I started asking a lot of questions. Can neighborhood investors gather together to invest (with dollars and/or sense) in helping to improve N. Capital Street? My questions led me to wander around our blocks and introduce myself to some of the business owners, particularly in the block of N. Capital between Quincy and R St:
The liquor store on R and N. Capital NE has a constant stream of business. The owner of the liquor store lives above it with his wife. He also owns the building next door which had been for sale a few years ago. He has taken that property off the market because he has decided to develop it into condos...maybe a restaurant. He was very uncertain...and it sort of made me think there may not really be a plan. Perhaps he would be interested in selling?
- The laundry next-door was vacant and no one was able to give me an answer on its status...it would certainly make a great pizza place. Too bad we can’t talk the owners of Moroni Brothers (on Georgia in Petworth) into opening a second spot....or could we?
- The Flea Market is owned by a couple and has been for four years. They have a fabulous spot.
- and then there is the Firehouse. Sigh. What is happening to this lovely building?
- SAVEMORE has been evicted....would make a fabulous deli/butcher shop.
In addition to wandering the blocks, I also met an investor who has restored/developed several homes and apartment buildings in the area: 20 R Street, NW; 314 V Street, NE to name two. We walked around the neighborhood together and I told him my ideas with the hope that he would say ‘wow...those are fabulous ideas, and I will underwrite them all’.
He did not say that. BUT, he is very interested in the neighborhood. He has a building which he is interested in, and wondered if the neighbors really would like to invest. My sense is that he has the capital to invest on his own...but I think if we, as neighbors, could have a hand in the investment, it might help in the creation of something really unique. What do you think? Are you interested? How are you interested?
What next? Do you know of anyone who might like to walk around the neighborhood with an idea to investing? Do you know anyone at FedEx or XM Radio who could introduce us to the community relations group?
Think about it. I will also keep thinking about it.