Photo by Norman Metzger
 
     
   
Interview with:  

Frank Reed

Interview Date:   March 13, 2006
Interviewer:   Stephanie Deutsch
Transcriber:   Rona Razon, Kristin Moe
    This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.
 
   
 
   

TAPE 1/SIDE 1

DEUTSCH: This is Stephanie Deutsch. I'm with Frank Reed on March 12, March 13, 2006. We're at 500 East Capitol Street. Frank just say something, say testing.

REED: Testing. This is Frank Reed, at Stephanie Deutsch's house. It's about 2:15.

DEUTSCH: Why don't you start by telling me how Stanton Development came into being.

REED: It came into being in 1983. I'd been practicing law downtown since 1959 and had represented a number of real estate types: developers, builders and so forth over the course of my career. And then bought a property on Ninth Street and built a house on it, that was 306 Ninth Street SE. And at that time I was representing one of the more notorious developers on the Hill, Bob Hess. I say that, you know, not pejoratively necessarily, but he was well-known for a number of different reasons --

DEUTSCH: Not all of them good?

REED: Not all of them good. And I saw what he and others were doing up here and in the way of development and I thought it was something that could be done better. And at about that time I met Kitty Kaupp. And a law partner of mine at that time, Richard Ross, introduced both Kitty and I to Ken Golding, having made known that we were interested in doing some developing up here on Capitol Hill. So, I don't know how much detail you want . . . the long version is I'd owned a property at 311 Mass Avenue NE. Two doors away was the old Bosley Animal Hospital. Now this is going back to the early 80s.

DEUTSCH: Yeah, but I remember that.

REED: You do?

DEUTSCH: Yeah.

REED: Okay and the Bosley Animal Hospital had sort of a mixed reputation also. And Kitty and I approached the owner, I forget his name now, and he was not interested in selling. But we left our card, we left the contract and, lo and behold, about a year or so later he called up and said he had decided to retire and he was interested in negotiating with us. So that was our first property. That is now 317 Mass[achusetts] Avenue NE. While we were doing that, there were three townhouses across the street: 320, 322, and -- I forgot now, but anyway in the 300's. We call it 320 Mass Avenue. It came on the market, and we were able to get down to Southern Maryland and meet the owner and acquire those. So we then have these projects going in stereo, one across the street from the other, and we were in this feet-first at that point.

Just to show you how things evolve [laughs], Ken was in a chamber music group of amateurs in which Amy Weinstein was also involved. Amy was a cellist. And she had just entered her own practice as an architect. So we contacted her and she became our architect for 317 and you probably know, she's done a number of other projects for us.

DEUTSCH: She's the main architect you've worked with, isn't she?

REED: She is, yes. We didn't, unfortunately, we weren't able to work with her for the Lenox townhouse project because Amy had sort of burnt out. Burned herself out on the Ellen Wilson project, which I consider far and away the most magnificent achievement in the Hill in the 25 years that I have been involved in the Hill. I mean it's just incredible. I mean it's such a gateway! Coming off the Southeast Expressway and taking the Sixth Street ramp, time was the first thing you saw were these totally rundown original Ellen Wilson dwellings. It was just hideous and gave the Hill a terrible image. Well you know, it's like day and night, it's just unbelievable. And every time I go through that project I see something different, some detail different.

DEUTSCH: Why do you say Amy burnt out on it, just because it was so big?

REED: It was big. She did not have a huge shop. And she, I think, underestimated it. I would not want to be quoted on this. But this is my personal observation, I think she underestimated it. Fee wise. And was stuck with what she originally estimated. And she was dealing with some tough builders, tough contractors from Boston. And a not very supportive cast of characters in terms of the developer. You know, I was involved with it because I was on the Ellen Wilson Community Developing Corporation for probably seven or eight years. Dick had been on it for ten or 12, right from the get go.

DEUTSCH: Dick Wolf?

REED: Wolf. That was chaired by David Perry. I mean they put a lot of pressure on her. And she was trying to hold her ground to make sure that they build it according to the plans, I mean as any architect would. And there was a lot of pressure on her from certain quarters to cut corners and do this and change the design and so forth. She held her ground but it was very fatiguing and tedious for her.

DEUTSCH: So after the Mass Ave. developments what was the next thing you did? The Kresge's was a big . . .

