News and Analysis

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Nick Andricola.

A newly renovated hotel on F Street was awarded a liquor license earlier this month after a neighborhood group tried to block the measure two months ago.

The Allen Lee Hotel will be able to serve alcohol between 8 a.m and 11 p.m. on weekdays and until 12 a.m. on weekends on its sidewalk cafe, with different hours on the rooftop terrace and the courtyard terrace. Jim Abdo, the president and CEO of Abdo Development which is leading the renovation, said that he negotiated an agreement with the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the West End Citizens Association on Jan. 5 to quell neighbors’ original objections to the license.

The hotel, located at 23rd and F streets, has been under renovation since 2012. Once it’s finished, it will have 80 rooms that cost about $200 per night, according to Abdo’s plans from four years ago.

The ANC rejected Abdo Development’s original application for a liquor license in November for the new Allen Lee Hotel, which will be called “Hotel Hive,” after neighbors were concerned that the license would make the hotel too noisy.

Abdo said he would restrict the hours for the bar from his original proposition, when he requested to be able to sell alcohol until 2 a.m. on weeknights and until 3 a.m. on weekends in the hotel, and nix live and outside entertainment.

“We’ve already signed onto an agreement that meets the ANC’s concerns with their respect to hours,” Abdo said. “We will limit hours outside to reasonable hours on weeknights and weekends which is reasonable and consistent with that we want for the hotel.”

Abdo Development had originally bought the hotel for $3.6 million in 2006.

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A GW-owned property on Pennsylvania Avenue landed its first tenant last week for what is to be a state-of-the-art office building in a prime location.

An international law firm with a D.C. office currently at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue signed on to the top five floors of the 11-story building in a project that will be 2112 Pennsylvania Ave., The Washington Business Journal reported last week.

The firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, will move into the building being developed by Skanska USA in January 2019. The building’s construction is expected to last about 30 months. Since the developers went ahead with construction last semester without any tenants planned for the new building, the designs included flexible floor plans that could accommodate different types of tenants.

Rob Ward, the executive vice president for Skanska, told The Washington Business Journal that developers can now tailor more of the construction designs to Cleary Gottlieb’s needs for the building now that they signed on to the lease. Ward did not respond to requests for comment except in a press release.

The decision to move forward with construction on the new office building before tenants were established shows a “vote of confidence” in the project, Ward said.

Mark Nelson, an administrative partner at Cleary Gottlieb’s Washington office, said in a press release that the law firm was attracted to the building’s sustainability goals and high-end quality. Representatives from Cleary Gottlieb did not return requests for comment.

“The new building is very close to our current location, ensuring a seamless transition and convenience for both our clients and our personnel,” Nelson said.

GW first partnered with Skanska in 2014, handing over the reigns to the development firm to transform two GW buildings, an existing office building and a few row homes into a state-of-the-art office building. Developers began demolition on the existing buildings last November.

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Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 2:39 p.m.

SMPA announces 2016 Shapiro fellows

Two media and public affairs scholars were recently added to the list of prestigious Shapiro fellows.

The School of Media and Public Affairs announced the 2016 J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro fellows last week, honoring Yong-Chan Kim, a communication professor, and Laura King, an international journalist, according to a release.

The fellowship was created in 1997 as part of the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Charitable Trust. To qualify to be a Shapiro fellow, recipients must be active professionals in the field of media and public affairs. Fellows are involved in SMPA activities and are invited to campus for an academic semester to teach.

Kim is a communication professor at Yonsei University in South Korea, and serves as director of their Urban Socio-Spatial Informatics Center and principal investigator of Urban Communication Lab. He is currently teaching a course on communication and the city this semester in SMPA.

“This course is designed to help undergraduate-level students have a good understanding about how communication technologies and urban communities are shaping one another,” Kim said in the release.

Kim said that he enjoys speaking with people in SMPA and that the District is a perfect place to be since he is interested in urban communication.

King is currently on leave from her post as the Los Angeles Times Bureau Chief in Cairo, Egypt. She previously served as a correspondent for the Associated Press. This semester King is teaching a writing and war course in SMPA, exploring how a writer’s point of view can influence the reporting of an event.

