANC 16-member working group, called for three student-dominated zones, folding parts of the west side of Georgetown into the university districts. Flanagan had cited the principle of “one man, one vote,” arguing that increased student population warranted three districts. The co-chairs’ proposal answered back, in part, with a call for continued “community cohesiveness,” where traditional borders between several blocks had naturally developed.

The plan will be discussed at the next week ANC meeting with any changes requested by Sept. 7, then passed to the Ward 2 re-districting team and onto Council member Jack Evans. The re-districting changes must be voted on by the D.C. Council by the end of 2011 and will become effective November 2012.
Next ANC 2E meeting: Monday, Aug. 29, 6:30p.m. at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 35th Street and Volta Place.

Evans’s Use of $135K of Service Funds over a Decade to Buy Sports Tickets Questioned
Taking money from a D.C. Council member’s citizen service fund to purchase tickets to local baseball, basketball, hockey or tennis games – while perfectly legal – was been called into question because of an investigation by the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post, “D.C. Council member Jack Evans has paid $135,897 for professional sports tickets over the past decade using money from his constituent services fund, renewing calls for tighter restrictions on the accounts, which are meant to help city residents. A Washington Post review of Office of Campaign Finance records shows that Evans (D-Ward 2) has spent $437,720 since January 2002 under the program, which allows District politicians to raise money to help constituents and spend the funds largely unfettered.”

“I think it’s appropriate to support those teams and give [tickets] to constituents who otherwise may not be able to get to a game,” Evans told the Post. The newspaper added, “When the fund is examined back to 1991, when Evans was elected to the council, he notes that only 13 percent of the $1 million he has spent has gone toward sporting tickets. He said that 20-year period provided a more accurate picture of his spending.”

Under D.C. law, constituent services funds may be set up to offer “charitable, scientific, educational, medical, recreational and other services” and improve residents’ “general welfare.” Any other restrictions – save for political campaigning – are not outlined.

Nevertheless, the money can add up quickly over the years for tickets to sporting events. The Post went on further: “On March 1, for example, Evans wrote a check for $4,681 for a season ticket to the Capitals. Two days later, he paid the Wizards $7,644. His two 2011 season tickets at Nationals Park, which he said are behind first base, cost him $10,945 last fall, the records show.”
At least one council member – Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) – told the Post, “I think it’s inappropriate.” A few community leaders did not really wish to comment, and a few others wondered where their tickets were. For the kids, of course.

Georgetown Waterfront Park’s Grand Opening Set for Sept. 13
Yet another win for Georgetown. After years of fundraising, designing and construction, the transformation from old parking lots on the Potomac to an urban park, inviting the public to play along the waterfront, is complete. On Sept. 13, Georgetown Waterfront Park becomes the largest national park created in the Nation’s Capital in 35 years since Constitution Gardens was finished on the National Mall in 1976.

Thanks to the National Park Service, the Georgetown Waterfront Park Commission, architects Wallace Roberts & Todd as well as donations by MRP Realty (the owners of Washington Harbour), Pepco, the Georgetown BID, and the District of Columbia, a 10-acre park stretches out at the foot of Wisconsin Avenue on the Potomac River.

Once the land of old Georgetown’s wharves and then factories, the riverside deteriorated into parking lots and empty land. In 1985, the District of Columbia transferred the waterfront land to the National Park Service. In the late 1990s, the Georgetown Waterfront Commission made the final, long push for completion, bringing together volunteers, residents, the rowing community, local leaders and the National Park Service as it highlighted the Potomac’s signature sport: rowing.

