CI VIEW: Anacostia transforming DC’s East of the River from slum to East Coast Fintech hub UPDATE

ANACOSTIA, District of Columbia — (BBN) – (Updating on January 14, 2018 add interview with US Military Historian and Big League Politics President and National Political Editor Neil McCabe) — Anacostia, once one of the most violent and poorest African-American neighborhoods in the US, is rapidly transforming itself into the financial and applied technology hub of the eastern United States.

[Washington Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser with the late Marion Barry at Shannon Place inauguration answering a question from Capitol Intelligence/BBN on November 7, 2014]

The turnaround of Anacostia — whose geographic isolation across the Potomac River was used by white Washington to isolate many of the District’s African-Americans into an almost fortressed ghetto – is set to become one of the greatest economic transformations in the history of the United States.

One of the key project is the USD 45m Shannon Place office building, with unbeatable view if the US Capitol and the Mall, houses the office of defense giant General Dynamics and the DC Lottery.

The building was financed by the historic Anacostia “Big Chair” Curtis family furniture company through the family-owned Curtis Investment Group and project managed by Four Points.

In fact, Shannon Place and Anacostia has become the symbol of Washington DC’s economic renaissance, an African-American city that has in a little over a decade gone from being the murder capital of the United States to the intellectual capital of the world.

[AOL co-founder and Monumental Sports CEO Ted Leonsis  speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at the National Press Club]

There is no bigger and better cheerleader of Washington, DC than AOL co-founder and current owner of the Washington NHL hockey team the Capitals and the NBA’s Wizards, Monumental Sports & Entertainment co-founder and CEO Ted Leonsis.

Another major player in the new Washington economic renaissance is DC native and owner and founder of one of the United States largest privately-held real estate investment groups, The Peebles Corporation Chairman & CEO R. Donahue Peebles.

Peebles has returned to Washington from his current corporate headquarters in Coral Gables, Florida and Fifth Avenue, New York to participate in the continuing revitalization of Washington, DC and especially in Anacostia and East of the River Washington.

Peebles is also the vice chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the foundation that groups more than 40 African-American members of Congress and arguably the single most powerful single caucus in Congress in terms of seniority.

The economic revival of Anacostia — the home of Republican civil war hero and Black Maryland slave to freedom fighter, Frederick Douglass — is a top priority for Washington’s mayor-elect Muriel Bowser.

[The Peebles Corporation Chairman & CEO R. Donahue Peebles speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference]

A great representative of East of the River talent is cyber technology entreprenuer and former DC Chamber of Commerce presidentHarry Wingo.Bowser, who Washingtonians are now calling our very own Condoleezza Rice, has an easier job to make Anacostia into a Silicon Valley/Wall Street South than many non-native to  Washington may think.

Wingo, who is originally from an area in Southeast DC known for its local landmark– the Shrimp boat —  transformed his service as a US NAVY Seal to working at one of the country’s top 5 law firms Skadden Arps and then as a senior executive at Google.

Just few miles up from the center of Anacostia near the intersections of Martin Luther King Avenue and Good Hope Road, on the campus of St. Elizabeth Hospital is the new Washington DC innovation and corporate campus that will be hosting Microsoft and similar companies.

Next door to the corporate campus is the new federal headquarters of Homeland Security.

[Former US Navy Seal and Google executive Harry Wingo speaks to Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at The Economic Club of Washington event hosting Donald Trump on December 15, 2014]

Another important group eyeing Anacostia is Annapolis, Maryland-based Hogan Companies founded by recently elected Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and currently managed by his brother Timothy S. Hogan.

Hogan Companies are looking at real estate buys in the mid-Atlantic region and one area of particular interest is the Anacostia neighborhood, Hogan Companies Vice President for Equity Investments Phillip Charles Musgrave said.

During an interview at a National Harbor event where  Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III announced a major real estate development at New Carrollton, Musgrave said Hogan Companies are seeking two to three times return on investment over a two to three year period.

He said that returns in the mid-Atlantic regions, especially areas such Baltimore, Prince George’s County and East of the River DC are significantly higher than the tight, or saturated markets of New York City and Florida.

This news service and its partners have already made an offer worth over USD 1m  to takeover one of the last remaining disused buildings in the Anacostia business district located at 1500 Good Hope Road and to develop it into a financial media and data center appropriately to be named the Marion Barry, Jr./Frederick Douglass Financial Media and Data Hub.

However, Anacostia’s economic development must overcome the same type of economic prejudice that once made the area the worst slum in the United States of America.

The proposed development would also block the view from the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site operated by The National Park Service.

US Military Historian and Big League Politics President and National Political Editor Neil McCabe said any development blocking the panoramic view from Frederick Douglass home would disrespect the memory of one of America’s greatest freedom fighters.

