Sunday, February 15, 2009

14th & Geez, Pt. 2

In the Sunday Post, Answerman John Kelly takes up the topic of my post last week on the long-vacant properties at 14th and G Streets NW. The website includes a 2-minute video tour of the inside of the bank that's worth a look.

Kelly's interview with the director of the Armenian National Institute reveals that the properties were purchased by a wealthy individual for a museum before there was a plan for its design or what would go inside. Now, about 8 years since the first acquisition, the museum's opening seems far from imminent, given today's economic climate. Don't hold your breath for the museum of urban decay to turn around by 2011, as anticipated on the museum's website.

It sounds like a story I've unfortunately seen and heard so many times before in DC. A nonprofit with good intentions. A grand plan. And little clue as to how to make it happen - whether its lack of organization or internal consensus, regulatory or legal know-how, or holding out for additional funding or property. Weeks turn into months, months into years, sometimes years into decades, and before you know it, the economic/social/market environment has changed so significantly that the plans fall through or concept no longer makes sense.

What I'd like is for Answerman to look into is whether the museum will pay DC taxes at the higher rate for vacant properties and what plans they have for cleaning up the unsightliness of the buildings while those who live and work downtown continue to wait for the plans to take shape and the economy to turn around?

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