I've lived in the D.C. Metropolitan area my entire life. I was born in the city. I've spent most of my adult life in the city. I remember when Penn Quarter/Chinatown/Gallery Place was a dangerous wasteland of shadows, crumbling buildings, drug dealers, hookers, and various other unpleasantness.
And I remember when the art galleries came. They were the first wave of development to this forgotten part of the city. They were a beacon of hope that business and beauty can survive and thrive amongst the hulls and shells and devastation. Then came a sit-down eatery or two. Then came more businesses. Then came The Verizon Center. Then came development in earnest. Now look at the neighborhood and how far they've come.
Some people are hoping that history can repeat itself in the most desolate of desolate places. It's true that "the arts aren't the 'be all and end all'" and that there will still be plenty of work to do. But with these art-related businesses opening and the Department of Homeland Security moving in relatively soon, one can't help but see a reenactment of "The Rebuilding Of Penn Quarter" right here in SE DC.
I, for one, am very excited for my Ward.