Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Washingtonian Magazine article on nightlife empresario Joe Englert

H Street Country Club
One of the holes at the indoor mini-golf course, H Street County Club. Flickr photo by Jen Consalvo.

Joe Englert: The Life of the Party.

It explains but doesn't necessarily specifically outline his approach or almost "technology" for maintaining and reproducing nightlife establishments by bringing together buildings, money, vendor relationships, people and concepts.

The writer has a nice handle on the vagaries of revitalization. From the article:

But H Street is still at a pivot point. The construction mess churned up by the streetscape makeover—a five-year ordeal that ended in 2011—hurt many businesses. There’s no sign yet of the trolley. And daytime businesses have been slow to arrive. The street isn’t yet a safe enough investment for many national chains—which is fine by many people—but the owners of commercial buildings are asking rents beyond reach of the small entrepreneurs willing to move in now.

Englert would have loved to have 20 buildings on H Street, he told me one night, sipping a Baileys Irish Cream on the rocks at the Willard Hotel’s Round Robin bar. “We just ran out of money and people to run the places.”

FWIW, the article mentions the "controversy" at the start of his foray onto H Street. I have a blog entry about that, from 2005, here, "Restaurants and liquor licenses--how much is too much for H Street."

And the DC Business Improvement District Council has an initiative on "the nightlife economy" which is controversial in many residential precincts, including on H Street.

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