Busboys and Poets: Gentrifier Magnet?
UrbanTurf has an interesting, if puffy, piece on its site today about Busboys and Poets' magnetic attraction for condo shoppers in the District and Shirlington. Developers apparently love the lefty enclaves for their ability to draw potential tenants to pricey condos.
[Busboys owner Andy Shallal] noticed early on that condo sales at CityVista “increased greatly” when Busboys signed its lease, a trend which continued after it opened in September 2008. The success of its arrival has been echoed by developers and residents alike.
The real estate site goes on to give B&P credit for helping to gentrify neighborhoods while still honoring their past. I've spoken to Shallal numerous times, and I know that acknowledging D.C.'s past is a point of pride for the restaurateur, right down to his latest venture, Eatonville, which pays homage to Zora Neale Hurston and her D.C. connections, including her undergraduate studies at Howard University. But here's what I wonder:
Is it possible to honor a neighborhood's past and change its very character at the same time? I mean, U Street looks nothing like it did five years ago. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Photo of Andy Shallal by Darrow Montgomery