By now, hopefully you have shaken off your post-New Year's hangover, you've cleaned out the remnants of the holiday feast from your fridge (and no, I don't mean Thanksgiving) and you haven't yet broken any of you new year's resolutions.
As we move into the new year, I thought we'd take a brief look at what's to come in our neighborhood during 2011. Call them predictions, prognostications or wishful thinking, here's what's on my list for 2011:
- District Condos will finally break ground. I know, it seems like JBG is simply teasing us recently with talks of an "imminent" groundbreaking for their new mixed-use development at 14th and S streets. But, sooner or later, the demolition of the site's current buildings will commence, and earth really will start getting pushed around, and we'll finally start to see real progress after years of discussions. And once that happens, the real fun can commence; by which I mean, the hemming and hawing over who the project retailers will be. Who wants an IHOP?
- 14th Street north of U Street will go gangbusters. With both Perseus Realty's 14W development and the long-awaited Nehemiah Shopping Center development breaking ground, and Jemal's project across the street, it's shaping up to be a busy couple of years north of U Street for new development.
- O Street Market will/will not break ground. This long-anticipated project remains frustratingly in a state of suspended animation. In spite of a pronouncement in September 2010 that the project was set to commence, there's been little activity at the site in the four months since. We keep looking out for signs of earth-moving equipment and an official announcement from the Giant at 9th and P that it is closing, but nothing yet. At least nearby Progression Place finally broke ground: it, along with the O Street Market, Howard Theater restoration and Marriott Convention Center hotel threaten to dramatically remake the Shaw neighborhood in the coming years.
- The Hiltons will continue adding to their DC restaurant/nightlife empire. Marvin, The Gibson, ESL, U Street Music Hall, Patty Boom Boom, American Ice Co....brothers Ian and Eric Hilton have, seemingly overnight, turned into the kings of the DC lounge and nightlife scene. Expect that to continue into 2011 with the soon-to-open Blackbyrd Warehouse near 14th and U, along with a new restaurant/lounge on Georgia Avenue in Petworth at the former Billy Simpson's House of Seafood and Steaks. The Hilton's aren't the only ones with expanding ambitions along 14th and U Street, however. Expect to see a new steakhouse and lounge from the Local 16 crew at the currently vacant building at 14th and U streets, and--perhaps--the opening of Local 14 along 14th Street between T and U.
A little farther south along 14th Street, look for the opening of burger-and-fries eatery Standard at the former Garden District location at 14th and S, a new taqueria from the Masa 14 team next to the Black Cat on 14th between S and T, and maybe the new location of hamburger purveyors Rogue States near 14th and U (assuming there are no lawyers in the building).
- Transit: A temporary reprieve from the streetscapes. Don't expect too many headaches transit-wise throughout the mid-city area. Although DDOT is nearing completion of its design for the 14th Street Streetscape project, actual construction remains years away. And with the recently completed 17th Street Streetscape project, and the soon-to-be-completed 18th Street project (the Dupont portion, at least), the jackhammers and paving machines should be relatively quiet throughout our neighborhood.
However, beginning soon (January or February) look out for major headaches in Adams-Morgan, as a reconstruction project for 18th Street between Florida Avenue and Columbia Road commences. In addition, look for an announcement at some point in the first quarter of 2011 regarding the completion of the U Street Streetscape design.
- Housing prices will continue to rise. Oh yes they will. And in other shocking news, Ward Three residents remain unconvinced of Vince Gray's mayoral capacities.
- Hank's Oyster Bar will finally expand into their adjacent space. Prepare your fallout shelters now, because I have it on good authority that this development will most certainly lead to a cessation of all human life within a four block radius of Hank's. Oh the humanity.
- The 14th Street arts corridor will look a little less artsy. Never mind the recent branding campaign to raise awareness of the so-called "Arts District,"the single greatest issue facing arts organizations and related businesses--spiraling commercial lease rates--remains unresolved by the city. And with the District facing a mounting budget deficit and a continuing soft economy, don't look for the road to get any smoother for neighborhood arts institutions. Longtime jazz club HR-57 has already packed up its Steinway and headed east to H Street, where the commercial tax rate is lower. Who's next?
- 14th Street will get a decent sandwich shop. Actually, that already happened.