24 Acres Next to Gallaudet Approved for Development

New Town Market Proposal Approved

Questions Remain, Though, About Obligations of Mayor and Other Officials

By Elissa Silverman

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006; Page B04

The D.C. Council endorsed a proposal yesterday for a $1.2 billion development in a gritty warehouse district in Northeast Washington without addressing details about the city’s role in the project.

Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) has spent his final weeks as a council member securing government support for the New Town at Capital City Market project, which would convert the industrial area into a 24-acre complex of condominiums, restaurants, a hotel and a much smaller warehouse sector.

development site next to Gallaudet

   

The legislation, which was approved unanimously, instructs the mayor and other city officials to prepare a final development plan with Sang Oh Choi, owner of Sam Wang Produce at the market. Choi, family members and his related businesses contributed $10,000 to Orange’s failed mayoral bid.

Choi’s lobbyist, John L. Ray, a former at-large council member, also pushed the plan. Ray has been a lobbyist for other major developments in the District and represented Major League Baseball in the effort to bring the Washington Nationals to the city. He also represented business interests that proposed bringing legalized gambling to the District. Ray and his wife gave $15,000 to Orange’s exploratory mayoral campaign effort.

The approval came despite unanswered questions about the mayor and others’ obligations and about why Choi, who has no major experience as a developer, is working with the city. Some of Choi’s fellow landowners — including his brother Philip, who owns the D.C. Farmers Market — oppose the project.

“Some deals were cut, and I’m not sure what they were,” said Sharon Ambrose, the outgoing chairman of the council’s Economic Development Committee, who tried unsuccessfully to block the legislation from a first reading this month. Ambrose (D-Ward 6) missed yesterday’s session.

Orange and Ambrose battled over the legislation for weeks. Ambrose had said she was worried the bill might open the door to obtaining property rights at the market through eminent domain.

Other city officials raised questions about how the land would be assembled and about the project’s financing. “Where I am is the devil is in the details, and I need a little more detail to attain a comfort level in how we achieve this goal,” said Stanley Jackson, deputy mayor for economic development, in October.

According to documents provided by Sang Oh Choi, the site has 69 individual landowners, the largest of which are Gallaudet University, with 3.8 acres; the District government, with three acres; and Choi, who owns 2 1/2 acres of the property, which is wedged between New York and Florida avenues NE.

Gallaudet officials said the university does not plan to relinquish its portion. “At this point, we’re not interested in selling,” Gary Aller said. Continue reading “24 Acres Next to Gallaudet Approved for Development”

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

As a child, the following story, THE GIFT OF THE MAGI, was my favorite of all among many christmas stories, and today, this Christmas, I share it with my readers. May your Christmas be spent giving others the best gift of all: Yourself. / Ken @ Bibliomarket

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
by O. Henry
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

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From the Mind of Men: Wrapping Up Christmas

This is the time of year when we think back to the very first Christmas, when the Three Wise Men — Gaspar, Balthazar, and Herb — went to see the baby Jesus and, according to the Book of Matthew, “presented unto Him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

These are simple words, but if we analyze them carefully, we discover an important, yet often overlooked, theological fact: there is no mention of wrapping paper.

If there had been wrapping paper, Matthew would have said so: “And lo, the gifts were inside 600 square cubits of paper. And the paper was festooned with pictures of Frosty the Snowman. And Joseph was going to throweth it away, but Mary saideth unto him, ‘Holdeth it! That is niceth papereth! Saveth it for next year!’ And Joseph did rolleth his eyeballs. And the baby Jesus was more interested in the paper than the frankincense.”

But these words do not appear in the Bible, which means that the very first Christmas gifts were NOT wrapped. This is because the people giving those gifts had two important characteristics:

1. They were wise.
2. They were men.

If men designed christmas wrapping paper, it’d look like this!

If men designed christmas wrapping paper, it’d look like this!

Continue reading “From the Mind of Men: Wrapping Up Christmas”