Whole Foods or Whole Conspiracy in Columbia Heights

How can you stir up a DC community newsgroup faster? Defend $600K condos or tantalize with a new Whole Foods? For Columbia Heights, the usual comment baiting around gentrification is getting shoved aside by hopes of a Whole Foods in the new DC USA development.

Driven mainly by the posts on both Columbia heights and Adams-Morgan newsgroups by the anonymous Columbia Heights News, a whole slew of comments are slinging through cyberspace.

The best post so far questions why Columbia Heights News is jumping into the fray anonymously. They say their “a husband and wife team who are very excited to be a part of the Columbia Heights community” but their website’s “Community” tab leads to a forum for those who “have purchased a condominium or apartment unit that is currently under development or are interested in doing so” and they’ve conveniently made separate sections for each of the new residential developments in Columbia Heights.

Then there is the amazing access to developers (on-record quotes from Whole Foods, Grid Properties, Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, Newmark Knight Frank) that suggests deep corporate pockets that are hoping a huge Whole Foods opens in DC USA, boosting real estate prices in Columbia Heights.

Yes, a couple who “recently bought a beautiful rowhome in Columbia Heights that needed a lot of TLC”, scared of a 37% off sale, could possibly be putting in this much effort in a community website, finding Whole Foods a good starter topic, but why would they do it so cloaked in secrecy? They even registering the Columbia Heights News website through the anonymizer site DomainsByProxy.com!

Me, I smell conspiracy. Whadda you smell?

18 Comments so far

  1. Stacey (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 10:50 am

    It’s definitely a corporate-sponsored sites – which I’m not “for” or “against,” (in fact, I like these kinds of tactics, they are at the least creative) but it’s defintely corporate sponsored.

    Also, the married Columbia Heights couple probaby actaully does exist – it’s sort of how this is done for CYA reasons. So there mostly likely are two folks that are running it, but taking instruction and funds from a second tier contributor.

    That’s my guess anyway!

  2. Revenue (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 11:17 am

    Nobody’s commented on the Google Ads on CHN. Their selfless project makes an attempt to generate revenue on every page.

  3. ihatecolumbiaheightsnews (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 11:51 am

    right on! tealspider

  4. wayan (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 12:11 pm

    Noon Update: the secrecy of Columbia Heights News has taken over the Columbia Heights newsgroup – 20 of the last 30 posts are folks wondering who is behind it. I got dibs on a local housing real estate firm backing a realtor couple.

  5. TEALSPIDER (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

    With this many people on the case following the money trail – we will know sooner rather than later who the Corporate 2nd tier contributor is.

  6. susan (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

    This is clearly a bought and paid for site. What “couple” spends there days calling retail negotiators?

    And why are there pictures up from the inside of DCUSA that aren’t on any of the developers sites?

  7. tealspider (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

    by the way i’ve been posting as tealspider and ihatecolumbiaheightsnews on the ch news group to see if i can get some answers about these damn posers. i have a vendetta. I HATE THEM!!!! i’ll give you the dibs on what i find on these good for nothing yuppie, racist trash. someone on the news groups said that the local housing real estate firm is wiloby. does wiloby do business in ch? stay tuned.

  8. wayan (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 6:13 pm

    Well the Oracle of CHN has spoken. In a 2,000 word manifesto, the husband says they’re just a nice couple trying to improve the neighbourhood and yet still need their privacy. To quote:

    Some of you need our names so you can pry into every aspect of our personal lives, our careers, our education, our history, before you are satisfied that we don’t have all these elaborate ulterior motives that some of you have suggested.

    My answer – um, hell yeah, we do need to know who you are. That’s called “healthy skepticism” and needed often on the Internet and with DC’s hot real estate market. Especially when you’re running a site so seeming corporate and pro-development as Columbia Heights News.

  9. Joseph LeBlanc (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

    “This is clearly a bought and paid for site.”

    FYI, it’s running Joomla with what appears to be a knock-off of a freebie template. So I don’t know that they paid THAT much for it.

  10. N N (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

    LOL… You folks are just UNBELIEVABLE.. conspiracy my ass… get a life.

