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Foggy Bottom Community Awaits the Opening of "The Avenue" | Business

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Foggy Bottom Community Awaits the Opening of "The Avenue"
Foggy Bottom Community Awaits the Opening of "The Avenue"

When I first set eyes on "The Avenue", the construction across from the Foggy Bottom Metro station, in its early stages, I was skeptical of the structure.

The building, which will feature condominiums, shops, and offices, is really huge.  When it first broke ground, I wasn't all that comfortable with the idea of yet another giant building in the middle of Foggy Bottom, adding clutter to an already packed neighborhood.

But now, just months before the building is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2011, I'm starting to think differently.  While I'm not crazy about the fact that the building has crushed Foggy Bottom's remaining views of the horizon, in my opinion, the positives of the construction will far outweigh the negatives.  Why?

"It's going to be good for the whole Foggy Bottom area," Nasir Shahid, a street vendor who operates a stand across from The Avenue, said.  "It's going to bring jobs to the community. Condos, a huge food court, a big ole' office space, a grocery store: It's going to be huge, and it will bring a lot of activity.  It's going to be nice for the area."

The grocery store is a Whole Foods, which signed a lease with The Avenue for a space that spans 38,000 square feet.  

The shop will be a welcome sight to many Foggy Bottom residents.  It used to be that the only legitimate grocery store in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood was the Safeway in the Watergate building.  Then, in 2006, Trader Joe's moved into the West End area.  Once open, the Whole Foods in The Avenue will provide residents and George Washington University students with their first major grocery store right in the heart of Foggy Bottom.

Local business owners and street vendors like Shahid hope the condominiums and new construction as a whole will help attract even more people to the area, and in turn increase their sales.

"There are going to be many people living (in The Avenue), many people visiting," said Lynn Cheong who runs a food cart outside the Foggy Bottom Metro.  "It's going to help this area.  I think it will also be good business for me."

And while Shahid and Cheong are excited about the prospects of more customers, Foggy Bottom resident Brandon Rogers said he has fears that things won't all go as planned, and that the building might falter as some other new constructions have in the past.

"I'm excited about the new grocery," Rogers said. "However if (The Avenue) is like the rest of D.C.'s new projects, I anticipate expensive vacant condos and chain eateries for years to come."

How do you feel about The Avenue?  Good or bad for the Foggy Bottom community?   Are you excited for it open in 2011?

Let us know:  Leave a comment below or e-mail us at neighborhoodtips@wusa9.com.