DCentric » Real Estate http://dcentric.wamu.org Race, Class, The District. Wed, 16 May 2012 20:20:35 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © WAMU Luring Wegmans with Walter Reed http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/05/luring-wegmans-with-walter-reed/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/05/luring-wegmans-with-walter-reed/#comments Mon, 23 May 2011 16:34:53 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=7303 Continue reading ]]>

Flickr: christine592

Wegmans may finally be coming to D.C. according to the Examiner. The family-owned mid-Atlantic chain was named the best grocery store in the nation for “overall satisfaction” according to the most recent rankings by Consumer Reports in 2009.

D.C. officials are hoping that the massive Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s planned redevelopment in Northwest will finally give them the bait they need to lure the District’s first Wegmans grocery store.

The highly sought-after grocer has two scheduled meetings this week with Mayor Vincent Gray and council members at a retail development conference in Las Vegas that historically has been the breeding ground for major real estate deals in the District.

That conference, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), is where almost half of all retail leases are signed every year. As for Walmart, the other chain with its eye on D.C.– Consumer Reports placed it near the bottom of those 2009 rankings.

Charles Fields, a spokesperson for Consumer Reports said that while Walmart is a price leader, it earns low scores on service, the quality of its meat and vegetables and store cleanliness.

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“It’s not like only black neighborhoods get gentrified” http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/03/its-not-like-only-black-neighborhoods-get-gentrified/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/03/its-not-like-only-black-neighborhoods-get-gentrified/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2011 17:15:18 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=4747 Continue reading ]]>


"I heart gentrification"-sticker on Columbia Road NW.

Lurking in the comments section to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent post about “The City as a Problem” is a discussion about gentrification in Columbia Heights. Here’s Ta-Nahesi’s response to one of his reader’s comments about the Green line, urban renewal and city planning:

It’s one thing to say “No black people can live here.” It’s quite another to say “People who are poor, a disproportionate number of whom are black, can’t live here.”

Moreover, I strongly suspect that social engineering and market forces aren’t actually producing the same results. I reported on local DC for several years, and I get back there pretty regularly. It’s certainly true that, say, Columbia Heights is a lot whiter than it used to be. But there are certainly black people there. (One of my best friends lives there as a matter of fact.)

I don’t think you can really expect black people to be shielded from America, itself. It’s not like only black neighborhoods get gentrified. As a Baltimore native, I can assure you that white people get pushed out to. But that’s very different than the state mandating that all white people be pushed out. The intent isn’t the same. Neither is the effect.

The whole thread discussion is worth a read.

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Righteous Real Estate http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/righteous-real-estate/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/02/righteous-real-estate/#comments Thu, 10 Feb 2011 19:44:22 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=4119 Continue reading ]]>

Flickr: ONE DC

Lydia DePillis of the City Paper writes about a new source for affordable housing in the District– churches. DePillis visited one house of worship, the Temple of Praise, an interdenominational megachurch that Mayor-for-life Marion Barry attends; the Temple has big plans for Ward 8. The church is so popular, it has outgrown the huge building it built just eight years ago; now it wants to construct something larger and transform the current Temple into a charter school. Beyond that, the ambitious church wants to develop affordable housing on its property.

And Bishop Glen Staples isn’t stopping there. He’s working on building a medical clinic, and wants to construct senior housing and a new community center, as well as a credit union, local retail, and restaurants—which neither the market nor the government have brought to that part of Ward 8 (even the local McDonald’s is vacant).

“There’s nothing here,” says Staples, taking a break in his dark wood and leather-trimmed inner sanctum, while the noon service thunders outside. “I don’t know if politicians are able to do anything, if they want to do anything, I don’t know, but I do know nothing’s been done. So it’s incumbent on us to try to do something.”

“Re-knitting an urban fabric” might be just what this city needs:

The particularly important thing here: These are the kinds of building projects many neighborhoods either grumble about or reject altogether. A church’s willingness to put them in its own neighborhood demonstrates a confidence in its ability to be a positive and stabilizing influence, re-knitting an urban fabric shredded by drugs and crime, in places where private capital would never voluntarily go.

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Now Reading: Sociology in My Neighborhood http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/01/now-reading-sociology-in-my-neighborhood/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/01/now-reading-sociology-in-my-neighborhood/#comments Tue, 25 Jan 2011 19:49:26 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=3663 Continue reading ]]>

Flickr: M.V. Jantzen

Construction in NoMA, which is being transformed by gentrification.

Excuse me, while I nerd out to an exciting new blog– Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward Six. Penned (typed?) by a Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, the site explores the same issues DCentric does, albeit on a hyperlocal level. Here’s part of a post about whether segregation is caused by racism:

Generally, sociologists study whether people are segregated because of personal choice, economic reasons, or racial discrimination. Economic factors are definitely a big reason, especially when we look at housing costs, but racial discrimination still exists. Let’s take a look at sociologists Michael O. Emerson, Karen J. Chai, and George Yancey’s “Does Race Matter in Residential Segregation? Exploring the Preferences of White Americans.”…

Controlling for all sorts of variables, Emerson and his colleagues found that whites are neutral about the likelihood of buying the house if the neighborhood is 10-15% black. Above 15% black, whites say that they would not likely buy the house. They write, “Our findings suggest a low probability of whites moving to neighborhoods with anything but a token black population, even after controlling for the reasons they typically give for avoiding residing with African Americans.” The reasons that whites typically give are crime and declining property values. So, even when the neighborhood offered has little crime and good property values, whites still choose not to live in those with 15% or more black residents.

