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Posts Tagged ‘Jackie Blumenthal’

By Randy Rieland

From the February 2015 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

If you asked people in Glover Park what they’d like to see on the Wisconsin Avenue strip, it’s a good bet not many would say two drug stores.

But that’s what we’ll have soon when a new Rite Aid moves into 2251 Wisconsin Avenue, pretty much across the street from the CVS. For the past 10 years that space has been occupied by Glover Park Hardware. It closed in mid-January after it lost its lease.

The store’s owner, Gina Schaefer, said she found out in November that the landlord, Chesapeake Realty Partners, was not going to renew the lease and instead had chosen to rent the space to another business. That surprised Schaefer because she thought they had reached an agreement—although she says she did start to get suspicious when there was one delay after another in closing the deal.

Schaefer speculated that even though the Glover Park store was one of nine Ace Hardware franchise outlets she owns in DC and Baltimore, she lost out to a “nationally accredited tenant” because it would, in the eyes of the bank, bring more value to the property if Chesapeake Realty wants to sell the building. Chesapeake, based in Owings Mills, MD, is constructing an 82-unit apartment building in what used to be the parking lot behind the former hardware store and Washington Sports Club.

Glover Park ANC Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal confirmed that a Rite Aid will be going into the space. “Losing an Ace Hardware store is a big setback for the community,” she said. “Ace to Rite Aid is a terrible tradeoff.”

Blumenthal pointed out that as much as people in the neighborhood may want to see more independent businesses on Wisconsin Avenue, the relatively small Glover Park business community has very little leverage in influencing who outside property owners rent to. By contrast, she said, the much more robust business community in Georgetown is working together to try to slow the pace of national brands replacing independent businesses there.

“We have some really good businesspeople here,” Blumenthal added. “But you’d like to have a really dynamic business community. It’s adequate, but it’s getting less interesting.”

For her part, Schaefer wants to try to stay a part of it. She’s looking at another property elsewhere on Wisconsin but she didn’t want to reveal a location. As of this writing, no deal has been done. She regrets that she lost the space in the heart of the Glover Park business district. “It was a great store,” she said, noting that before it lost its parking lot to the apartment construction project, Glover Park Hardware ranked behind only her Tenleytown operation in terms of business.

Schaefer also said she’s been touched by the outpouring of support she’s heard from Glover Parkers. Someone actually wrote, “Can we lay down in the street for you?”

“It does make you feel good to know that the community was bummed about this because we definitely were bummed. We have absolutely loved this neighborhood.”

Schaefer said the store’s 24 employees will be shifted to her other hardware stores, including the ones in Tenleytown and Woodley Park.

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The owners of Glover Park Hardware (2251 Wisconsin Ave.) thought they had a deal to renew their lease, owner Gina Schaefer told the Georgetown Current. “The landlord decided at the last minute to lease to someone else. It felt like the worst part of business.”  The store, which opened in 2005, plans to close in mid-January.

Schafer said the shop is actively looking for a nearby location, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal told reporter Brady Holt that she was looking for ways to help make that happen. “This will be a terrible thing for the neighborhood if they go,” Blumenthal said.

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After repeatedly ruling that JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) could reopen without community comment, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board last week decided to investigate the strip club’s new interior configuration before opening its doors to the public.

Since January 2008, when a fire destroyed the original JP’s building, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B has asked the ABC Board several times to consider revoking the club’s liquor license. The ANC has raised questions about the club’s changing ownership, the club’s appropriateness to an increasingly kid-centric neighborhood, and, most recently, its plans to add semi-private performance spaces to the rebuilt club’s interior. The ANC argued that these spaces would increase the likelihood of illegal hanky-panky between performers and patrons and that it constituted a substantial change from the old club’s operations. By law, any substantial change must be approved by the liquor board.

On June 5, the board denied ANC Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal’s written request to investigate the semi-private spaces as a substantial change. But on June 12, after the JP’s ownership applied to reactivate the club’s dormant license, the board decided to hold a hearing on the matter after all. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration spokesman Bill Hager did not respond to emailed requests for comment, but a knowledgeable source outside the agency says that the hearing is likely to involve testimony only from an ABRA investigator. If the liquor board determines that the new interior layout of JP’s constitutes a substantial change, it must then decide whether the change is acceptable, which might involve a second hearing with community input. If the board sees no substantial change to the bar’s operations, it would likely reactivate the liquor license, allowing the club to reopen.

The fact-finding hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 19.

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From the May 2013 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Rooftop drinks may be in the offing at The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin). On April 24, the day the ABC Board was scheduled to hold a hearing on the bar’s application for permission to serve liquor on a new rooftop deck, co-owner Fritz Brogan and ANC commissioner Jackie Blumenthal each emailed the Board asking for extra time. “We are close to a settlement agreement, but a technical matter cannot be resolved quickly,” Blumenthal wrote. The protest hearing has been rescheduled for May 29.

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Mason Inn rooftop designIn January, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B lodged a formal protest to the application of Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) to serve alcohol on a new rooftop deck. Citing a history that includes multiple assaults inside the bar and a pending charge of violating a noise ordinance, the ANC expressed doubt about the bar’s ability to maintain order outdoors.

