- June 14, 2013
by Shilpi Paul
The intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown
Compared to rapidly transforming areas like 14th Street, NoMa and the H Street Corridor, Georgetown is a relatively static neighborhood with a steady reputation.
However as others parts of DC prosper — attracting restaurants, cool retailers and eager home buyers — Georgetown is in a bit of a crisis. Without a Metro station, it’s not a very easy place to get to, and stores that were once unique to the neighborhood have counterparts popping up in other parts of DC. Rents are rising, and some landmark stores and gathering places, like Barnes and Noble, have closed. While many tourists are still drawn to the historic feel and the waterfront, DC residents haven’t been making the trip to the west side of town as often as they used to.
Well, the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) is hoping to change that. They have launched an initiative — Georgetown 2028 — in the hopes of creating an actionable plan on how to improve the neighborhood over the next 15 years.
On Thursday night, the BID invited residents, business owners and other stakeholders to brainstorm about ways to make the neighborhood more dynamic.
“There is no cool factor left in Georgetown,” said one participant.
Long-time residents spoke to the deterioration of the retail scene over the past few decades, even while wealthy residents continue to live in the area. (According to the BID, residents between the ages of 25 and 34 who live within a one mile radius of the center of Georgetown have an average disposable income of about $100,000.)
Among the topics discussed were how to attract “hip” restaurants to the area, create more public spaces and outdoor events, better connect the neighborhood to the city through bike-friendly infrastructure and more managed traffic flow, activate the upper portion of Wisconsin Avenue, and enhance the historic appeal.
But perhaps most interesting are the ideas that the BID is considering, which include:
- Building an aerial gondola to connect Rosslyn and Georgetown University.
- Installing a giant outdoor swimming pool in the C&O Canal stone aqueduct, overlooking the Potomac.
- Constructing a Metro station, along the proposed separated Blue Line, and/or a streetcar.
- A repealing or relaxing of the current liquor license moratorium.
- The creation of outdoor sidewalk seating.
- Installing a pedestrian bridge or water taxi that connects to Roosevelt Island.
You can check out other ideas, and submit your own, here.