Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

I don't really feel like linking to this NBC4 piece on "Major Southeast Renovations in Limbo" (working off of Sunday's Post piece), but it does give me an excuse to wander into the Post archives and pass along a couple morsels from a March, 1998 piece about the MCI (now Verizon) Center, three months after it opened. The article is entitled "Neighborhood Isn't Cheering About Arena's Impact":
* "Although thousands of people have journeyed to the once-forgotten downtown neighborhood to watch professional basketball, hockey and other events, the three-month-old arena has not yet become the seven-day-a-week destination that team owner Abe Pollin envisioned when he built it."
* "Some neighborhood businesses are counting on Discovery because, except on game days or during concerts, the building has failed to produce the return that city leaders imagined when they hailed MCI Center as an engine for revitalization. 'It's not the pot of gold we thought at the end of the rainbow,' said Danny Callahan, an owner of the Rock sports bar across Sixth Street NW from the arena."
* "Restaurant owners say the arena has boosted business, but not to the extent they had hoped. [...] The arena has actually hurt business on nonevent nights. The old regulars don't drop by anymore, because they never know when the area will be swamped with arena patrons, and parking prices have shot up."
At least Nationals Park got a year before the it's-not-doing-what-people-said-it-would-do slew of articles. And what a shame that the MCI Center, after that disappointing start, never amounted to anything....
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Disgusted in DC says: (4/13/09 11:08 AM)
You make an excellent point, but in fairness to the Post, a lot of the developers, including Monument, made all sorts of claims that they would have their new buildings completed and retail business ready to go by 2009. That turned out not to be the case. I know, of course, that it is not Monument's fault that the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy left them without a source of funding on Half Street and some other projects. But expectations were ginned up that weren't met.

That said, I'm reasonably confident that, so long as the Nats win games (which they aren't doing right now), the holes in the ground will be filled and businesses will trickle in over the next 5-10 years. If, however, the Nats appear to be permanently hopeless, then there's trouble.


JD says: (4/13/09 11:31 AM)
I think the only thing that needs to be kept in mind (and the Post article addressed this to an extent) is that this is happening *everywhere.* Expectations were ginned up for developments all across the United States (ask the folks in Las Vegas) but the economic collapse took all promises with them. I would argue that, in this current climate, expecting *any* development promises for 2009 to be met is being unrealistic. And so stories like these acting like what's happening here is so unusual strike me as not quite operating in the new reality of commercial real estate development. It's a story being written from the bubble vantage point, not the Dow-down-45-percent vantage point.

It's not like the rest of the DC Metro area is flourishing, and the ballpark area isn't doing anything--THAT would be a story. But to not recognize that Monument's woes are tied to a global economy teetering on the brink of outright collapse is not seeing the forest for the trees.

If the decision in early 2006 to begin construction on this ballpark had come even six months later than it did, I doubt it would have been built at all. It came right smack under the wire before everything began to fall apart.


Jay says: (4/13/09 12:24 PM)
Good points JD, it wasn't fair and balanced reporting.

But let's face it, I think we are going to see more and more unfair and unbalanced reporting from the Post on the Nationals. For example, they will say a lot about the attendance which will be down this year, but has anyone taken a look at attendance numbers from the ballparks yesterday?

Way down.




MJM says: (4/13/09 12:34 PM)
JD, how dare you bring up the past. :-p

Sorry to say but the media likes to focus on the negative and whats happening today and what happened yesterday and forget about what happened last week - let alone what happend 11 years ago (that isn't news anymore). Happens all the time and it is pretty evident given the latest rash of articles. I was 100% certain the same type of articles had been written about the MCI 11 years ago and you proved it right.

If the economy doesn't begin to nose dive in early 08, I might be pregaming at a bar instead of a friends place near the ball park. Wait, I thought no one lived down there in all those half empty buildings or rather half full buildings.

In one to two years, this will all be forgotten and everyone will be so happy about going to the bars near the Navy Yard before Nats game to drink themselves away before the Nats start off the next few year 0-6 too!!


FourthandEye says: (4/13/09 1:44 PM)
When the area around the ballpark is developed and the retail, dining and parks are in place I will regularly go to games regardless of how strong the team is. But if the team isn't doesn't win I won't be following on TV or reading boxscores regularly.


Ray N Rockville says: (4/14/09 9:06 AM)
In the 4 years the team has been here I've spent at least $5,000 a season. Yesterday I spent a little over $300 for the game. My spending In the City prior to this team coming to DC amounted to a lunch and some water/sodas on the 4th of July during the folk life festival each year. The idea was that more money like mine would be coming into the City with this team. Nobdy has twisted my arm to go to games and it has no deductibility on my taxes, its simply money out of my pocket. You DC residents should look a gift horse in the mouth and thank your lucky starts.


Edna Wellthorpe says: (4/14/09 10:17 AM)
Thank you to Ray in Rockville for spending money in the District! Let's not forget, either, that neither the Wizards nor the Caps were very good for long stretches of the past 11 years, and Chinatown has still become the neighborhood that it is. So even if the Nats stink I'm confident that the neighborhood will come.

And JD, I'm sorry the wanks over at the City Paper feel compelled to attack you. And if they think the stadium is in SW, that throws all their credibility down the drain. It's called editing, people! If nothing else, it proves that they don't really know the city and neighborhoods they claim to feel so adamant about.

But I am dissapointed in the Post for fomenting this whole thing. They should be more responsible. Run these types of articles by Steven Pearlstein to get his take on the current economic state of the nation.


Ghost Town says: (4/14/09 2:13 PM)
The one thing Cherkis absoulutely nailed -- JDLand suffers from boosterism, with scarcely a critical word uttered about any development in this district. You're wonky and thorough as a documentarian, but utterly devoid of useful critical analysis.

For the record, WP has plenty of fellow boosters like you.


G-Man says: (4/14/09 3:24 PM)
Ghosttown,

Last time I checked JDLand wasn't billed as an editorial page. Instead this site is about documenting the changes in the neighborhood. Imagine that, reporting facts - not editorializing. There's a place for both, but opinions today are so often conflated with facts that many have apparently become unable to discern the difference.


Ghost Town says: (4/14/09 5:07 PM)
There's plenty of editorializing. Just not much of it is any good


Edna Wellthorpe says: (4/15/09 9:47 AM)
I agree totally with G-Man. JDLand reports the facts and does not editorialize or give its own opinions. That has been made very clear over the years. Just because a lot of new development is *reported* does not mean JDLand is for it or against it. It just IS.


Michael says: (4/15/09 4:19 PM)
Actually, wasn't there a whole long discussion on a JD post about the aesthetics of the neighborhood a few weeks or so ago? There was no censoring of opinions going on there...

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