The Georgetown Waterfront Park provides a green space for visitor recreation and contemplation, the commission is proud to point out. Cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians have their own car-free pathways with views of individual boaters, kayakers and competitive crews as well as of Roosevelt Island and Key Bridge. The park curves along 10 acres from the Washington Harbour complex at 31st Street to Key Bridge, a vital last link in 225 miles of parkland from Mount Vernon, Va., to Cumberland, Md. The park will have Wi-Fi, the commission reports, and it adds:
“The Wisconsin Avenue part of the park will greet the visitor with a low arcing fountain lined with benches, while the riverfront will have steps laddering down to the river at the site of the finish line for the regattas. A wide walkway will be continued along the river with an area with benches and a pergola for river viewing. In this section of the park, crowds can gather to watch rowing regattas or just look at the river from the sheltered pergola. The interactive fountain will add a playful aquatic feature to attract visitors to the river from Wisconsin Avenue. An arbor above the benches will invite visitors to relax by the water. The arbor will support flowering vines, filtering the sunlight over seating areas. Below the arbor, river stairs will descend to the water, forming an amphitheater where people can view activities in the park and watch the finish line of the boat races.”

Chain Bridge Weekend Closures Begin
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced it will be closing the Chain Bridge on weekends to conduct structural repair work activities under the bridge deck. The majority of the repairs on Chain Bridge completed last spring were conducted on the bridge deck. Now through Dec. 23, weather permitting, DDOT will be conducting an additional series of repair related activities that will be concentrated under the bridge. Weekend closures will be necessary to perform this work.
During the following weekends, Chain Bridge will close starting at 8 p.m. on Friday and will reopen at 5 a.m. the following Monday: Aug. 19 to 21; Sept. 9 to 11; Sept. 16 to 18; Sept. 30 to Oct. 2; Oct. 7 to 9; Oct. 21 to 23; Oct. 28 to 30; November 18 to 20; Dec. 2 to 4; Dec. 16 to 18.

There will be no access to the bridge from either the District or Arlington. That includes cyclists and pedestrians because the sidewalk will also be closed. Through traffic on Canal Road will not be obstructed, but motorists will not be able to turn onto Chain Bridge. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes and river crossings including the American Legion, Key, Roosevelt, Memorial and 14th Street Bridges. For additional traffic advisories, visit DDOT’s Traffic Alerts page or visit goDCgo.com for more information on transportation options in the District.

Happy 90th Birthday, Ben
Best known for the Washington Post’s Watergate investigations, former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee turns 90 on Aug. 26. But don’t look around town for Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn. They are in France – on the Ile de Ré, an island in the Atlantic off its west coast, as well regarded as Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket here. Dozens of guests at the birthday party, planned by Quinn, include family members along with friends, such as Christiane Amanpour and her husband, James Rubin, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

National Jewel Center at Old Georgetown Theater Site to Empty by Aug. 31
The classic neon “Georgetown” sign is what everyone cares about, but the stalls in the National Jewel Center are leaving the old site of the Georgetown Theater on Wisconsin Avenue at O Street. The property – owned by the Heon family, which also owns the Serendipity 3 building (Nathans) at Wisconsin and M and the Philly Cheese Steak place (Cellar Door) at 34th and M – is renewing its sales pitch, as reported in the Prince of Petworth blog. The building went on the market two years ago for almost $5 million; most figure it will go for half that amount. Here is what one real estate entry discloses: 1351 Wisconsin Ave. consists of 6,086 square feet, including street and mezzanine; the lot is 6,569 square feet. It has the famous landmark “Georgetown” sign marking the entrance of the building. The retail space can be increased by up to 3,767 square feet at the rear of the building which now has seven parking spaces and an out building. Zoned C-2-A, it is currently the largest lot in Georgetown for sale.

Foggy Bottom Whole Foods Opens Sept. 6
The Foggy Bottom Whole Foods Market holds its grand opening on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. With an entrance at the corner of 22th and Eye Streets and near the Foggy Bottom Metro stop, the food company’s newest store in D.C. is part of the building complex, known as “The Avenue,” at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., with offices, banks and a Sweetgreen eatery. Just east of Georgetown at Washington Circle, the store is set to serve Foggy Bottom and George Washington University, but you can go, too. Hours: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Phone: 202-296-1660.

