Housing Complex

The Hive 2.0 to Become Hybrid Arts Center and St. Elizabeths Training Space

In November, ARCH Development opened its second Anacostia business incubator, The Hive 2.0, on Good Hope Road SE. The basement level, like its 1.0 cousin around the corner, contains small office and shared spaces at modest rent levels. But the fate of the ground level was an open question, and only about 20 percent of the basement office space is filled. Now, ARCH has decided on a course for the remaining space: It'll be part arts center and part training space for people looking to get in on the upcoming action at nearby St. Elizabeths, which the city is looking to develop.

"It’s a hybrid," says ARCH CEO Duane Gautier. "In other words, the top will be an arts center, and the bottom will stay The Hive, but as part of The Hive we will incorporate services for contractors and small businesses interested in taking advantage of the long-term activities taking place at the St. Elizabeths site."

Gautier says demolition of the interior ground-level space is 80 percent complete, and expects build-out to be finished by the end of April. The arts space will include a small theater and cafe.

Downstairs, Gautier is anticipating funding from the city to assist D.C. residents who are hoping to win contracts for the city's planned development at the St. Elizabeths East Campus between Anacostia and Congress Heights. Gautier says many of these people might not be familiar with federal contracting standards, so ARCH hopes to help them prepare their accounting for federal audits and earn their Certified Business Enterprise status. Eighty percent of the funding will come from ARCH (in part using funding from the city), with the rest coming from the clients.

Gautier anticipates that the arts space will also be funded partly through a city grant, and partly from renting out the spaces there. The arts/contracting hybrid might appear to be an unnatural mix, but Gautier says, "The whole concept here is taking an underutilized building in Anacostia to do economic development of two varieties."

For at least one Anacostia organization, the timing couldn't be better. African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, which trains people in traditional African dance, was evicted from its office on Good Hope Road SE this week for failure to pay rent. Founding Executive Artistic Director Melvin Deal couldn't immediately be reached for comment, but he recorded a YouTube video lamenting the eviction during Black History Month.

Gautier says he's temporarily providing Deal with free office space at The Hive 2.0, and hopes to bring him into the arts center once it's up and running.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    Hope is in the air

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

    I'm so excited! :)

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    I had heard from people who looked at the space that they didn't think it was that great. Guess the rental rate bore that out, somewhat.

    How large is the grant that they'll be receiving. To what extent will space be subsidized?

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  • H Street LL

    Not sure having someone who was just evicted for nonpayment of rent move in your building is a good idea...

    Overall The Hive 2 is a big positive, though.

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  • http://westnorth.com Payton

    Seems a little backwards to have offices in a windowless basement, below a theater with curtains to keep the daylight out from the giant storefront windows. I love the idea of coworking, but I feel like most people want some daylight during the day.

    That said, advanced incubation services -- like helping with the notoriously complex CBE process -- sounds like a great addition to ARCH's offerings.

  • http://www.thedchive.com Nikki Peele

    This is Nikki Peele, Managing Director of The HIVE and the Director of Marketing and Business Development for ARCH Development Corporation.

    We are super excited to be expanding our creative and entrepreneurial footprint in Anacostia. We understand that not everyone can do what we do -- at least where we do it -- it takes a certain amount of faith, vision, and moxie.

    That being said I feel compelled to say a few things.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed opening a fine art gallery (Honfleur Gallery) in Anacostia in 2007.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed opening a photography gallery (The Gallery at Vivid Solutions) in Anacostia in 2009.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed opening a digital fine art print lab (Vivid Solutions Archival Print Lab) in Anacostia in 2009.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed opening a small business incubator (The HIVE) in Anacostia in 2010.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed hosting an all day arts & light festival (LUMEN8ANACOSTIA) in Anacostia in 2012.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed bringing a black box theater (The H St Playhouse) to Anacostia in 2012.

    There were doubters when ARCH proposed opening another small business incubator (The HIVE 2.0) in Anacostia in 2012.

    If history is doomed to repeat itself I suppose I can expect some doubt about opening an Arts Incubator (The Anacostia Arts Center) in Anacostia but my god wouldn't it be amazing if people could just be excited for us? :)

    For IMGoph it really makes no sense for you to have to hear from someone else that our space "really isn't that great" when you can just come and see it for yourself. :) If you still don't think it's "that great" I would be happy to listen to you tell me in person why not. Please consider this an open invitation.

    For Payton I invite you to come and do the same. I suppose The HIVE 2.0 doesn't technically have windows but we do have some amazing skylights that bring in the daylight just fine. But I suppose that is one of those things you have to be there in person to see. :)

    The same with the Anacostia Arts Center -- I would be happy to take you on a tour so you can see we don't need to put up curtains to block out the light from the storefront windows. To be honest, that kind of made me chuckle. :)

    Last but not least Melvin Deal is an Anacostia, Ward 8, and DC treasure. He has been providing free dance classes and mentoring to young people for well over 30 years. Sometimes there are more important things than rent and we are delighted and privileged to have him join us in The HIVE 2.0. His talents and passion are immeasurable.

    I understand and appreciate the concerns and comments about our projects. Feedback is important. However, if the only projects that were launched were those that were guaranteed success then nothing would ever get done. Someone has to be first and call that person a pioneer or a damn fool but god bless them for trying! :)

    Looking forward to where this next project takes us (and hopefully you to Anacostia).

    Optimistically Yours,

    Nikki Peele

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