“I’m delighted to be teaching ‘Writing and War’ this semester and to have a chance to spend time with such bright and engaged students,” King said in the release. “I’m looking forward to interacting with the larger GW community, with all its diverse interests.”

Both Kim and King will host brown bag talks on their areas of expertise for SMPA faculty and students.

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Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 11:12 a.m.

Snow keeps some services shut down Monday

Updated: Jan. 24, 2016 at 6:07 p.m.

The snow may not be falling anymore, but it’s still closing schools (and setting off alarms).

GW announced around 3 p.m. on Sunday that the University would be closed on Monday. The federal government and the Washington Metro Transit Authority have not announced whether they will be closed tomorrow. But we’ll keep a list of closures updated here:

D.C. public schools closed Monday

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Sunday that the city’s public schools will be closed on Monday. Bowser declared a state of a emergency for the city on Thursday. City officials have been urging residents to remain off the roads so that city employees can continue the cleanup.

University of Maryland stays closed

Our neighbors in College Park were supposed to start classes after winter break on Monday. Instead, University of Maryland students have another two days off due to the storm.

Vern Express service suspended Sunday

The Vern Express will not run on Sunday, the service tweeted Saturday night and again Sunday morning. The bus between the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses has been suspended since Friday at 5:15 p.m.

GW closed on Monday

A University advisory said that classes were canceled and offices closed on Monday. All GW classes and events on Sunday were canceled on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses.

American, Howard and Georgetown universities closed Monday

GW is in good company. American, Howard and Georgetown universities are also closed Monday.

Limited Metro service Monday

Metro announced “lifeline” services on underground rail only on Monday, according to a tweet. Officials waved the fare on all rides. Officials also said trains would run every 20 to 25 minutes starting at 5 a.m., and more service could be added during the day, according to a release. The orange line will run from Ballston to Eastern Market. The red line will run from Medical Center to Union Station. The green line will run from Fort Totten to Anacostia.

Metrobus will run on 22 routes about every 30 minutes. There will be no MetroAccess service on Monday, according to the release.

Officials also extended free overnight parking in Metro lots until Tuesday.

D.C. and federal governments closed Monday

The D.C. government and the federal government will both be closed on Monday.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents to stay off the streets so the cleanup can continue.

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Residents of Lafayette Hall were temporarily moved to the Marvin Center for about half an hour Saturday night.

A snow-covered air vent caused a carbon monoxide alarm to sound in the residence hall, which about 130 students live in, at approximately 8:15 p.m., University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said.

She said D.C. Fire and EMS, as well as University Police Department officers, responded to the alarm.

“DC Fire and EMS and GWPD quickly identified the cause of the issue to be a snow covered air intake vent,” Csellar said. “We thank the students for their cooperation during the evacuation.”

Csellar said the building was cleared for reentry at approximately 8:45 p.m.

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GW classes, events and other activities taking place at noon or afterward Friday are canceled, according to a campus advisory posted Thursday at 6:49 p.m.

The announcement includes events on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses, and other locations throughout the Arlington and D.C. metropolitan areas.

A major snowstorm is expected to hit the D.C. area starting Friday, leaving behind anywhere from 16 to 30 inches of snow, Capital Weather Gang reported.

The Metro will shut down all services Friday night, and D.C. public schools and the city government will also be closed all day.

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Customers poured into the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods to stock up before the storm. Paige James | Hatchet Photographer

Customers poured into the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods to stock up before the storm. Paige James | Hatchet Photographer

Updated: Jan. 22, 2016 at 3:09 p.m.

It’s all anyone in D.C. can talk about – snow, snow, snow.

Capital Weather Gang is now predicting that as much as 15 to 30 inches of snow could hit D.C. this weekend, and while students (and some faculty) hope for a snow day, other D.C. agencies have already shut down in anticipation of the storm.