Chris Furin: ‘Making Your Memories Sweeter’
While Furin’s the place may be gone, its beautiful cakes live on with Chris Furin, “a self-taught cake designer who has perfected his skills over the past decade working at his family owned and operated gourmet bakery and cafe, Furin’s of Georgetown,” he writes. The owners’ son created Cakes by Chris Furin, he added, “In response to the growing requests from his customers seeking extraordinary quality and detail in their special event custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies at an affordable price.” Visit CakesbyChrisFurin.com for the delicious details – or call 301-775-0799.

HMX Group to Open ‘The Streets of Georgetown’
The boys are trying to catch up with the girls in terms of fashionable clothing stores. New York-based HMX Group, which features men’s brands such as Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx and Bobby Jones, will premiere a store at 1254 Wisconsin Ave. next month, called “The Streets of Georgetown,” reports the business section of the Washington Post. The other town, outside New York City, for HMX’s new “Streets” stores is Beverly Hills. “There is definitely more pronounced interest from men’s fashion retailers for the first time that I can remember in my 25 years in business in D.C.,” retail space expert and Georgetown Business Improvement District board member John Asadoorian told the Post. HMX’s mix of clothing labels sell at different price points and the company hopes to serve a variety of men’s fashion customers.

Where to Park? They’re Back: Freshmen Arrive Aug. 27; Classes Begin Aug. 31
Will we see a parking snafu next week? Already Georgetown University students are setting up for new student orientation, and some students are moving in. Freshmen officially arrive on Saturday, Aug. 27, with other undergraduates to follow, as registration begins and then classes start on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Residents who park their cars on 35th Street and adjacent streets, near the university, should expect double the effort to find spaces. As work at Nevils dormitory continues on N Street and road construction expands along O and P Streets, entire blocks have lost their parking spaces. The streets are alive with dump trucks throughout the day. How difficult it gets to find a space remains to be seen. We will know soon enough.

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The Green Phoenix

Home to Congress, Washington D.C. is the center of social movements that sweep our nation. Innovative and inspiring ideas are brought before our nation’s leaders, are debated and refined, and often transformed into legislation. Recently, the hype has been about “going green” and making changes at home and at work to lower one’s carbon footprint. It’s now fashionable to wear “organic” clothing and to find a blue recycling bin to put aluminum cans instead of throwing them away.
In 2009, the House passed a historic climate change bill that requires 20% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. The bill also increases electricity prices by $175 a year per household by 2020. Yet, even with congressional pressure to improve energy efficiency, why aren’t more local businesses following the trend of “going green?” The high cost of installing renewable energy systems and the significant time commitment required to explore greener resources are just two challenges that business owners face when making the switch to a greener business model.
One local businessman, John Hays, has managed to overcome such setbacks and convert his Georgetown store, The Phoenix, into an environmentally friendly business. For years, Hays has demonstrated a commitment to sustainability through recycling, selling renewable bags, and buying products with “fair trade” certification.
About a year ago, Hays wanted to make his commitment to the environment even stronger and signed up to install 30 solar panels on the roof of The Phoenix. Hays recognizes the significant cost of installing solar panels and how many might find the numbers daunting, but has managed to take advantage of numerous local and federal incentives that make the transition more affordable. “One-third of the cost of the panels is funded by the DC government,” Hays explains, “and I will also receive a 30% tax cut from the federal government.” In addition, Hays can exchange some of the energy produced by the solar panels in the form of solar Renewable Energy Credits (sRECSs) for cash from local electricity distributors such as PEPCO. With financial help from the D.C. government, the federal government, and sRECs, Hays saw little stopping him from converting to solar energy.
The solar panels are expected to generate over 7,000 kilowatts of power each year, which will amount to 60% of The Phoenix’s total power usage. After five years, the total energy produced by the panels will make up for their cost.
Hays hopes that other local businesses will follow in his footsteps and install solar panels or make other changes to promote the environment. “All the economic incentives in place make using renewable energy possible,” Hays says. “With rising energy prices, companies might be paying more for power if they don’t make the switch.” An investment in solar energy today might even be profitable in the long-term.
Next week, the installation process will be complete and the solar panels will be up and running, generating energy for The Phoenix while simultaneously helping Georgetown become a greener neighborhood. Who will be next?
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Key to Georgetown Parking: Creativity