  11. concerned citizen (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 10:10 pm

    it is called propaganda

    what a simple thing they could have done – hey i’m dick and this is my wife jane, we live on harvard (or any st. in ch) – and people wouldn’t be questioning their motives

    clearly they are new to dc

    and also people who want to be a part of a communtiy – get to know the community with a handshake and a “i’m dick” before they start serving the community

    and did anyone else notice the forums on housing are for properties that no one can live in yet – obvious who they cater to

  12. CNH SUCKS (unregistered) on January 17th, 2006 @ 12:39 am

    who the f are these peeps anyway? thnx for exposing these posers. they just want your friggn money man. these white trash don’t belong anywhere near this ‘hood yo. we need to run these fools out. yo wayan, give us their names man. we need to teach them a lesson. we aint’ stupid. tealspider and ihatecnh. that some cleva sh*t man. fight fire with fire. keep the ch ‘news’ rollin

  13. chn sucks (unregistered) on January 17th, 2006 @ 12:54 am

    1 mo thing. dnt ever give these punks ur credit card nno. thy’ll take all your mula and run ther white a’s to the hills. if thy ever ask for your credit call the cops on them. theyll be busted man.

  14. concerned citizen (unregistered) on January 17th, 2006 @ 1:26 am

    let’s calm down guys. btw, wayan, good post. who is behind this website? what’s the name of the local real estate firm? i tried to look up wiloby but they don’t seem to be a part of dc. is it one of those underground organizations who secretly feed these guys money? they got sponsored links all over their site. maybe these guys are behind it. you can’t trust their motives. even the real estate firm they’re dealing with is sketchy at best. thanks for cracking this story. give us the real estate firm name and we can all do a little sleuthing ourselves ;). i live for these kinds of things. thanks.

  15. tealspider (unregistered) on January 17th, 2006 @ 9:27 am

    You guys have been asking me about that CHN thing that i broke out yesterday. Thanks for the comments. i’m about 60/40 certain who they are and what real estate firm they are working with. Patience guys. I’ll give you the dibs by noon today.

    i posted as tealspider to let them guys on CH know about my article.


    These Oracles are simply amazing. Do they really think we’re that stupido?! Um, yes, we need to know their names. “Healthy skepticsm” is what drives this country, especially this city of DC. Real Estate is tanking. People are taking desparate measures like these CHN folks. The rich keep getting richer. Who needs whole foods in CH anyway. It’s not like we don’t have a spanky ass brand new giant here anyway. Do we need another corporate giant? They need to be stopped at all cost. Anonymity is never a good thing. stay tuned guys. Lets all join together and say I HATE COLUMBIA HEIGHTS NEWS!!!!!

  16. updates (unregistered) on January 17th, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

    come on does anyone have new updates?

    they aren’t updating the site – did they get the hint

    long live borf

  17. wayan (unregistered) on January 25th, 2006 @ 12:28 am

    From: Jim Graham – ANC Council Member
    Date: Tue Jan 24, 2006 8:32 am
    Subject: Whole Foods and Columbia Heights

    Dear Friends: I have been reading with interest the recent emails concerning whether Whole Foods was coming to the Parcel 27 development. I have contacted Drew Greenwald, who is the person heading this development for his statement on the status of this matter. I am passing along his statement fro yesterday for your information. I think it is important that we all have the latest facts on this matter.

    Bests Councilmember Jim Graham


    Dear Jim: As you know Whole Foods has been looking at DC USA for several years and we have signed two separate letters of intent with them over that time period. In each case they have pulled back because of their concerns over parking. The store would have been 53,000 square feet on two levels (35,000 square feet at grade).

    With regard to the parking issue Whole Foods looks to have complete control over a finite number of spaces. After Closing we plan to explore this issue with them once again. There are two obstacles – tax exempt bond financing which does not permit dedicated parking and Target which does not require its own dedicated parking and thus does not permit others to have it either.

    We will continue with our efforts to convince the company that the nature of the location with a significant number of people either walking to it or arriving by public transportation reduces the need for dedicated parking. Additionally the presence of a 1,000 car garage is different than the typical Whole Foods location.

    I think a continued push from the community can only have a positive impact. We will keep you up to date on our efforts.

    Thank you again for all of your overwhelming support for DC USA.

    Drew Greenwald

  18. wayan (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    The sneaky developer claiming to be a resident conspiracy theory for the backing of Columbia Heights News is over. CHN came out of the closet yesterday and is a real neighbour-to-be.

    Welcome to the ‘hood Robin, and thanks for being you. We wouldn’t want it any other way.

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