Wednesday, June 14, 2006

the city you live in is ugly

Weekend Update (yes, Wednesday is my weekend).

I woke up excitingly early this morning so that I could observe just how early construction noise began here at "The Takoma". I like to imagine that those slick, sexy people on the banner for the new "Takoma" [the building] website will live here in Takoma [the town] and call it something like 'a funky/artsy community'. They will call it "Berkeley of the East".

Almost a year and a half ago, the "great landlord" here at the Wedgewood (*website's info is out of date) announced that this building would join the herd stampeding towards condo development. After months of waffling, negotiating, and generally being in way over their heads, Wedgewood Limited Liability Limited Partnership (for real) finally gave up and sold the building (and all of us in it).

On April 25, 2006, I was ushered into the NOVO Family. Plans for a full overhaul of the building were thrown out for a more minimal and inexpensive approach. These plans seem to revolve around a group of muddy construction workers parading into the building in order to toss bathroom fixtures and cabinetry out of the windows of empty apartments and into the courtyard four floors below.

I would venture to guess that Takoma Park is well into its "urban sophisticate" stage of cityhood. I called the city office today and spoke with their Housing and Community Development Office. I asked whether they had a number on the new condo developments that have been started in the last two years. While she would not estimate the (large) number over the phone and I declined to write a request for the information, Linda Walker stated that new condo projects were "prolific".

The lack of response to this from the greater Takoma Park community is astounding. I have encountered a number of officials who have actually shrugged and said something to the effect of "can't fight the market". I am interested in how the changes in housing availability and price will effect the economic and social demographics of the area. I say "interested" as though I am an objective observer. I am not.


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