Working Group Created to Support Barracks Row Businesses

News from ANC 6B Meeting, Feb. 12, 2019

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The bus stop in the 400 block of 8th St. SE is a focus of concern for businesses on Barracks Row and the working group formed by ANC 6B.

ANC 6B voted unanimously to support a motion put forward by Chair Chander Jayaraman (6B08) to create a Working Group on Barracks Row (WGBR). The working group will report monthly to the ANC and will be co-chaired by Brian Ready (6B03). Much of Barrack’s Row lies in Ready’s Single Member District (SMD), but Jayaraman said that Ready is also particularly well suited to the position as he has a background in promotion and events planning. Ready’s co-chair will be a representative from the business community, and WGBR will be driven by the business community on Barracks Row.

The ANC charged WGBR with four directives:

  1. Develop strategies to market Barracks Row across the city as a go-to destination;
  2. Think creatively and generate ideas for events and promotions to attract customers to Barracks Row;
  3. Organize and facilitate a meeting with property owners about ways to ensure the long-term sustainability of Barracks Row through fair lease agreements;
  4.  Generate ideas for attracting more businesses to Barracks Row to fill empty storefronts.

The Hill Restaurant Group is the largest restaurant group on Barracks Row with five restaurants on Eighth Street SE, including Ophelia’s Fish House, Lola’s, Finn McCools, Orchid and Tio Javier. Managing Partner Tom Johnson, who was at the meeting in support of the working group, said that he had independently been trying to get a group of business owners together to market Eighth Street. He said that there was both reason for hope and for concern among restaurants on the Row: while District Soul Food had recently opened to great success, it followed the closure of Garrison.

The impetus to form the working group comes from the recognition that Barracks Row is competing with the rising commercial districts at The Wharf, H Street, and the Waterfront at Yards Park. Feedback from businesses suggest that Barracks Row Main Street (BRMS) is not actively promoting Barracks Row, Jayaraman said. He added that he had met with many Barracks Row business owners who had indicated the will and desire to form such a group.

Support for Historic Landmark Nomination for Southeast Library
Beth Purcell and Nancy Metzger of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) appeared to ask the ANC to endorse their nomination of the Southeast Library to the federal National Historic Landmarks (NHL) Program.

Purcell  traced the history of the building, beginning with the endowment of the library by the Carnegie Foundation, arguing that the library is as important to the city and neighborhood as Eastern Market.

Metzger said such a designation would have no effect on planned renovations to the building, as it is already protected by the District Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). She said that the DC Public Library request for proposals (RFP) process would not be changed or delayed. Rather, Metzger said, the addition of the library to the NHL list would be recognition of the significance of the building. The nominations process would generate knowledge about the building’s history, uses and significance that could become a shared reference point for the community.

Purcell said that the Department of General Services (DGS), DCPL and Friends of the Southeast Library have said they had no objection to the nomination although CHRS was waiting for written statements to that effect from those parties.

A motion to support the nomination passed by a vote of 7-0 with 3 abstaining.

RFP for Saturday Flea Market on Lower Seventh Street
Jayaraman, who serves as ANC 6B Representative to the Eastern Market Advisory Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC), noted that DC DGS has issued an RFP for a new operator for the Saturday flea market on the 300 block of Seventh St. SE after first giving EMCAC a chance to review terms. Jayaraman said that two parties had attended a walk-through conducted by DGS on Feb. 9. He said the previous license holder, Carol Wright of Washington Arts, Antiques, Crafts & Collectible Associates (WAACA), opposed the issuance of the RFP. Jayaraman said that Wright was under the impression WAACA’s contract terms were still being negotiated with DGS when the RFP was announced.

It was Jayaraman’s last report as the ANC representative to EMCAC. Gerald Sroufe (6B02) and Steve Holtzman (6B05) ran for election as ANC 6B representative to EMCAC. Sroufe, in whose SMD Eastern Market is located, won with 7 of the 10 votes from the commission.

Letters in Support
The commission voted to send letters:

  • in support of the 40th Annual Capitol Hill Classic 3K, 10K and fun run to raise funds for the Capitol Hill cluster schools. Last year the race raised $100,000 shared between Peabody, Watkins Elementary and Stuart-Hobson Middle School. The route remains unchanged;
  • to authorize testimony from Cory Holman (6B06) for ANC 6B during the Feb. 28th Council oversight hearings for the DC Office of Zoning in regard to HPRB’s treatment of non-contributing buildings in the Capitol Hill Historic District as well as the length of delays between a Board of Zoning Adjustment vote and full orders on cases involving parties in opposition;
  • to remind restaurants obligated to apply for the renewal of liquor licenses by the end of March 2019 to review their settlement agreements and ensure their compliance with same in advance of application.

The Commission also voted to re-establish the following committees and chairs:

  • Planning and Zoning Committee, Chair Cory Holman
  • Alcohol and Beverage Control Committee, Chair Chander Jayaraman
  • Hill East Task Force, Chair Denise Krepp
  • increase monthly hours for paid administrative support from 40 to 60 hours per month
  • as well as to elect 15 new resident members to committees.

Present: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02, Secretary), Brian Ready (6B03, Parliamentarian), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Holtzman (6B05), Corey Holman (6B06, Treasurer), Kelly Waud (6B07), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, Chair), Kasie Clark (6B09, Vice Chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10).

 

The next meeting of ANC 6B will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). Visit anc6b.org for more info, email 6b@anc.dc.gov or find @ANC6B on Twitter.