While there’s still no word from the federal government on whether or not they will be open tomorrow, here’s what’s already been shut down in D.C.:

The Vern Express resumes service

The Vern Express resumed service at 30 minute intervals at 7 a.m. this morning after officials suspended service at around 8 p.m. last night due to “poor road conditions,” University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email.

The shuttle opened from 11:15 p.m. until midnight last night to bring students back to their respective campuses, Csellar said. She said the University had staff members posted at the pick-up locations on both campus to provide updates to students and also updated the community through Twitter.

“We thank everyone for their patience during the weather that resulted in challenging road conditions,” Csellar said.

After resuming operation this morning, the Vern Express then began operating on a 15-minute schedule at 8:30 a.m., according to the bus’s Twitter account.

Eckles Library tutoring shut down Sunday

The University cancelled tutoring at Eckles Library on the Mount Vernon Campus Sunday due to weather concerns, according to the library’s official Twitter account.

D.C. public schools closed Friday

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday that the city’s public schools will be closed on Friday. Schools began classes two hours late on Thursday after snow Wednesday night left roads coated in ice and snow.

Bowser apologized for the the city’s delayed response to the weather Wednesday night in a press conference, The Washington Post reported Thursday. She declared a state of emergency in D.C. ahead of Friday and Saturday’s expected snowfall.

“We are very sorry for the inadequate response,” she said. “We did not provide adequate resources at a time when it could have made a difference with the commute.”

D.C. government to close early Friday

Bowser also announced that the D.C. government will close early on Friday because of the impending snowfall.

Howard University closed Friday through weekend

Howard University will be closed Friday until Sunday, the university said in a statement Thursday.

“Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take caution and adhere to warnings/alerts,” the statement reads. “Essential employees should report to work unless otherwise indicated by their manager.”

Metro closed for the weekend

The Metro will operate from 5 a.m. Friday to 11 p.m. Friday, and remain closed on Saturday and Sunday, according to a press release from the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.

“Metro will protect hundreds of railcars by storing them in the tunnels during the storm,” according to the release.

Metrobuses will only operate on major routes during the day on Friday, and shut down system-wide starting at 5 p.m., according to the release.

Colonial Health Center closing at noon on Friday

The student health center will be closed until next week, according to an email from campus housing. Students are advised to ensure they have at least a five-days supply of their prescriptions, and can call the numbers listed on the Health Services website for medical and mental health questions.

Federal Government is out, too

The Federal Government is closed starting at noon on Friday, according to the Office of Personnel Management, with all federal offices in the D.C. area closing.

Emergency employees will remain at their worksites, unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Looking to study through the storm?

Look somewhere other then Gelman: the library will be closing at three on Friday, according to its twitter. If you’re looking to drown your sorrows in a hot beverage, hurry, because its beloved counterpart, Gelbucks, has posted it will also be closing at 1:30 p.m.

Gallery has your back

Gallery Cafe will remain open this weekend from 6:30 a.m. to “late night,” according to a sign posted in the window of the joint. If you didn’t stock up enough food beforehand, feel free to satisfy your midnight cravings at this brave cafe.

Limited 4RIDE service

There will be no 4RIDE service Friday night or Saturday, according to a tweet from the Division of Operations. Service will resume on Sunday.

J Street to open for weekend service

J Street, which is normally closed on the weekends, will open in two-hour shifts for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday.

The Marvin Center dining hall will open from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m, noon to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, according to an update to GW’s advisories website.

The Vern Express suspends service

The Vern Express suspended service at 5:15 p.m. on Friday and weekend service is dependent on road conditions.

The University encouraged students to “consider being on the campus where where they intend to spend their weekend by Friday afternoon to avoid any transportation related issues” on its advisories website.

Jacqueline Thomsen, Lila Weatherly, Ellie Smith, Colleen Murphy and Jeanine Marie contributed reporting.

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Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 1:43 p.m.

Head of admissions office to resign

Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton, posing here during an accepted student days event last spring, will resign at the end of the semester.  Hatchet file photo by Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer.

Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton, posing here during an accepted student days event last spring, will resign at the end of the semester. Hatchet file photo by Judy Lim | Hatchet Staff Photographer.

