There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
For years, local business types had big dreams for the empty block at 10th and H Streets NW. All they needed was for someone to fund it. At a groundbreaking this spring for the development that will be known as CityCenterDC, a backer was finally announced: The emirate of Qatar had stepped up to provide $700 million in equity. This means a Persian Gulf monarchy now owns a big chunk of downtown D.C. Islamic states, though, aren’t your average investors. They often require their projects to be “shariah-compliant,” meaning no gambling, booze, or interest rates. The same is true, nominally, of CityCenter—except that the developers had already decided not to include liquor stores, bank branches, or casinos (naturally). They’ll have ATMs, though, and the Qataris are even letting eateries slide on selling pork. So, for all the potential wingnut PR problems—”Islamic law just blocks from the White House!”—the stipulation had no net impact on the project. It’s just a big capital infusion at a time when Americans don’t have much to spare. So Allah-u-Akbar, and thanks for the check.