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I am writing regarding Josh Levin’s cover story about development along upper Wisconsin Avenue (“Wisconsin Badgers,” 7/4). The article mentions the success of Cleveland Park and arbitrarily attributes this success to the presence of a number of apartment buildings in that area.
Cleveland Park is a wonderful neighborhood. My neighborhood, Tenleytown, has a different character, but is equally wonderful. I enjoy seeing friends from Cleveland Park shopping in Tenleytown’s grocery stores, dining in the neighborhood, and stopping by to visit without having to circle the block looking for a parking space.
Proposed zone-busting high-rise apartment buildings are completely out of character for Tenleytown, and there is no basis for the article’s inference that they would spawn additional attractive retail development. Levin fails to mention that all the apartment buildings built around the Van Ness Metro station failed to revitalize that area. In fact, many stores, most notably a major grocery store, have recently gone out of business there.
I believe that the Tenleytown area is evolving the way it should and doesn’t need artificial stimulation. The free marketplace will eventually decide or “knock in” the retail opportunities much the way it did when Whole Foods decided to put what is now an enormously successful grocery store in an old parking garage.
Whereas your article referred to the area on the east side of Wisconsin as “Skid Row,” current market forces and zoning have resulted in a wildly popular restaurant, convenient photo and dry-cleaning stores, an upscale coffee shop, and a 24-hour drugstore, which is great when kids get sick in the middle of the night.
With these thoughts in mind, I look forward to the results of the Wisconsin Avenue Corridor Study and hope that it will lay out a plan for our area that supports the current zoning and discourages artificial stimulation through changes in zoning.