Grab the popcorn and the kids! We learned that the Menkiti Group is treating the neighborhood to an outdoor movie next Thursday. They will be showing the Academy Award nominated, animated film Up. Here are the details from Mary Hodges of the Menkiti Group:
We are doing it at the Howard Divinity School front lawn (1400 Shepherd St NE) on Thursday July 25th with a rain date of July 31st. All are welcome to come picnic and watch the film which will start at sun down. Approximately 8:15 PM. Folks can come as early as 7:00. We are encouraging people to bring something to sit on, something to snack on, bug spray, and flashlights (for after the film).
We are pretty excited about this, and hope lots of folks show up!
Many of you have probably seen this video by now, but just in case we wanted to be sure we shared it with you. The video describes Brookland as historic,community,charming, fun, growing, connected, creative, active and home – we couldn’t agree more. Nice job!
Last winter I learned that the building at 3407 8th Street NE was being gutted and renovated to become the new headquarters for local real estate firm, the Menkiti Group. Since then, I have been curious about the transformation the warehouse-like building would undergo. Last week I caught up with Mark Rengel, Vice President of Development for the Menkiti Group, who gave me a tour of the new headquarters the day after they moved in. This is the firm’s third move since being founded in 2004; their previous locations were on 12th Street, NE. He explained that the move was necessary to accommodate their growing team. They also wanted to have the whole team – development, design, sales, and commercial under the same roof. Prior to the move, these groups were in different offices. Most importantly, Mark said, they “wanted to stay in the Brookland area”.
The newly renovated space has a very sleek, modern feel to it. Mark explained that their concept “was to take this old building and breathe new life into it”. The floor plans are open, with a lot of communal spaces, and modular furniture that can quickly be moved to form collaborative or individual work spaces. There are interesting touches like funky light fixtures, while polished concrete floors and the high exposed ceilings keep some of the industrial feel of the space. One of the central spaces is a large conference room that could potentially be used for training or workshops. Mark shared that they are exploring the possibility of hosting “Artomatic Saturday Seminars” and other community activities. Another great perk for the Menkiti team was a super-nice shower area. Overall, I was very impressed, definitely the nicest office space I have seen in the area.
The Menkiti headquarters building has quite a bit of history behind it. Built in the 1950’s, at different times it housed the Newman Bookstore, O’Donnell Construction, the CUA data center and most recently, Yazge printing. When they took over the space it was full of equipment, including a Heidelberg press from 1920s. In addition to their headquarters, Menkiti also owns the building next door which houses longtime business Excel Pilates Studios, which they also renovated recently. Still, there are some areas in both buildings that are very much under construction, including two 8000 square foot commercial properties. Although there are some tenants interested, Mark couldn’t share much beyond that. There is still a lot of work to be done, such as façade improvements, but they are obviously off to a great start. Congrats to this local team on their continued success!
About a year ago, Astrid, one of our bloggers here at the Brookland Bridge started the application process to get a Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) station installed in Brookland at the corner of 12th and Irving NE. It seemed like a great location, being just across the street from Casey Trees, where over 30 people work daily and volunteers come and go. Plus, she thought it was important to bring a bikeshare station deeper into our neighborhood. We finally got word today that all her hard work paid off, as CaBi announced 12th and Irving as part of their next wave of new stations. Way to go Astrid! I sat down with her and asked her some questions about how she got it done. New stations are also coming to the Chancellor’s Row development/St. Paul’s campus.
Why did you initiate the request for the bike share station at 12th and Irving?
I had been intrigued by the Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) system for quite some time. It is a wonderful alternative to other forms of transportation. It is environmentally friendly, fun, easily accessible, and an amenity that benefits local businesses and residents alike. I noticed that NE DC had very few stations and is not well-connected to the CaBi network yet. When I started the application process, the only NE CaBi stations were at Catholic University, the Brookland Metro, and the CVS on 12th Street. The station at 4th and Rhode Island was about to be installed as an amenity for the Mint condominium building. But the gap between these stations the rest of the network was quite big. I think it is important to have more stations installed in Brookland and NE in general, so many more DC residents have access to the Bikeshare system.
How did you go about getting the application together?
First I identified the department and team at DDOT that handles all matters related to CaBi. My primary contact was Chris Holben, who has been extremely supportive and helpful during the entire process. Once I knew where to submit my request, I started the ground work. I created a flyer which explained the CaBi program and membership, the benefits it would bring to our neighborhood, as well as a section for the name and contact information of potential supporters. I went house to house in a 3 block radius around 12th and Irving. I made sure neighbors understood that I am not with CaBi, but just a neighbor who thinks that it is a great program. In the address field I added an option where supporters could identify themselves as being interested in becoming CaBi members, if a station would be installed in their immediate neighborhood. This added additional weight to my application. I also reached out to local businesses and asked them to write a letter supporting the new CaBi location. Many thanks to Casey Trees, First Time Computers, The Menkiti Group, Abbott Klar Realtor Group, as well as the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) for their immediate response to my request. I completed my application package with pictures of the proposed location and I hand delivered it to Mr. Holben at his office.
How long did the process take?
I submitted my application on January 31, 2012. All location suggestions go through a lengthy selection process including a site visit of a DDOT team or representative. I learned that CaBi experienced a back-order situation for some of the equipment, and therefore had to delay the installation for a several months. According to the announcement, we should have the new station by March 2013.
Anything else you would like the readers to know?
Spread the word about the Capital Bike Share system, become a member if you think you will benefit from it, because the more demand we can show for it in NE DC, the more stations will be added in the future.
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