Housing Complex

The New Kid on the Blog

Your new Housing Complex reporter.

Welcome back to Housing Complex!

After a two-and-a-half-month lull on the blog, I’ve been handed the reins and the daunting, if tremendously exciting, task of picking up where the great Lydia DePillis left off. Lydia showed us that real estate reporting doesn’t have to be dull; done right, it can be the best lens through which to examine the rapid changes taking place in the city.

Last year, this blog was named the best of its kind, and I have no intention of fixing what ain’t broke. But I do hope to expand certain areas of coverage, including transit, immigrant communities, changing neighborhoods, and energy and the environment. I’d also like to spend a bit more time looking at the people putting up the buildings and a bit less on the buildings they put up. And, finally, while this is a blog about D.C. The City and not Washington The Capital, I do plan to spend some time exploring the intersection of the two—it would be a mistake to pretend that D.C. is a city just like any other.

At least that’s the plan. Let’s check back in a few months and see how it’s working out.

Now, the important part: While I’m not new to the District (I moved here in 2008 and have lived in six D.C. neighborhoods) and I’m not new to reporting (I just returned from a 10-month stint as the Los Angeles Times’ Berlin correspondent), I am fairly new to reporting on the District. So I’ll need your help. If there’s something exciting or outrageous going on in your community, shoot me an email or give me a call. If I get something wrong on the blog (it’ll happen) or leave something out, write a comment, and I promise to read it.

Here are the various ways you can get in touch with me:

Email: awiener@washingtoncitypaper.com
Phone: (202) 650-6928
Twitter: @aaronwiener and @housingcomplex

Now it’s time to get cracking. Thanks for reading!

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Big Ant

    While I’m not new to the District (I moved here in 2008 and have lived in six D.C. neighborhoods)- 2008 that means your still new

  • Brian

    Congratulations and welcome. Grow a thick skin, cause there are plenty of snarky commenters here in this fine city.

  • Christopher

    Welcome Aaron! Looking forward some awesome reporting. We support the direction you want to take the column.

    @CMCummingsPM

  • http://www.congressheightsontherise.com The Advoc8te

    Welcome! If you need any help/insight in Ward 8 neighborhoods (specifically Anacostia or Congress Heights) be sure to hit me up. ;)

  • Eric

    Welcome to WCP! Ignore "Big Ant" up top. Four years is a nice amount of time to have spent learning about the city! While I am a DC area native (from near the Silver Spring-DC border), I only moved back to the area after college in 2008 (and only now just moved into the city proper). I know firsthand that you can learn pretty much everything you need to know about development, planning, and transportation in the city in less than 4 years, especially because in the last 4 years pretty much everything has changed, and so you learn along with the tide. I look forward to your reporting, insights, and discussions!

  • Kate

    Welcome! For starters, you've got to write on the current inventory shortage. It's INSANE. Advice for those of you looking for houses: Do not tour houses. Just start writing offers. You *may* eventually get to own a house one day. But probably not.

    I'd love to know what's up and coming in NE, because SW and NW have sold out like the blue plate special.

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    Thanks for hiring someone who actually knows the city...

  • DC Guy

    Cover the mess that is historic preservation in Ward 3, particularly the WMATA Western Bus Garage and the AU Law School front lawn in Tenleytown.

  • Stan

    nice house for the home page link...good to have housing complex back

  • nrb

    welcome! so glad wcp kept the thread and go someone back on housing complex. have fun with it and make it yours!

  • http://www.facebook.com/BestChoiceRealtyDCMETRO Anthony Beharry

    Welcome Aaron! Looking forward to an informative Blog. http://www.facebook.com/BestChoiceRealtyDCMETRO

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    @Stan... You know it. Come through to that southside

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  • Billy Grimes

    Greetings! And welcome! Lydia did an excellent job andI'm confident you will do just as well and put your own stamp on this blog.

    Further to DC Guy's point, Historic Preservation in the city is out of control. A few topics that may be of interest:

    - What are the formal and informal relationships between the HPRB and organizations like the DC Preservation League and Committee of 100? Are they legal? Are there financial ties? As someone who has been through the process many times I can tell you that the coziness and on-going mutual congratulation can get vomit-inducing.

    - Where does the real power in historic preservation decision making lie? It's not with the ANC's (despite their theoretically having "great weight.") So, is it the local preservationist organizations like the Capitol Hill Restoration society, the HPRB staff, or the HPRB itself?

    - Speaking of "great weight", why not pin down Catherine Buell on what exactly "great weighs" means to her. Sure, there's the legal definition as defined by the precedents but what does she think the spirit of that law means? Work hard, pin her down, and don't let her weasel out of answering the question. This is a major issue.

    - Speaking on ANC's, do the ANC's votes have ANY impact? Perhaps discuss this w/ some ANC commissioners, particularly in areas w/ large or --ahem!-- wealthy historic districts like Cleveland Park, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown.

    - And, speaking of historic preservation law, it might be worth digging into the meaning of "economic hardship." In my own research, I have found that it is almost NEVER used. Why not? Was that the original intent of the law?

    - Along the way, you might ask if historic preservation is racist and contributing to driving poor and minority families out of historic neighborhoods. This goes hand-in-hand with almost all-white historic preservation groups and the inability of almost everyone to invoke "economic hardship" to get out from under historic preservation law.

    - More generally, how does the historic preservation law need to be updated?

    - The new HPRB chair has outlined a vision for historic preservation that goes beyond just buildings. Let's hear more about that. Does it make sense? Does anybody but her care about this stuff?

    Lydia had a gimlet eye but a gracious style. I hope you bring some of both to this blog! So glad to have it back!

    W.F.G.

  • capitol hill

    Glad Housing Complex is back. Would love to hear about positive things happening in all parts of the city, but especially east of the river. It can't be all drug busts and shootings. Good luck.

  • Stella

    Welcome, Aaron!

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