Gateway Market is a proposed development at the corner of Florida Ave and Morse St NE, a vacant lot next to DC’s largest active food wholesale market, Florida Market. Frozen Tropics and Richard Layman object to the project.

The comments on Layman’s article highlight the conflicting points of view. On the one hand, this site is currently empty, and near the New York Avenue Metro, a perfect spot for a nice condo building with some shops. On the other hand, it’s also at the entry point to the Florida Market. With noise and smells of food and trucks rumbling by at all hours, will building residences next to the market bring future citizens who will lobby to get rid of it?

DC should maintain its industrial areas and help them to thrive, as they support businesses around the city. Can they grow and change without disappearing? Can they coexist next door to new condos?

Whether you support the project or not, according to Frozen Tropics’ recap of the Zoning Commission hearing, the project proposes inward-facing retail for the block. That’s a terrible idea. Facing retail in toward an atrium permanently prevents it from contributing to a vibrant street. Maybe Florida and Morse aren’t the best streets for a stroll today. But they won’t ever be if this building fills an entire block with blank walls.

Look at GWU, with building after building of inward-facing retail. While a lively university is operating inside the walls, a visitor strolling by might wonder, where are all the people? We don’t need more buildings like that.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.