The Anthem Runs into Community Opposition

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At its July 10th monthly meeting, ANC 6D unanimously voted to protest the application by owners of the Anthem concert hall for an Alcohol Beverage Control license citing late night transportation concerns.

The $60 million Anthem, located at 901 Wharf St. SW, is the latest venture by I.M.P. Productions, owners of the famed 9:30 Club. It is the entertainment anchor for The Wharf. The facility can seat up to 6,000 concert goers.

I.M.P. asked for permission to serve liquor up to 3 a.m. The Alcohol Control Board (ABC Board) will consider the application at their September 8th meeting. ANC 6D does not reconvene until Sept. 11.

The commission’s ABC Subcommittee had voted in support of the license and a community agreement it had negotiated with I.M.P. Audience concerns over late night transportation, however, triggered vigorous discussion among commissioners.

“How are 6,000 people going to get home from the Anthem at 3 a.m. with no Metro?” asked a resident of Seventh Street SW. “There is no Metro service at that hour. They can’t all take Uber,” he observed.

“We need to have a better understanding of how people are going to get home. Metro is no longer supporting this community,” stated Chair Andy Litsky.

The Southwest is poorly served by public transportation late at night, the chair and other commissioners pointed out.

The 9:30 Club is the “best operator in the city,” stated I.M.P.’s attorney Andrew J. Kline. Kline pledged that I.M.P. would work with the commission to allay their concerns.

Diane Grooms, chief of security for The Wharf, stated that the Anthem planned to hire traffic control and police officers to guide concert goers back to public parking at L’Enfant Plaza.

Eleanor Bacon of Hoffman-Madison-Marquette, The Wharf’s developers, promised to get back to the commission with more answers.

Chair Litsky informed audience members that the commission has been meeting every two weeks with city officials and the Southwest Business Improvement District about transportation issues south of I-695 in preparation for the opening of both The Wharf and DC United’s Audi Stadium.

Commissioner Cara Shockley (6D02) offered a motion to protest the license. Her motion also authorized Chair Litsky to lead a team to negotiate a community agreement with I.M.P that would address late night transportation issues. Any agreement would negate the commission’s protest at the ABC Board’s September meeting.

The commission voted unanimously in favor of Shockley’s resolution. Kline stated that I.M.P. would come to an agreement before Sept. 8.