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As retail tenants of the Woodward Building for a combined 100-plus years, we resent your “Building Confidence” article (2/4). The Woodward Building is great if you are lucky enough to be a tenant. Where else in central Washington, D.C., can you get 16-foot crown-molding ceilings and outstanding street frontage for one-quarter of the rent charged by the slick K Street boxes? Just because a building is old does not mean it is not loved. SJG Properties, the owner, has been very prompt in repairing the few problems we have had.
In your article, you blasted the Woodward Building’s management for not giving the tenants notice of the nut who threatened to blow himself up more than a block away. The police, not the neighboring building managers, handled the matter effectively, as they should. Let the police do their job.
At attorneys’ offices in two Class A buildings nearby on 15th Street, there was no management contact about a hold-up standoff in which police snipers were on the roof of one building and ringed around the other. The tenants were able to recognize, without the guidance of a building superintendent, that the situation presented possible danger and sensibly left the building. Your reporter watched what he claims was a dangerous situation requiring management notification upon pain of criticism, yet with full knowledge remained in the building. It would seem that good judgment, not management notification, was what your reporter was lacking. Shame on the Washington City Paper for attacking SJG Properties for declining to do a job that the police were doing well.
The true aim of this article, which Gerry Widdicombe, director for economic development for the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, apparently concurred with, is to remove any individuality from the District of Columbia. As Sunday’s Washington Post pointed out, the suburbs have gained the upper hand over the city. Having won, it seems the ’burbs are now seeking, through the City Paper, to impose their values—homogeneous, uniformly bland, characterless buildings—on the city; Tysons Corner and Montgomery Mall are not for everyone.
As operators of three woman-owned businesses, we salute SJG management for maintaining reasonable rents with good services, which afford us the opportunity to offer reasonable prices to our customers, stay in the city, and care for our families at the same time. Perhaps the City Paper should stop pushing for gentrification and homogenization and consider what has been the backbone of the city’s economy: small businesses. If Justin Peters does not think the Woodward Building is up to his standards, he should find offices more attuned to his tastes on K Street or in Georgetown. The rents will have him and his company crying the blues before summer, when the toilets at the Woodward Building may be more to his liking.
The Bikini Shop Inc.
Anton’s Hair Salon