August 10, 2011

It is not surprising that a considerable chunk of my commute is the series of laps around Georgetown I have to take before finding a curbside parking space. Some days I find one in a few minutes, but there have been days it has taken 20, even 30 minutes before finding a space. Even as valuable time ticks away though, there is one thing I, and many others, would not consider: going to a parking lot and plunking $14 for a space.

There are lots of spaces in Georgetown, over 3,000 according to BID Director Jim Bracco. The problem is that unmetered spaces in the residential part of Georgetown are more likely to be filled than the lots and garages. This can cause congestion when there is a large influx of residents, tourists and visitors in the neighborhood.

For Bracco, this is a problem.

“We have about 3,800 garage spaces. On weekends about 40 to 45 percent are available. People don’t like to pay for parking, so trying to park in the residential side can be a challenge,” he said. According to the BID’s website, there are 25 pay-to-park lots and garages.

“People will drive an extra five blocks so they don’t have to pay for parking. People from the suburbs might not know about garages,” said Citizens Association of Georgetown President Jennifer Altemus.

People who come to Georgetown aren’t as likely to park in the lots. Different groups are working to find ways to fill these lots and clear up the curbs.

For example, Vice President of EastBanc Philippe Lanier admits there is a “visitor aversion to going underground,” and that EastBanc is working to “find ways to correct this problem.” The garage in their building at 3307 M St. NW was “underutilized,” according Lanier. CB2, the furniture store that opened in the same building this April, offers an hour of free parking for every CB2 customer. According to CB2’s general manager, every CB2 store except for SoHo has parking so that shoppers can get furniture into cars easily. Since CB2 has opened, there have been fewer vacancies in the lot.

In addition to different deals that can be made with garages and lots, community leaders are working with the District Department of Transportation to find new ways to control curb space.

Damon Harvey of the D.C. Department of Transportation’s Policy Planning and Sustainability Administration at DDOT says “We have a lot of really new tools in our toolbox at DDOT. Performance parking is a tool. Smart meters are a tool. RPP enforcement is a tool. You don’t have to use have all of them.” According to Altemus, Harvey is the “parking guru” of Washington.
Currently, community leaders are involved in a working group discussing the idea of performance parking. According to Bracco, the group includes Jennifer Altemus and ANC Commissioners Ron Lewis, Ed Solomon and Bill Starrels.

“Performance parking” is a system that involves using parking meters to charge for parking at market rates to create vacancies on curbsides. This system is in pilot programs in Columbia Heights and blocks surrounding Nationals Park.

Smart Meters, at which drivers can use credit cards or even mobile devices to pay for parking, are also known as “green monsters” because the large machines allow drivers to print parking permits.

Georgetown Businesses Close, National Chains Move In

July 26, 2011

Small businesses throughout Georgetown are feeling the strain of the shaky economy. High business taxes and swelling rents, when added to a sluggish retail market, are forcing many businesses to close their doors for good.

Georgetown will sorely miss Griffin Market, long a central part of the community. Owners Riccardo and Laura Bonino could not afford to continue producing their homemade Italian cuisine and selling their specialty groceries after their rent increased by a jump of 40 percent.

Although the business was successful – the shop regularly ran out of Laura’s daily dinners – customer loyalty was not enough to compensate for the enormous rent-hike. Their doors at 1425 28 Street NW officially closed their doors Feb. 20.

Poppy, a jewelry store which also opened in 2008, will be closing its 3235 P Street NW location and moving its business online. After Feb. 26, the official closing date, renovations will be made for a chocolate shop to move into the space.

Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar at 2917 M Street closed after the Office of Tax and Revenue revoked the restaurant’s sales tax and liquor licenses for their failure to pay about $80,000 in sales taxes. The restaurant, which serves Californian food and wine, may reopen if it can repay its debt in full.

When his lease runs out at the end of March, Mike Johnson, the owner of Sixteen Fifty Nine, a mid-century furniture retailer on Wisconsin Avenue, will close up shop. If he can sell all his merchandise before then with the help of a blow-out sale, he’ll move out earlier. Johnson’s business has been suffering for the past two years due to the tough economy and a dip in his number of customers.

And the late-night haven and breakfast eatery Georgetown Café, 1623 Wisconsin Ave., will also be closing shop, putting many a young man and woman in a tight spot after bars close.

Yet the closing of these stores and the harshness of the economy has not deterred several new, entrepreneurial businesses from setting up shop in Georgetown. Retailers and restaurants from across the country are moving into the spaces that local businesses are leaving behind.

Rag & Bone, a chic, modern sportswear store for men and women will be moving in early this summer, taking the place of what is currently MAC at 3067 M Street.

“Rag & Bone is contemporary and meets the needs of our urban environment,” says Anthony Lanier, president of EastBanc, a D.C.-based commercial and residential investment firm. “Rag & Bone has a great reputation in New York and will do extremely well with Washingtonians and visitors alike to Georgetown.”

Another well-known name from New York, Serendipity 3, will be expanding into the Georgetown neighborhood. The restaurant, famous for its ice cream and multiple appearances on the silver screen, will reportedly open its new location late next month at 3150 M Street NW.

One more sweets shop, this one from California, is putting a Georgetown link in its national chain. Beverly Hills’ Sprinkles Cupcakes will be opening its newest location just three blocks from Georgetown Cupcakes at 3015 M Street NW. If all goes well, the shop will open sometime next month.

Finally, CB2, a modern furniture and home accessory store, will open its doors on 3307 M Street NW this April. A branch of Crate and Barrel, CB2 offers modern décor that’s creative, simple and clever.
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Ins & Outs of Business, May 2011

Eat & Joy, a pizzeria and Mediterranean cuisine restaurant, recently opened at 1204 34th St. With free delivery, this new hot spot is bound to tantalize your taste buds with a full menu featuring a wide range of pizzas including the kebab pizza with gyro meat, mushrooms, feta cheese, black olives and pizza sauce and the BBQ chicken pizza. Prices are moderate, all salads run at $6.95 and include a fresh mozzarella salad, Caesar salad, Greek salad and house salad. Also on the menu are Turkish specialties such as eggplant pide and lahmacun, a round pizza made with thin crust. To order, call 202-618-4533.

CB2, a modern destination from Crate and Barrel, opened April 30th at 3307 M St. The brand carries affordable modern furnishings for the apartment, loft and home. To celebrate, they gave away a total of $10,000 in shop cards with a fun scavenger hunt, placing thousands of orange CB2 Ping Pong balls throughout Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Logan Circle. CB2 ambassadors in bright orange T-shirts also hit the streets handing out Ping Pong balls.

Want a new place to eat? Bookhill Bistro, a full service restaurant featuring globally influenced cuisine, has two levels of dining as well as a private room for parties and a back patio. Executive chef Matthew Mohler brings his experience growing up in a small Indiana farming community, where his family only used fresh ingredients from their farm. The dinner menu features entres ranging from $19 to $36, including rack of lamb, slow braised chicken, poached cobia and broiled lobster. Located at 1639 Wisconsin Ave., you can make reservations by calling 202-338-0001.

Georgetown’s 78h Annual French Market came to life on April 29 and 30 on Wisconsin Ave. in the Book Hill neighborhood with discounts up to 70% at over 30 shops and an outdoor market featuring French breads, pastries, grilled merguez and kids activities. The event was a big success, drawing attendees from neighborhoods all over the District.
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