Housing Complex

Douglas Details Schwag for Shaw

When developers come to community groups asking their support for necessary favors like tax exemptions and zoning variances, they better be prepared with box of goodies for the neighborhood. Douglas Development has had to do this more than most, with the number of extensions on zoning applications and breaks from vacant property taxes it's needed to obtain in the last few years. When it asked for help on the 450 K Street project, executive Paul Millstein emphasized the company's corporate giving last year, notably the 200 turkeys distributed over Thanksgiving.

After signing off on the request, Shaw's ANC commissioners and civic association leaders demanded proof of Douglas' beneficence, and the company finally produced a list: $93,000 local contributions in 2009, and $13,000 in 2010, plus the turkeys and other in-kind donations. The 2009 number includes $25,000 to the Trust for the National Mall. Not a bad payoff, all things considered.
[scribd id=49850171 key=key-1b3p1wnha966w3hiznwg mode=list]

  • Typical DC BS

    I will give credit where credit is due: Douglas Jemal shines when it comes to charity, especially when it comes to the District of Columbia.

  • drez

    That he does, but IMO it is more than offset by 1) the extraordinary length of time he sits on vacant and dilapidated property before developing it, and 2) the favorable tax treatment he receives for said vacant dilapidated property.

  • WardQueen

    Will Jemal pick up the cost for the installation of the banners in the new "Places From Which You Can See The Douglas Development Sign District"? Given that the banners festooning (soon to festoon?) the expanded "1400 Block of Q Street Arts District" cost over $1500.00 each that could represent a significant contribution. "Crack" marketing teams, cupcakes, and doughnuts don't come cheap.

  • drez

    Why is Jemal giving away SW(don't)AG to favored political entities instead of clearing his $6 million dollar tax debt?

  • drez
  • H Street Landlord

    Pay your tax debts!

    No more abatements either, no exemptions from vacant property tax etc.

  • Lisa

    Lydia - why is a donation a payoff? Especially when its to a nonpartisan group that partners with a group to enhance the National Mall. It's clear you have plenty against advocacy groups in preservation - but all this group does is raise money to do what the NPS can't afford. Is nothing good enough for you?

  • lordy

    and the shaw neighborhood continues to whine and groan even when they are getting much needed development.

    you could make a reality show about these people! no matter what - whether they get what they want or not - these people will bitch and moan until the cows come home and then some.

  • LeftOut

    @LISA -

    Lydia is a poser - she admits she is no journalist, so leave her alone. Her new job with Empower DC starts soon.

  • Lydia DePillis


    I don't think there's necessarily a negative connotation to "payoff." And Douglas should certainly be applauded for its generosity to a worthy cause (which I've certainly not maligned in the past). But you can't deny that there is an unofficial quid pro quo here: If they're going to sign off on its projects, community groups want to see that Douglas is giving back. So the developer doesn't really have much of a choice.



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