BLOGROLL PICKS: 14th Street Then and Now

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

DC’s 14th Street NW is a lively area that connects the U Street and Logan Circle neighborhoods. The New York Times just published a piece on the revitalization of the street, pointing to the new developments cropping up at every block of the strip, including the ginormous JBG Louis project at 14th and U. Although it used to be a hub for “prostitutes and drug dealers,” a few key factors helped change the character of the neighborhood, including the Whole Foods that opened in 2000.

As with any neighborhood undergoing radical redevelopment, there is concern that the smaller businesses will be replaced by major chain stores. This has already begun on 14th Street, and everyone likes to cite the opening of the Room & Board at T & 14th as the major milestone. Here a rep from JBG is quoted:

Mr. Reynolds pointed to a Room & Board furniture store a block away, which opened in 2010 and is flourishing, as an example of the boulevard’s potential. “When you see a national retailer investing $15 million in that area, it shows it has that vibrancy,” he said.

Residents are excited about the development, but nervous about it changing the character of the neighborhood:

“I’ve said before that when the last pawnshop and the last storefront deli leaves 14th Street, I will leave,” he said. “It’s that mixture of the gritty and the upscale that gives the neighborhood a unique character. If one day it’s all gone, I think we will feel a sense of loss.”

Tell us what you think: Is 14th Street on its way to urban glory or upscale doom?


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Filed under Blogroll Picks, Neighborhoods

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