Washington Harbour Sold for $371 Million?

June 20, 2013

Georgetown’s waterfront landmark, Washington Harbour has been sold, according to bisnow.com, which reported June 18: “A partnership between Principal Real Estate Investors and a Korean pension fund group is the winning bidder for MRP Realty/Rockpoint Group’s Washington Harbour, market sources tell us. … The sale price, which sources say comes in at $371M ($700/SF), represents a hefty profit for the sellers, which three years ago paid $245M for the mixed-use asset on the Georgetown waterfront. …”

The Georgetowner contacted MRP Realty about the report of the sale and received a succinct “no comment.”

Malmaison Officially Opens


Malmaison, conceived as a lunch and dinner restaurant as well as a dessert specialty eatery and bar, was officially opened June 17 by father-son team Zubair Popal and Omar Popal. The Popal family, headed by Zubair Popal, also runs Cafe Bonaparte on Wisconsin Avenue and Napoleon Bistro and Lounge on Columbia Road. The building at 3401 K Street, NW — or 34th and Water Streets — also houses Gypsy Sally’s Acoustic Tavern on the second floor. Chef Gerard Pangaud has set up the menu for Malmaison and will cook there occasionally, but the main chef for Malmaison is Yomi Faniyi, Zubair Popal said.
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Tuscany Cafe Has Closed


A favorite college student eatery is gone. Tuscany Cafe, the pizza and sandwich joint, next to Booeymonger’s on Prospect Street, has closed, according to the Georgetown University student newspaper, the Hoya. The newspaper also reported: “Public records show that Tuscany’s license was set to expire May 31. According to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Aokas Brothers Inc.’s license was not renewed. The DCRA could not provide information as to whether or not Tuscany applied to renew its license.”

Arcuri Opens in Glover Park


Trattoria Arcuri is now open for dinner. At 2400 Wisconsin Ave., NW, it takes over the space left by the popular Kavanagh’s Pizza Pub. Its grand opening will be June 22, one of its owners, Adam Hitebeitel told the Glover Park Hyperlocal blog.

JP’s to Uncover in June

May 23, 2013

JP’s Night Club, the longtime strip club up at 2412 Wisconsin Ave., NW, is set to reopen in June to new clients and a new design after a January 2008 fire destroyed most of the building. The new interior will look like “more of a high-end lounge than a gentleman’s club,” JP’s managing partner Mathew told the Glover Park Gazette. “It’s well-lit. It’s not anything seedy.”

When the owner of JP’s, the ironically named BJ Enterprises, re-opens the place with its unique liquor license — no kitchen required — protests will then be entertained by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board about any problems. Already, some are concerned about planed private booths in the back — which if any closeness or groping is involved — could get the joint shut down in a heart beat.

Red Fire Grill Kabob Extinquished


The Red Fire Grill Kabob at 3299 M St., NW, the corner of 33rd and M, next to Rhino and across Georgetown Cupcake, has closed after less than two years. The kabob chain restaurant replaced the famed and favorite Aditi Indian Restaurant in fall 2011.

Jonah’s Treehouse Abruptly Closes


Jonah’s Treehouse, the baby, toddler and preschooler gym, at 2121 Wisconsin Ave., NW, has closed. Owner Vicki Gersten sent a letter in April to clients informing them that classes would end by the beginning of May, according to the Hyperlocal Glover Park blog.

Georgetown 2028: ‘Come Out and Plan’


The Georgetown Business Improvement District is thinking big picture and long range.

How is what it is saying about its Georgetown 2028 Program: “Wondering about how to improve transportation in Georgetown? Like to see different kinds of restaurants or shops? Have some ideas for Georgetown? The Georgetown BID would like to invite you to participate in Georgetown 2028 to help us develop a strategic vision for ensuring Georgetown remains a world-class commercial district. We will be working on transportation, physical space, economic and environmental issues and work toward an action plan which includes short-, medium- and long-term steps. Georgetown 2028 is already in motion, and we will finish before Thanksgiving.”

Jewelry Maker Grows Business at Eastern Market

May 14, 2013

Twenty years ago, Leah Strugis decided to take up a hobby outside of teaching in Juneau, Alaska, a community founded on gold mining with a population of 17 people. She enrolled in the local community college in a jewelry-making course, and 20 years later, she produces around 1,000 pieces of jewelry a month, some of which are sold at the Eastern Market outdoor fair each weekend.

Sturgis makes everything by hand, meaning that she does not use any hand or electronic tools to aid in what she calls, “abstract, organic and temporary” jewelry in her Alexandria, Va., home that she shares with her musician husband, Frank Solivan.

Sturgis attributes her success to customers at Eastern Market, where she makes half her sales, she says. Another portion comes from wholesale shows, where small boutiques and art galleries and artists meet to purchase items for regional shops. She goes to around 12 art shows every year, and because of this, her pieces are in shops from D.C. to Alaska.

She made the leap out of teaching into jewelry when her husband began working with the U.S. Navy Band and they moved from Alaska to D.C. ten years ago. She said the first few years she did not make much profit from her art, but she was circulating between local outdoor markets and building clientele. Seven years ago, she was invited to a whole sale show and that’s when she started increasing her volume.

“I went from having two or three stories that carried my work to within a few years, 120 stores,” which she describes as an on-the-floor catalog.

She started as a buyer for Imagine Artwear, an Alexandria handicraft boutique, but going in as a seller “opened my eyes to what was going on in the industry… this is how you get yourself out there and this how you get your jewelry into the hands of people.”
She travels around the country to these wholesale shows, which she would like to rely on, “but it’s so much work to do that. I have that at my fingertips with Eastern Market — it’s fun to be at Eastern Market.”

Steps Sturgis took to grow her business included making business cards and taking a class on “From Amateur to Professional” in Old Town Alexandria. She wants to keep her business small and to continue being the sole creator of her products, but she sees adding employees to handle her website, shipping pieces and financials.

“Still, as much as I want my business to grow, I want to primarily be the full maker. That’s something that I have a lot of integrity in, they know my hands were on it,” she said.

A few years ago, when her husband decided to quit the Navy Band and form a full-time bluegrass band, Frank Solivan and the Dirty Kitchen. She recently created a new line comprising of mandolin and guitar strings, “A perfect marriage of our two worlds,” she said.

To see Sturgis’ work, visit Leahsturgis.com, or visit Eastern Market. [gallery ids="101297,149993" nav="thumbs"]

Third Edition to Become El Centro

April 25, 2013

Well, you have heard about the change and now it sounds official: replacing the longtime Third Edition, the Mexican restaurant El Centro will open its second D.C. location at 1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW, the former home of Third Edition, according to DC Eater. El Centro plans to open in June.