With kindest regards, we invite you, your staff, Dave McKenna, and all your readers to our “blighted” neighborhood for a casual stroll. The framework for McKenna’s Cheap Seats article “Body by Jefferies” (7/14) is that Doug Jefferies, owner of Results, the Gym, had helped revitalize one blighted neighborhood by starting his first sports facility and was doing the same in southeast Capitol Hill. Perhaps McKenna should actually have walked around the neighborhood before writing his article.
Having lived a half-block from the Giddings School (the future home of Results II) for over 15 years and in Washington long enough to remember the area around 17th and R Streets as being unsavory (not to mention U Street), I suggest that McKenna should have found a more accurate framework on which to hang his article about Results II. Crime rarely has been anything close to the example provided by Jefferies. (What did he actually say to that person on the street?) It wasn’t the reason for leaving given by Jefferies to Results II’s new neighbors at his first open house—being single, he wanted to live in a part of town where there was more action. Undeniably, there is more to attract a single male in Dupont Circle than staid olde Capitol Hill.
If real estate prices are any gauge of how “blighted” and crime-ridden we are, I note that my neighbors just sold their house for about $450,000. Most houses in the immediate area sell in the $250,000-$500,000 range, with several across the street from Giddings recently selling for over $300,000. Indeed, Jefferies just purchased a house across the street from Giddings for about $250K. And if politicians bring their own unique stature to a neighborhood, one member of Congress lives across the street from Giddings, and the Senate majority leader (not a man know for adoring unsafe, run-down living) lives a block away. If anything, we are not concerned that Results II will cause “collateral enrichment,” to use McKenna’s term, but collateral damage, from the vast increase in cars looking for a place to park.