According to another sociologist Camille Charles, “Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians all appear to want both meaningful integration and a substantial coethnic presence,” while whites exhibit the strongest preference for same-race neighbors. This explains white flight. As whites with a lower preference for black neighbors move out of a neighborhood, more blacks might move in, thus triggering other whites to move. Whites do not have the same preferences in regards to Asians and Hispanics, though all these groups are segregated too. So, whites avoid areas with nontoken percentages of Asians or Hispanics not due to race, but due to other reasons.

This does not bode well for our future:

Even more disturbingly, whites with children under 18 live in areas with 20% fewer blacks than do the whites without children under 18. Black and white children will find themselves even more segregated from each other than black and white adults are.

Why do whites want to live in white neighborhoods, even when all the reasons they usually give for avoiding blacks are removed (crime and declining property values)? As Camille Charles writes, residential segregation has devastating consequences for all blacks, irrespective of socioeconomic status, and later continues, “Whites use segregation to maintain social distance, and therefore, present-day residential segregation…is best understood as emanating from structural forces [economic forces] tied to racial prejudice and discrimination that preserve the relative status advantages of whites.” Sociologists call this opportunity hoarding.

By the way, if you know of other blogs or Twitter feeds with similar, relevant content, PLEASE feel free to let me know. Finding this blog today made me wonder about what else I’m missing!

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Welcome to D.C., our Rent is High http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/12/welcome-to-d-c-our-rent-is-high/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/12/welcome-to-d-c-our-rent-is-high/#comments Tue, 21 Dec 2010 16:42:38 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=2864 Continue reading ]]>

Flickr: NCinDC

Isn't hunting for an apartment the *worst*? And now, it's even more difficult!

Bad news for renters in D.C. via the Washington Post– our median rent is the third-highest in the country…right after San Jose and San Francisco. Oy.

Those from more distressed areas who have come here chasing jobs find waiting lists, more stringent credit checks and rents triple what they left behind.

In local apartment buildings, rents jumped 8.2 percent — about twice the long-term average — to $1,643 this year as vacancies disappeared…The area’s vacancy rates are the second-lowest in the nation, after New York City.

“There’s been a structural shift from owners to renters in this country in the past few years,” said Gregory H. Leisch, chief executive of Delta Associates. “It’s the most rapid shift I’ve ever witnessed in the 40 years that I’ve been in this business.”

While the high foreclosure rate helped push more people into rentals nationwide, that factor was less influential in the Washington region, many economists said. Instead, the local rental market is thriving mostly because the area added jobs more quickly than the rest of the nation during the recession, luring newcomers who were unable or unwilling to purchase a home here.

I know some might say we’re already “there”, but I hope D.C. doesn’t become an enclave for just the wealthiest and the luckiest (here’s looking at you, Manhattan).

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“It is an entitlement thing.” http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/it-is-an-entitlement-thing/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/it-is-an-entitlement-thing/#comments Fri, 22 Oct 2010 19:10:50 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=1587 Continue reading ]]> Another response to Megan McArdle’s “Gentrifiers Lament” for The Atlantic, this time from local blog In Bloom. One of McArdle’s neighbors in Bloomingdale penned this:

Gentrification is also hurting middle-income African-Americans and minorities. By “middle-income,” I don’t mean middle-class, because I am far from that monetary threshold. By “middle-income,” I’m talking about myself, friends, and others who are like me: young, educated professionals who make above the poverty level, but not quite enough to afford to buy or to rent in a neighborhood that is ideal to what we are looking for. Whether it’s due to the market, neighborhood, or gentrification, landlords and owners are pricing the rent at such an unaffordable rate that the $30,000-$45,000 income we earn annually looks even more dismal…

my plea to you, gentrifiers *, is to make sure to make this a mixed-income, or rather a melting-pot neighborhood with various incomes and socioeconomic statuses. Yes, the median neighborhood income is probably now well above my $39,000 annual income, but I’m a responsible citizen who works, goes to school, and adds value to our neighborhood and community at large. Please understand that this isn’t so much of a race thing as it is an entitlement thing.

As for the asterisk…

* When I refer to gentrifiers, although in context it refers to white people, I’m referring to all of the people in the higher-income brackets who have been moving into historically-poor black neighborhoods pushing the home values and rents so high that people who have historically lived there can no longer afford to do so, and people who want to live there cannot afford to do so.


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“L Street SE” is one of the “Most Dangerous Neighborhoods” in U.S. http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/l-street-se-is-one-of-the-most-dangerous-neighborhoods-in-u-s/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/10/l-street-se-is-one-of-the-most-dangerous-neighborhoods-in-u-s/#comments Mon, 04 Oct 2010 17:16:33 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=1193 Continue reading ]]>

L St SE: one of America's "Most Dangerous" nabes.

