Friday, June 26, 2009

Developer on CH and the new bar in the Highland Park

Developer Chris Donatelli, whose company built the Highland Park building, Kenyon Square, and the Park Place building near the Petworth Metro, spoke with the Washington Business Journal recently about doing business in Columbia Heights. Interesting, the article starts out by saying he could easily fill the empty retail spots with a bank or drug store, but would prefer to have a local retail operation instead. The article says he "prides himself on bringing a mix of retail that will not only attract condo buyers and apartment renters but win the confidence of city officials and residents. It’s part of his strategy to compete for city-owned properties in emerging neighborhoods and, upon winning them, balance the needs of lenders, retailers, politicians and residents."

I like that theory, and I'm glad to see it. It contrasts a lot with DC USA, which is so far 100% big chain stores. Chain stores are the easy way to go to, and they're more stable with rent and stuff, but Donatelli has a good point - folks are probably more likely to move to a place with a mix of neat stores and restaurants with big chains.

Another tidbit from the article is that he's looking to bring in a sports-themed restaurant to the Highland Park building at 14th and Irving - similar to what we'd heard before about that bar. That's definitely something that's lacking in the hood.

Highland Park picture from Donatelli's website

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