Thank you for your article on the Lofts at Adams Morgan (“Suite Deal,” 1/10).
The whole process of that building from beginning to end was/is a debacle for the neighborhood. The city handed the developers whatever they wanted, including allowing more condos than the neighborhood was told would be built. Then the developer gave the condos extra parking spaces—more than were supposedly going to be set aside for them.
As for the noise problems, anyone who didn’t see that coming was willfully ignorant. Does a person who rents an apartment above a bar or a bowling alley expect complete quiet? While they were still building, I e-mailed Councilmember Jim Graham to ask how the inevitable club-resident conflicts were going to be handled. I received no reply. I was not surprised—this issue had been ducked every time before by the builders and the D.C. government.
The garage was to be a solution to the longtime problem of parking in the neighborhood. When it finally came to fruition, the number of spaces was so paltry that they had to hold a lottery for the monthly-account spaces. (The developer kept pruning the number of public spaces without giving much, if any, notice.) As far as the idea that the lot would relieve the needs of weekend/evening visitors, try driving around Adams Morgan on a Friday or Saturday night. The pre-parking-lot famine of street spaces lives on today.
The result of all this? A slam-dunk for the developers, with little gained by the neighborhood.
I certainly see the advantages of the tax money from the condo owners coming into the city coffers in these strapped times, but I have doubts that the city will be any more responsible with this money than with previous budgets. The D.C. Council has told essential social services to tighten their belts while at the same time handing Council Chair Linda Cropp a raise (documented in LL’s column). Why is it that the ruling class never has to tighten its belt? In fact, it’s quite the opposite, apparently.
The Lofts is yet another mess that the city has created that will probably end with the bureaucracy dancing to the Lofts owners’ tune. The fact that the nearby businesses were pre-existing will do little to protect them. (I should state here that I work at one of the clubs.)
I’ve got nothing against the Lofts residents personally, but they knew what they were getting into from the start. It is well known that Adams Morgan is a vibrant community—that’s why so many come, or move, here. Meanwhile, gentrification continues here, but without the usual benefits of a drop in the crime levels, cleaner streets, and so forth. Only in D.C.