It’s number nine on a list of the “25 most dangerous neighborhoods 2010“!

For the second year in a row, using exclusive data developed by Dr. Andrew Schiller’s team at NeighborhoodScout.com, and based on FBI data from all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies, WalletPop reveals the top 25 most dangerous neighborhoods with the highest predicted rates of violent crime in America…

You may ask, why neighborhoods and not cities? Schiller explains that even the cities with the highest crime rates can have relatively safe neighborhoods, and thus it is less useful to generalize about an entire city.

I was just down there last week, at 9pm, and I thought it was…shockingly calm. At worst, it seemed a bit eerie, because no one was out. Columbia Heights can feel sketchier, when it’s dark. But it is less useful to generalize, right?

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Are you scared of Bed Bugs, too? http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/09/are-you-scared-of-bed-bugs-too/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/09/are-you-scared-of-bed-bugs-too/#comments Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:55:39 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=461 Continue reading ]]>


A pesticide-covered bed bug!

Bed Bugs are all over the news, and if you live in DC, chances are you’re snickering about how unlike New Yorkers, we can still go to the movies even as you nervously make a mental note to check your own mattress, later on. Just last week, WTOP reported that  we were the ninth-most-infested city in the nation.

I believe it. Two weeks ago, I saw a memorable message on Twitter retweeted a few times; it warned people near Columbia Heights to not be tempted by a nice mattress which had been left out on the curb. “It has BEDBUGS!”, the tweet blared.

The scary thing about the little pests is how difficult they are to be rid of. A recent post on the excellent Prince of Petworth blog detailed the frustrating experience of new row house owners who discovered bed bugs three months after they moved in. They suffered through several treatments of “heavy chemicals” and still found no relief. A bug-sniffing dog (!) later discovered that their “low-income” neighbor, with whom they share a wall, had a massive infestation of the critters. The new owners wondered if the DC government had programs which could help their neighbor, since treatment would cost a few thousand dollars. Commenters suggested that the new owners may want to consider paying for their neighbor’s treatment themselves, to prevent further hassle.

If you’re wondering if this house is in your neighborhood, feel free to check the Bed Bug Registry. It’s great for looking up hotels, too, which is significant because that’s how some people “catch” them in the first place. I know, the holiday weekend fast approaches and you have travel plans. Don’t panic (via WTOP):

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg, who spends 200 nights a year in hotel rooms, says a little common sense goes a long way.

“When you go into your room don’t put your suitcase on your bed,” Greenberg says. “The reason for that is, that’s where bedbugs like to travel — in suitcases.”

He suggests setting your suitcase on a luggage rack instead…

“Most of the time your hotel room, believe it or not, especially at the major chains, is cleaner than your own apartment.”

One of the best, common-sense-based (and wallet-friendly) articles I’ve seen about dealing with bed bugs landed in my inbox this morning from LearnVest. Most posts or articles about the pests leave me feeling worried and hopeless, but their advice on how to prevent them in the first place, and how to address them immediately if I *do* encounter them left me feeling like I could go to the movies again. Yes, even in New York.

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On Re-branding Midcity http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/09/on-re-branding-midcity/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/09/on-re-branding-midcity/#comments Wed, 01 Sep 2010 15:00:55 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=425 Continue reading ]]> At a well-attended meeting last night at Busboys and Poets, local business leaders and citizens gathered to discuss branding the area around 14th and U as “Midcity”, to create a more cohesive, arts-centric identity for neighborhoods bordered by 7th and 15th Streets and Florida and Rhode Island Avenues, NW. During a question and answer period, concerns were raised about the lack of inclusion of the area of Columbia Heights above Florida Avenue (too poor?), and the focus on theaters and galleries vs. restaurant and retail establishments. The City Paper was there, and they captured some of the skepticism:

“I have nothing in common with a business down at the Convention Center,” Fales said, noting that she wouldn’t necessarily even recommend someone walk that way at night. “I don’t want to be part of an arts district, because I’m already part of something–the Midcity Business Association.” Applause came from the back of the room.

For those wondering if Midcity is as contrived as “NoMa”, see this post by DCist about the term’s history; it contains a picture of a map from 1937 utilizing the designation.

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DC Home Prices Rise http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/08/dc-home-prices-rise/ http://dcentric.wamu.org/2010/08/dc-home-prices-rise/#comments Wed, 25 Aug 2010 21:22:27 +0000 Anna http://dcentric.wamu.org/?p=222 Continue reading ]]> People bought fewer houses nationwide in the month of July than they did in June, but when they DID buy a home, they paid more than they would have in 2009. The Washington Business Journal reports:

Existing-home sales plunged nationwide in July, but prices were higher than a year ago with price gains in Washington among the biggest in the nation…

In Washington, the year-over-year price gain was 4 percent, to an average sales price of $351,100. Washington’s gain in prices was the fourth strongest among the nation’s 20 largest markets, topped only by Boston, New York and San Diego.

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