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From W-JLA Channel 7 News

"...At a time when D.C.'s office vacancy rate has soared and many businesses have either left or are struggling – especially downtown...D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Nina Albert...emphasized that $19.6 million in grants are available...$3 million available in grants to help businesses that want to open or expand in commercial space that has been vacant for at least six months downtown..."

A patron saint for Downtown Washington's bloat, gouging, sharky office space developers? (Shark-R Salas/M Bowser-AP/C Brehman/Photomanip-Capicostia)

From the Capicostia Desk...

'Bail out' may be a more fitful accounting of Mayor Muriel Bowser's valiant campaign to revitalize a Downtown Washington, underwater with vacant, overpriced office buildings and retail spaces, not accruing valuable revenue for the DC Treasury - more fitful than 'prop up', I think.

The loss of revenue, being the lifeblood of a municipality, which pays for roads, sanitation, emergency services and public education, is a very urgent matter, indeed. Pardon me, if I think we're all a little late to the rescue.

The truth, as I see it, is...COVID flight and working-from-home didn't do this to Downtown Washington, as we D.C. residents are often invited to believe.

Downtown's office real estate is failing, because the under-regulated real estate industry has been gouging small business owners and larger American corporations, ..with overpriced leasing agreements, well before the COVID changed the way D.C. does business in NoMa, Penn Quarter, Georgetown and the rest of those posh places...down there. Businesses, which had moved workers from downtown offices to laptops at home, abandoning large, pricey offices for smaller, cheaper spaces - and those who'd abandoned Downtown D.C., altogether - were already bleeding out from high rent, when the COVID exodus of 2020 drove off even more businesses...

Until the price of doing business, anywhere near Downtown, had left everyone, up to their monogram-scarved necks in deep, unfriendly waters. Still fulla' hungry sharks...looks like! [Heh!]

Subletting, short-term leasing, coworking and virtual office (my favorite) leasing agreements have been making astronomically unaffordable office spaces, accessible to small businesses and non-profit orgs, for DECADES...since the Marion Barry Era! Isn't it terrible that this city can't find a way to turn this vacancy crisis, which Mayor Bowser is ready to pelt with multi-million dollar grants, ..into an opportunity for all the teeny-tiny and struggling businesses, who've always wanted a posh office in Downtown Washington, ..but couldn't afford one? What if the D.C. Government just, well...gave THEM all of that grant money [Like straight-up gave it to them!], instead of giving it to the...

Oh well, Capicostia. It's Washington...isn't it? God save the blameless and powerful. I think Mayor Bowser is making the BEST of this mess, as present circumstances will allow, and she is a GREAT mayor...

But the commercial rent, Downtown, is too damn high - higher than most of us can afford or abide. That, and not the post-COVID vacancies, is the real problem and deserving of the most urgent civic remediation.

Read the article, by Tom Roussey, here ..on ABC Channel 7 News, W-JLA. 

Edgar Miraculous (Mel) Dyer, without his fine, coyote-hatin' Goldiweiller, Kirby (now moved on to that big, coyote-hatin' hate group in the Sky) continues a somewhat bleaker, dogless existence in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC. He has been an active member of the Latino Culture Council of the Capitol Area (El Consejo de Cultura Latina – La Zona del Capitolio) and the Kiwanis Club of Capitol Hill.


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