Reeves Center part of D.C. United stadium deal

(Photo courtesy DC gov)

The Reeves Center was created to invigorate a blighted neighborhood. But now it’s a remnant of blight itself.

The deal to build a new stadium for the D.C. United includes a proposed swap. Land in southwest for the now choice piece of property on which the Reeves Center stands, 14th and U streets in northwest.

While development surges here, the Reeves Center stands as a symbol of cheap 1980's construction. On the ground of the intended retail hub is a string of empty shops. Above it are vacant space and structural problems. If it gets the property, Akridge Development apparently wants to replace the Reeves Center with something higher end.

The Reeves Center also bears the name of the man who got it built, Marion Barry. Even he likes the proposal, since the deal calls for a new Reeves Center for another blighted community in Barry's own Ward 8.

Irving Johnson, 92, has run a shoe repair shop here for decades. Word of the possible demise of his space hit him hard.

“Trying to run us out of the city,” says Johnson, the owner of Dukes Shoe Repair. “Because condos down there now they too much for a black man's pocket.”