Friday, May 13, 2011

an open letter to the community from Engine Company 12`s Steve May Jr.

See this letter from Steve May Jr.

Engine Company 12™
1626 Fire Station LLC
1626 North Capitol Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

May 11, 2011

An Open Letter to the Community
Re: Scheduled Opening of Engine Company 12

To all local residents,

Due to the lack of open support from community leaders and local civic associations, it has become necessary to delay the opening of Engine Company 12 from July 1, 2011 to September 1, 2011. We have tried for the past several months to garner letters of support from local area civic associations and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission without success. Without these letters the process to obtain an alcohol license from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration is drastically slower. Operating a restaurant of this size without an active ABRA license would be financially unfeasible.

Representatives from Engine Company 12 have been attending and presenting at local area civic association meetings and hosting meet and greets off and on for the past four months. It is unfortunate that this philosophy of open communication with local residents and civic leaders has not garnered the support necessary to yield letters of support from local groups.

If we are unable to obtain letters of support from the local civic associations and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in the next 30-45 days the opening date will need to be delayed until after the start of the New Year. I apologize for this and we are still working diligently to get this project up and running as quickly as possible.


Steven M. May Jr.
General Manager
Engine Company 12


J.T. said...

I have no problem with them getting a liquor license, but it really doesn't look like THAT is the reason for the delay. The building looks far from ready. If they were really going to open by July 1, they'd be working through punch list items now. So, I personally feel this communication is disingenuous, but the end goal is so important that I don't care...let's work with them to get a liquor license.

Buoniconti Sisters said...

I walk by Engine 12 every day on my way to work. Ever since their announcement of opening July 4th weekend, I have wondered if they meant 2012 as I only occasionally see people working on the building.

Frankly, given the track record, I am not surprised at such an announcement, but rather disappointed that it would be worded so as to place responsibility not on the owners but rather on the lack of community interest.

I hope they do open in September, but I would like to know how that will happen when no one ever appears to be working on the building.

Patrick said...

Although I agree that the building seems to have a ways to go (and it's hard for a neighborhood to get excited about something moving so slowly), I'd like to hear from the B-Dale Civic Association and our ANC rep regarding whether or not they've sent letters of support. A letter doesn't seem like a heavy lift given the positive impact Engine 12 would have on the neighborhood.

Tom Moreno said...

I agree with Patrick - the respective parties who have not given support need to identify why they have not at this point - as representatives of the community they are our "voice" and we need to be informed what "we" are saying.

Also, the way work progresses is up to the builder/investor, not for outside lookers-on to manage the project. If all of the ducks are in a row (permits, community support, etc.) then - yes - at that point, it is on the developer to hit their targeted deadline. The exterior treatment is typically last on a list during construction in order to minimize cost should any additional structure modifications need to be made to work taking place inside.

BCC said...

I'm happy to write a letter. What email address shall I send it to?

Mike said...

Looking back at the ANC notes on the Edgewood site, it appears the only request may have been mid-last year from Brian Brown. Remember, this was when the firehouse was 'for sale' at twice what he paid the city and there was no indication he would ever develop.

Also, a quick check on abra's calendar doesn't show a planned hearing for the site, indicating they may not have even filed for an application yet. I support the firehouse and want to see it open, however this appears to be the same song and dance and blame game we've seen for years now.

manofmac said...

I agree with Tom and Patrick- can the ANC and civic association leaders let us know if you have written the letters of support, and if not, why?

Anonymous said...

I am wondering what else is needed from the community, that needs to show support for this to happen? Is there petitions that need to be signed? If so then some door knocking aroung ythe communicty by the owner or mgmt team needs to be done. I have been wondering about this for a while. I support the firehouse and want it open as well, but is it the communites responsiblity to ensure all the proper letters and forms are submitted? If no alcohol license so no then no resturant? I would think that the ABRA can still be worked behind the scene while work continues to be done on the resturant itself? Thoughts....????Ski from Seaton Place

J.T. said...

Upon thinking through this issue and reading other responses, I suppose it would be silly to continue to incur unrecoverable construction/development costs if the liquor license isn't sorted out, so maybe, if the process to get one has dragged on longer than planned, they stopped work to focus on that. Liquor licenses are a lengthy and very political process in DC.

So, I suppose the letter can make sense...but it was still written in a way that will unnecessarily anger the very people they need for the liquor license.

Anyway, let's get them support letters, especially from ANC 5C.

Patrick said...

Hopefully, Mr. May will be savy enough to come to the Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting on Monday, May 16 at 7:00 at 160 U Street (St George's Episcopal Church -- corner of 2nd and U) to explain his letter and answer questions. Of course, the Civic Association should be equally savy and invite him.

Unknown said...

I am very excited about seeing the Firehouse change from a vacant building into something that contributes to the community. Is there a website or some other posting that describes the planned development -- hours of operations, planned restaurant type (sit down, take out), etc. If so, I would love to take a look at it. If everything looks good, I am willing to contact my ANC member asking for support for the project.

Anonymous said...

Ok - seriously??
Even if this place sucked why would we object to having foot traffic in one of the most dangerous parts of our neighborhood??
On top of that, this place not only doesn't suck, but it's actually a wonderful (and clearly ambitious) project that can only help make N Cap a destination for something other than robbery, drugs and murder. It would be amazing if more people realized what was going on in their own neighborhood.
PS if there's anything you should be "concerned" about, it should be McMillan - otherwise we'll end up with a cheesily overdeveloped, underplanned (infrastructurally) project that will permanently eras olmstead's dream.

Steven said...

All of the speaking points about the firehouse; including hours of operation, menu's, etc. are located on the news section of our website.

Steven M. May Jr.

Unknown said...

Steven, thanks for posting the link to the information. I live right up the street and definitely support your project based off of what I'm seeing on your site.