REED: The Kresge's project was a long complicated deal. I don't know whether we did 216 Seventh Street, what is now Prudential real estate. We might have done that in there somewhere. We acquired the old Safeway when that became vacant and we sort of held that, sort of warehoused that, put an antique emporium in there, it was kind of a hodgepodge of things but at least it carried itself. I forget, kind of, Stephanie, what the chronology was here, but the Kresge's project was three or four years, at least three or four years in the making. That was a very strange arrangement to begin with. The Kresge's had leased that property back in the 30s from three different owners. They owned outright the corner, but the rest of the property on which the building sat, they had on these leases from three different owners. So when we came along and offered to buy it, we discovered all these complications. That was a very long and involved process getting the three owners to agree to sell, and structuring the deal and so forth. And finally it was done in two phases. First phase was the first floor and then the second phase was the second, third and fourth floors, which was very scary because we were never sure we were able to do the second, third and fourth floors. The FAR there only allowed commercial as a matter of right for a floor and a half, what was existing plus a half of floor on top of that. But the Capitol Hill Restoration Society . . . so anyway, we did the first phase and then we applied, got the plans and the drawings and so forth for the upper floors. And went for a major variance, I think it increased to 3.8 something like that commercial, and got Dorn McGrath at GW who was in charge of their urban planning.

DEUTSCH: Who was that?

REED: D-O-R-N McGrath, he was the professor there. And Dick Wolf was a great supporter of that and we managed to get the Restoration Society and the ANC 6B behind us and got approval from the BZA to do those upper floors. The whole project was I think was done by about 1990. That was a major undertaking. All these things. We probably started on that with Kresge's in 1984. I mean all these things required persistence and patience and constantly working the problem. That of course is our flagship building. And it's been terrific.

DEUTSCH: It's beautiful.

REED: Again that was an Amy Weinstein design, from start to finish. [Then] we bought the old Post Office which is on Seventh Street. After that, that was another fairly long and drawn-out thing because the Post Office had a long lease. But apparently it [unintelligible] to get out and moved to 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the owner who was down at Florida . . . A lot of these owners are people who had lived here on the Hill in the early 1900s.

DEUTSCH: Or the heirs of people who had lived here.

REED: Yes, some of them are the heirs, that's right. I mean they went way back. So a lot of them had moved to Florida. So we did the old Post Office. And then that again is an Amy Weinstein façade, all mosaic tiles.

Next thing was the Chinese restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, between the old Kresge's Building and 650 Penn, the old theater [Penn Theater]. . . We bought that. Again, that took two or three years of negotiation and getting people to decide what they want to do with their lives and what they wanted and so forth. So that is now Yes! Organic Market.

300 Independence Avenue, which is the corner there at Third and Independence SE . . . we bought that five years before we started to work on it. I think we started to work on it [in] 2002 or something like that. I could improve on these dates and times . . .

DEUTSCH: No it's okay.

REED: We bought that five years before we started on it and in fact warehoused that as I say because it was tentative when we bought it. We bought it from . . .

DEUTSCH: Tentative that you'd be able to get the permits?

REED: No, it was occupied. It was under lease, it had been leased to the Liberty Lobby for many, many years. We bought it from a lawyer by the name of Brylawski who had an office on East Capitol Street just down the street, next to the Church of the Reformation down here.

DEUTSCH: What was his name?

REED: Brylawski, I forget his last name. It might've been Fulton but I'm not sure. B-R-Y-L-A-W-S-K-I just phonetically. So he had just renewed a lease with them. So we bought it subject to the lease and waited for the lease to run out. The lease covered the carry on the property which, you know, made it feasible. And when the lease expired we got them out. They were kind of an unusual group. Frankly, I mean, it's hard really to know what they were doing in there. But they had broadcasting studios, publications, this, that, and another thing. I think it was a very far right group. So that building was, as you may recall was totally painted white. And it was very nondescript and all that paint was lead based. So the first thing we had to do was get all that paint off. That was major undertaking and we gutted it, and the two buildings next door. And it is now, from our standpoint at least, it just a wonderful property.

DEUTSCH: I know, I walk by all the time. Beautiful. As you were doing all these development, did you sort of have a big idea, did you have a guiding idea? Or was it all kind of happening?

REED: To make enough money from these real estate investments so I could get out from the law practice. That was my short term immediate. [Laughs]

DEUTSCH: Okay.

REED: No, I needed a retirement. I knew I wasn't going to get it as a solo practitioner downtown. Although, I mean, my practice, considering what I was doing, the nature of my practice and where I was doing it, I think worked, if I may say so, remarkably well. But I mean, after having done it for, you know, 40 years or so . . .

DEUTSCH: Was it that long?

REED: Well I got out from service in '59, I started in '59 here. And we started these projects in '83, so that was what, 24 years, and we did these . . . I moved up here, moved my office up here in 2000. So you know by the time I moved up here, moved my office up here . . . you want to continue this . . .