[US Military Historian and Big League Politics President and National Political Editor Neil McCabe speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on negative impact on Sim Development zoning variance to add two floors to 1916 15th Street NE in Anacostia, DC. January 14, 2018]

In fact, Frederick Douglass chose to build his mansion on the high ground in Anacostia so he could view Maryland were he escaped as slave to the White House where he was a military adviser to President Abraham Lincoln and at the same time allow his former slave masters to witness his financial success as newspaper owner and publisher.

The persons behind the SIM Development have nothing to do with Washington, DC or Anacostia.

For example, the registered owner of 1500 Good Hope Road Michael G. Haile was only tracked down though cross referencing a Fairfax.Virginia registered SIM Development LLC which officially owns the property with Mr. Haile’s personal property tax records at 5613 Dogue Road Drive, in Fairfax Virginia.

DC revoked the business license of SIM Development in 2016 and company’s official address has moved from Fairfax County to 5637 W. 79th Street, Los Angeles.

Haile is a former executive for Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) while his wife Eyob currently works for Verizon at their Ashmore, Virginia campus, a source close to the couple said.

Mr. Haile, when notified by a noted Washington-DC attorney Benny Kass that an offer was made for the building that has been abandoned for almost three decades, thought he was being sued.

[Marion Barry, Jr./Frederick Douglass Financial Media and Data Hun and future headquarters of Capitol Intelligence Group at 1916 15th Street NE filmed using CI Glass]

Haile and Long and Foster Bethesda-based broker Jesse Kaye said that the ultimate owner of 1500 Good Hope Road is an absentee businessman who both gentlemen declined to identify. Haile said the owner is in no rush to develop the property notwithstanding Anacostia residents increasingly vocal opposition for the property remaining an eye-sore and blight on the neighborhood.

Kenneth C. Crickman, a lawyer with DC-based boutique Cooper & Crickman, supposedly representing the unidentified owner of 1916 15th Street wrote on Dec 26, 2014 “that our client intends to retain and develop the property and is therefore not interested in selling.”

Holly Muhammad, a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (ANC) for Anacostia, said she is tired of people who still consider DC’s East of the River a slum.

After having been contacted by Long and Foster Chairman and CEO Wes Foster, Jr following publication of the original news story, Kaye later clarified to Capitol Intelligence that the owner of 1500 Good Hope Road is an American businessman who spends about eight weeks at a time out of the country.

Kaye also said that the owner of the property had planned originally planned to develop the property and now wants to sell 1500 Good Hope Road. Kaye claims  the owner has even turned down one offer of USD 1.5m for the disused property.

The owner originally paid USD 250,000 for the property in 2010, according to DC public records.

However, Long and Foster’s Kaye said he had no knowledge of Mr. Michael G. Haile who also claims to be speaking for the unidentified owner. Kaye and Haile also offered no explanation why a US citizen would attempt to hide ownership interest from DC and Virginia public records.

According to a source close to the matter, the owner is currently working as a contractor in the war-torn and notoriously corrupt new nation of South Sudan that actor George Clooney met with President Obama to lobby for US sanctions against those working in the country.

In a new twist, the unknown beneficiary owners through the services of Ward 8 local politico and business facilitator, Capitol Services Management (CMSI) owner Phinis Jones  are seeking a special zoning variance from the DC Office of Zoning (DCOZ) to double the height of the two story building to give luxury millennial condo owners a priceless view of the United States Capitol and Washington, DC.

[Washington DC Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting on variance for 1916 15th Street SE with BZA Chair Frederick L. Hill; Vice Chair Carlton Hart; Capitol Services Management Phinis Jones; Ward 8 ANC Chair Troy Donte Prestwood; ANC 8A01 Holly Muhammad filmed by Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass]

CMSI’s  Phinis Jones also worked for infamous DC landlord Sandford Capitol, which  is currently the target of a lawsuit by Washington DC Attorney General and former Venables principal, Karl A. Racine,  for operating properties on Alabama Avenue, SE with “a pattern of neglect” that included maintaining premises with “vermin or rat infestation, filth or contamination, inadequate ventilation, illumination, sanitary, heating or life safety facilities, inoperative fire suppression or warning equipment, or any other condition that constitutes a hazard to its occupants or to the public.”

Hopefully, DC Attorney General Racine will investigate on why and how the unknown owners of 1500 were even able to get any consideration from DC Board of Zoning Adjustment for  a variance that is completely out of line with the historic nature of Good Hope Road and needs of Anacostia business district and its residents.

By PK Semler in Washington, DC. For more information please call +1-202-549-3399 or email

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