Mailbag: Should I Worry About Slow Development?
Seriously, H Street is blossoming
A reader writes in with the following concern:
Hi, I am moving to the H Street NE neighborhood in a few months, and am pretty excited about all of the development I read on your blog and others. Except I see a lot of articles about plans that were finalized nearly two years ago (like H Street Connection and the Maia) that haven't started development yet. So, I am wondering if we have turned the corner and development is expected in the coming months, or whether you think it will take a lot longer for H Street to reach its potential.
My response after the jump.
I think your question is maybe even more complicated than what you may have intended. I don't know exactly it means for H Street to reach its potential. There area is changing and evolving all the time. Do I worry about the fact that some large projects have not yet broken ground? No. We have major residential and commercial development coming on line right now, as well as in the coming months. The Flats at Atlas District are an excellent example. You have some very high-end residential units on the eastern end of the corridor, which are renting, even pre-streetcar. 360˚ H Street is on the far western end and it'll bring residential units, with a major grocery store as an anchor. The plans for the Maia changed recently, and the new version has almost twice as many units as called for in the original plan.
I think the H Street Corridor is heading in the right direction overall. I would point to the fact that we are now seeing more development on the western end, and in the blocks between the 400 block and the 1200 block. For quite a while we had a bit of a dead zone problem, but that's changing quickly. We're also seeing more serious restaurants popping up along the Corridor. To name just a few, we have: the Atlas Room, Boundary Road, Smith Commons, Ethiopic, and Toki Underground. All of these places serve great food, and draw in patrons from far outside the neighborhood.
I know that a lot of people are concerned that the newer development on H Street focuses too heavily on the entertainment aspect, and isn't bringing in enough new retail. Retail is coming. We've finally got a nice bike shop in the Daily Rider. Hunted House (510 H Street) recently opened, and they offer some very nice mid-century modern furniture. C.A.T. Walk Boutique is moving from the 1400 block to the 500 block (a much better location for retail, I think). Metro Mutts has done well enough to open a second location.
I think we're headed in the right direction. I'll be interested to read the thoughts of others on the topic.