“ANC 3B feels strongly that the Mason Inn’s long record of disturbing the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood disqualifies it for the privilege of taking its business outside into public space,” wrote Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal in a letter to the chair of the ABC Board. “This is especially relevant given the close proximity of residences to the Mason Inn.” Other formal protests came from ANC 3C, which represents McLean Gardens and Massachusetts Avenue Heights; the Glover Park Citizens Association; and a group of 19 residents and property owners from the 2300 and 2400 blocks of 37th Street, represented by attorney Milton Grossman.

At the same time, many Glover Parkers expressed support of the roof deck plan. More than 150 neighborhood residents sent emails in favor of the deck. In addition, six residents (two sets of housemates) from nearby 37th Street submitted a letter strongly supporting the application, as did two Glover Parkers who live within blocks of the establishment. “It is clear that the ANC 3B is advocating their own agenda and not expressing the wishes of their constituents,” one of these letters states. “There is overwhelming support in the neighborhood for this application and there is talk that some residents may run against the ANC members due to their outrageous behavior.”

The ABC Board identified multiple groups, including ANC 3B, that have legal standing to protest the application. The Mason Inn will negotiate with these groups in an attempt to address their concerns in a modified license application. If a compromise can be reached, the protests will be withdrawn.

In the meantime, The Mason Inn received a warning letter from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration after a December 1 incident in which a visibly intoxicated man was served alcohol at the bar. According to a police report, at about 2:20 a.m., a detective watched a man with very red eyes and slurred speech “stumble to the bar and, while leaning on the bar, order two Bud Light beers.” The bartender served the beers, which were immediately confiscated by the detective “in fear that [the patron] would consume them quickly and become more intoxicated,” the report states. Selling alcohol to drunk people is against D.C. law. The next such incident could lead to charges against the bar, ABRA’s warning letter states.

A hearing on The Mason Inn’s pending noise complaint is scheduled for April 3.

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On August 13, two men—Jason K. Daniel and Philip M. Mathew—applied to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to take over the liquor license for the dormant JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.). On their application, the men listed themselves as the president, secretary, and managing member (Daniel) and vice president and treasurer (Mathew) of Wisconsin Ventures, LLC, the corporation that owns JP’s.

Last year, Local Man of Mystery Brian Petruska identified himself to ABRA as the president, secretary, and manager of Wisconsin Ventures. Now that Daniel holds those titles, where does that leave Petruska—let alone Paul Kadlick and Gokhan “Jake” Akkus, who in May represented themselves to ANC 3B as having bought a 90 percent share of JP’s?

We spoke to Kadlick, and he tried to explain the matryoshka doll of holding companies that now surrounds the strip club. Due to unspecified business and tax considerations, Kadlick says, he and Akkus did not end up purchasing the club directly. Instead, a partnership called The Vice Group purchased 90 percent of the shares in Wisconsin Ventures. The remaining 10 percent of the stock in Wisconsin Ventures was retained by Brian Petruska. Wisconsin Ventures owns a company called BJ Enterprises, which owns the JP’s license.

Kadlick is the authorized spokesperson for The Vice Group, but he insists that he does not hold an ownership stake in that group. Daniel and Mathew, who do hold ownership stakes, are both area nightclub promoters and managers who “are longtime associates of mine,” says Kadlick. They will be responsible for the club’s day-to-day operations, he adds. We asked Kadlick how he stood to gain from JP’s without being an owner, and he told us that the business is part of a larger structure of deals he could not discuss.

Last week, several Glover Park civic leaders sent a letter to ABRA chief Fred Moosally expressing concerns about the transfer application. In the letter, ANC commissioners Jackie Blumenthal and Brian Cohen, Glover Park Citizens’ Association president Sheila Meehan, and attorney Milton Grossman called upon ABRA to transfer the JP’s license only to “people who have demonstrated their qualification to run a legal, above-board operation.” The liquor board seems likely to go ahead with the transfer, though. In response to our inquiry, ABRA spokesman Bill Hager reminded us that, no matter who holds the license, JP’s will have to survive a public protest period before it’s allowed to reopen.

Kadlick plans to attend the September 13 ANC meeting, where he will discuss the club’s security and valet parking arrangements. He says the ANC should be reassured by his knowledge of the neighborhood and its needs. “I’m not embarrassed to tell you I’ve been a patron of JP’s for 20 years,” he says. “It’s an upscale neighborhood, and we’re going to cater to that customer.”

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The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics yesterday published the names of candidates running for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B in the November 6 general election. Each of the ANC’s five single-member districts will have one unopposed candidate.

Sitting commissioners Jackie Blumenthal, Charles Cinque Fulwood, and Brian Cohen are running for re-election in SMDs 2, 3, and 5, respectively. Joe Fiorillo is running to represent SMD 1, as his late wife, Cathy, once did. That district is currently represented by Ben Thielen, who is not running for re-election.

Mary C. Young is running to replace longtime ANC member Howie Kreitzman in SMD 4 (Cathedral Heights). Kreitzman resigned last month because he is moving to New York.

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