Shaw Main Streets Holds Open House

Shaw Streets

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A winner in the Shaw Open House raffle with Executive Director Alexander Padro. Photo by Pleasant Mann

Shaw Main Streets held a neighborhood business open house event on Saturday afternoon, June 25, featuring Shaw businesses north of Rhode Island Avenue. Shaw Open Houses to introduce residents and those beyond the neighborhood to the offerings of local businesses had been a biannual event, until the pandemic hit. This Shaw Open House was the first held since 2019.

Shaw Open House started at the Streetsense Streetmarket, located at the Howard Theatre parking lot (behind 620 T Street, NW) where people could pick up a Shaw Open House Passport at the Shaw Main Streets booth. The Streetmarket was a collection of local product makers — like Little Sesame, ReWild, and Chippin Dog Treats — offering their wares at this pop-up market event. The Streetsense Streetmarket also benefited the Washington Housing Conservancy.

Then Open House participants took their passports for validation at participating Shaw businesses, where they enjoyed free food and beverage samples and special offers. The passports included $20 worth of the ever-popular Shawbucks, coupons that could be used for any purchases made during the day. Participating businesses included ABT Liquors, Compass Coffee, DC SHAWarma, FishScale, Gogi Yogi, Lee’s Flower and Card Shop, Nellie’s SportsBar, Prescription Chicken, Rewild, Right Proper Brewpub, Roasted Boon Company, Serv-U Liquors, Shaw’s Tavern, Stop Smack’n Restaurant & Lounge, Taqueria Xochi, Union Kitchen Grocery, Wanda’s on 7th Salon & Spa and Yoga Heights.

After Shaw Open House ended, participants went to Shaw’s Tavern for an after party, where they were treated to free pizza and champagne. After everyone turned in their passports, there was a raffle where over 30 prizes from local businesses were given out. Another Shaw Open House, this time covering businesses south of Rhode Island Avenue, is planned for some time in the fall.

Lincoln Temple Gets Redevelopment Grant

Lincoln Temple, on the corner of R and 11th Streets, will receive a grant from Amazon.com’s Housing Equity Fund to develop affordable housing on the site. The grant is one of 10 affordable housing developments and studies in the DMV area benefitting from the fund, which the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will administer through its newly formed Housing Affordability Planning Program.

Planning is underway to convert Lincoln Temple to affordable housing.
Photo by Pleasant Mann

The history of the site dates back to 1868 when it started as the Lincoln Industrial Mission, dedicated to teaching young Black students in the post-Civil War era. On its 50th anniversary, one former student, John Alwood, recounted his trek “every Sunday from home near Howard University, over open fields, to the Lincoln Mission.” The Lincoln Temple building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, dates to 1928 when it housed a predominantly Black congregation of what is now the United Church of Christ. 

DC and Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ will receive $71,300 for predevelopment activities in order to rehabilitate and repurpose the three-story historic church building in Shaw. Plans are to turn it into 19 units of affordable housing and 5,290 square feet of community space. The Lincoln Legacy Affordable Housing Development will be available to families earning between 30 and 80 percent of local median family income, and the facility can be rented out to nonprofits and other community service providers.

Is Development in Shaw Drying Up?

Bisnow, Washington, DC noted recently that some of the most desirable neighborhoods, including Shaw, are running out of space for further development. According to the last survey done by Delta Associates, the Shaw-Columbia Heights submarket commanded the highest rents per square foot but had the smallest number of projects in the development pipeline compared to other areas in the District. Their conclusion is that there are not many opportunities left for large-scale development in Shaw.

Bisnow found only four major housing projects underway in Shaw, totaling less than 1,000 new units. However, community residents have recently been briefed on plans to create over 2,000 additional rental housing units, including affordable units, on several Howard University properties along and near Georgia Avenue.

The Streetsense Streetmarket was the starting point for the Shaw Open House. Photo by Pleasant Mann

The Bisnow article found at least one developer who disagrees with Delta Associates’ conclusion. Buwa Binitie, principal of Dantes Partners, has two current projects in Shaw, one at Eighth and O Streets, the other at Seventh and R Streets. Binitie credits the neighborhood’s political leaders for being supportive of development projects in Shaw and said he was still searching for opportunities. Shaw leaders “have really cultivated a culture of creating a good mix of having development, having that density being an attractive place for retailers,” Binitie said. “What’s not to like as far as Shaw is concerned, right?”

U.S. National Park Service to Conduct Weekly Tours of Shaw and Logan Circle

The U.S. National Park Service has started weekly tours of Shaw and Logan Circle this summer. At “What Makes a Thriving Community? A Short Walking Tour of the Logan Circle/Shaw Community,” tour-goers will learn how the neighborhood developed after the Civil War and how its African American residents reshaped the community during the period of legal segregation in the 20th century.

The tours will be given every Friday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. during the summer and will take about an hour. They start at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House (1318 Vermont Avenue NW). Tours may be cancelled in the event of inclement weather. The last tour of the season will be on Saturday, September 17, 2022.