Contrary to what some people interviewed for “Blocked Out” (7/9) might think, D.C. life does not begin and end on Connecticut Avenue NW. Nor does time stand still. We are in a great economy, particularly in the District. We are finally seeing signs of economic growth, the lack of which we complained about for the last 10 years. We want new jobs, better in-town shopping, and well-maintained streets and buildings. Yet people somehow expect that these improvements will not ultimately affect rents in highly desirable areas like Dupont Circle.
Certainly, it is more interesting to have special-interest bookstores and dance studios than a series of storefronts housing Starbucks and the Gap. However, I personally would like to have more of the sort of stores on Connecticut Avenue that I currently find in the Fashion Court in Pentagon City. Let the market and consumer demand determine what is necessary for the residents and other people willing to contribute to the D.C. tax coffers by shopping in town.
Finally, and most importantly, just because Connecticut Avenue rents are rising out of some people’s range does not mean that there are not other locations in the city that can provide affordable rents. In fact, this sort of displacement and relocation are what can help other neighborhoods with underutilized storefronts become an interesting place to go. I know that 14th Street NW and U Street NW are starting to show signs of life, but both certainly need new businesses that do not feature alcohol, dry cleaning, or Chinese food as the primary products. I would imagine the same thing can be said for Georgia Avenue NW and Pennsylvania Avenue SE. This is called progress and evolution. We should welcome change and the resulting vitality it can spread across the whole city (not just Connecticut Avenue).
via the Internet