This post was written by Hatchet Editors Colleen Murphy and Jacqueline Thomsen.

Dean of Admissions Karen Stroud Felton will resign at the end of the semester, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

Felton told her staff of the decision during a meeting Thursday morning. She is the fifth high-level administrator to leave the University this academic year.

Felton came to GW in 2010, according to her LinkedIn page. She was with the admissions office through two admissions scandals over the last several years. GW was kicked off of U.S. News and World Report rankings in 2012 for inflating admissions data for more than a decade. Two years ago, officials publicly admitted for the first time that they wait list hundreds of applicants each year who cannot afford GW’s tuition.

Felton was the face of GW for applicants going through the admissions process. She attended multiple high-profile events throughout the year, including admitted students days, Colonial Inauguration and events throughout the country for interested students.

Felton has not sat for an interview with The Hatchet since February of 2014.

Laurie Koehler, senior associate provost for enrollment management, said in a statement that Felton was “instrumental” in her role as head of admissions.

“She has many talents, and I continue to talk to her about other opportunities here at GW,” Koehler said. “She will continue to be completely invested in the success of this year’s admissions process and will continue to lead the office in successfully enrolling a great GW class of 2020.”

Koehler added that a national search for a new dean of admissions will begin immediately.

Felton also oversaw the implementation of GW’s test-optional admissions policy this summer, which officials hope will draw more diverse candidates to GW. She is part of a team of top administrators focused on making GW more accessible to low-income and minority students. Admissions staff have visited local high schoolers and worked with groups on campus to walk them through the admissions process.

In December, University President Steven Knapp announced far-reaching budget cuts: all central administrative divisions, which could include the admissions office, will need to make 3 to 5 percent cuts each budget year for the next five years. Officials also cut about 5 percent from all central divisions last year due to a drop in graduate enrollment.

Officials admitted 45 percent of applicants to this fall’s freshman class, part of an effort to grow class sizes and increase tuition revenue amid cutbacks.

GW’s total financial aid pool swelled to $260 million last spring, an 11 percent increase. The undergraduate portion of the fund grew by about 6.5 percent to help keep up with the larger class size.

Officials brought Koehler into the office in 2013 in a new position as senior associate provost for enrollment management to lay out a data-driven recruitment strategy and better understand why students end up choosing schools other than GW.

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Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 9:32 p.m.

Vern Express service suspended

Vern Express service is suspended due to inclement weather and hazardous road conditions, according to the bus services’ official Twitter account.

Students were told at about 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday to “take temporary shelter” in Funger Hall and the Marvin Center on the Foggy Bottom Campus and in Ames Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus to await bus service.

University officials did not immediately return request for comment.

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Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 3:33 p.m.

SA president nominates EVP replacement

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Sage Wylie.

Student Association President Andie Dowd nominated the SA’s vice president for judicial and legislative affairs, Zack Speck, to replace former executive vice president Casey Syron this week.

The senate must confirm Speck’s nomination with a simple majority vote, Dowd said, and will vote its next meeting on Monday. If Speck, who is a senior, is confirmed by the senate, he will serve until the newly elected executive vice president takes over in May. SA elections will be held on March 9 and 10, the Joint Elections Committee announced Tuesday.

Syron resigned Friday, citing personal and health reasons.

Speck said he hopes to continue to work on similar projects to Syron, including finding ways to cut costs for students and working with administrators to keep student space on the first floor of the Marvin Center.

“I hope to continue the work Casey’s already started. It’s a little late to do anything new and crazy, but I hope to just complete those tasks or the ones that we can complete. I want the Senate to remain as productive as possible,” Speck said.

Speck said he felt confident that the senate would confirm his nomination Monday. He said he is “familiar with the bylaws, rules, everything” and expects to serve until May.

Dowd said she nominated Speck, who’s served on the SA for three years, because he has experience with both the senate and the executive branches. Speck also served as the president of the JEC during last year’s elections.

“He sees over constitutionality during senate meetings, so he has a great understanding of the senate,” she said. “He’ll be an asset in meetings with administrators.”

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