Yesterday at 3:00, Mayor Adrian Fenty and a whole slew of politicians broke ground at the O Street Market, which is now being called CityMarket at O. Fancy. If you know the area, or have received a tour of my new neighborhood, you probably have heard me talk about it. I’m excited. I saw some consultants walking around inside the fence a week ago, so I knew something was happening.
The market is very similar to Eastern Market in its historic uses, but that’s about it. O Street Market has no roof, barely three walls and a large chain link fence around the entire block. The opposite block holds the city’s worst, slowest and most uninspiring Giant grocery store in all the land. Knowing that the Giant was getting an upgrade, they have not improved it over the last 10 years…which is how long this development has been in process. I know the neighbors are probably skeptic by now about any developer promising anything in this neighborhood. But a ground breaking is certainly a step in the right direction.
As an urban planner, these events and developments are very exciting. This development has the ability to lift the entire neighborhood. Did I mention it will hold a giant Giant, 600 residential units and a 200 room boutique hotel plus ground floor retail? That’s almost 1,000,000 sf of development on two blocks. Plus, my favorite part is that 8th Street will reconnect the grid between P and O Streets. There are a lot of empty buildings and potential development parcels that are in a holding pattern. This should boost some action with those properties. Development and action provides momentum that talking and planning cannot.
As a homeowner, I’m thrilled. Yes, I’ll have to go without a grocery store within a two block walk for over two years, but what I get in return is pretty awesome. I don’t look at my house as an investment…I could probably do better on the stock market anyway. But, I will enjoy living in this neighborhood even more when this development is complete. I don’t think I could enjoy living here more than I do, but I’m guessing this might just do it.