DEUTSCH: So the vision kind of developed as you were going along?

REED: My vision was to find, what they call in-fill spaces that had not been developed sites. Either that had not been developed or were properties that were run down. And that had good location, commanding locations, and by their appearances really did not speak well of the Hill. I mean they did not add to the architectural quality or ambience of the Hill.

For example, one I forgot here is 518 C Street NE on the northeast corner of Stanton Park. That was formerly Sid's Tax Service. And it was a one story, you know, post World War II building. Nondescript brick with a plate glass window and next to it was a two-story Victorian which had somehow settled and there was a big crack down the middle. I don't know if you remember this or not. We had to go to war with certain factions of the Restoration Society on this one because the [unintelligible] was a contributing building by definition. And you were not allowed to tear down, demolish contributing buildings, unless you have prepared to replace it with a building of superior merit. And that's kind of a loose definition. But the demolition has to be approved, what they call a mayor's agent. There was such a person. I don't know by what mechanism to get appointed, but anyway, it took a year to go through that process. And there were a lot of other variances involved in that. But anyway that was a typical corner, it had a commanding location, phenomenal location but it was just totally under developed. And it was owned by Charlie Wellens who had lived on the Hill for a long time and moved to North Carolina. We visited him there. But there were sites like that.

DEUTSCH: Was it from that project that you took your name? Stanton Development?

REED: Sort of from the park because our first few projects were in the 300 block Mass Avenue which was in the west side of the park. That was more or less the reason. I had done the legal work so, you know, I came up with that name, just because it was there. I had a girlfriend in the eighth grade whose name was Suzie Stanton. She actually wasn't a girlfriend, I wanted her to be a girlfriend. [Both laugh] I looked for her in last two class reunions, she was one of the few people that has never shown.

DEUTSCH: Really, maybe she's scared of you. . .

REED: She's still around I guess. Anyway I digress. [Laughs]

DEUTSCH: Well we're going to get back there.

REED: Okay. So the Kresge's building, I might add, was not something that we . . . I mean, some people have the idea, regrettably, that we forced, induced Kresge's to close. They were ready to close. They were not interested in these small old stores. Everybody was starting in the 80s to think in terms of big stores, 30,000 square feet. Now it's 50 or a 100, you know. So they were poised to sell. And I don't know whether we heard that or whether we contacted them and asked them if they were interested, but whatever it was, they were interested. And had made a corporate decision to sell the property. A lot of people regretted that it had closed because it did have a great lunch counter in there and it was a base for a lot of, you know, lower income people and so forth. And the merchandise was affordable, but it had to go.

Getting back to Bud Brylawski's building, 300 Independence Avenue, while we were doing that or right about the same time, the Lenox school site became available. Drew Scallan, who's a friend and a colleague, knew of the fact that it was available, that there was somebody that had gotten a lease on that property from the District to run a school. And I don't know if they ever did or not, whatever.

DEUTSCH: What's the address on the Lenox School? Where was it?

REED: Well, it has a Fifth Street address SE, Fifth and Virginia Avenue. Drew anyway managed to get the property, contract or get control of it through this lease, but did not want to develop the entire site. There was attached to the old school, the 19th century school, a 19th century addition, a late 50s, early 60s addition sort of stuck onto it, which was ugly and horrible. And he did not want to take on the whole site himself. He thought it was a little bit more than he wanted to handle. So he asked us if we wanted to divide it up with him. He would do the old school, convert it to condos and we could do whatever we wanted with the rest of the property. And so we decided to, we knew we could demolish the new addition because it had no historic value, wasn't contributing. So we decided to do these townhouses there, which was the first time we had done anything residential. So we did 13 townhouses there and we had the same contractor doing 300 Independence Avenue in, these townhouses --

DEUTSCH: Who was that?

REED: Eichberg Construction.

DEUTSCH: How do you spell that?

REED: E-I-C-H-B-E-R-G.

DEUTSCH: So you did 13 townhouses -- and pretty successful?

REED: That was very successful. We managed to catch the market just right on that. And frankly, the people who bought these houses have done very well. In the year and a half or two since they bought them.

DEUTSCH: So what's next, is there a big project on the horizon?

REED: Well we just bought this year earlier in January, bought the old Tub, remember the Tub, Seventh and C Street, it was a laundromat?

DEUTSCH: Seventh and C Street [SE].

REED: SE. This was an Amy Weinstein restoration she did for Bob Schram. Well we just bought that because, you know frankly, we've become somewhat concerned about what's going on in Seventh Street, which nothing much and a little concerned that the center of gravity has shifted to Eighth Street triangle, the Main Street Barracks Row group. Not terribly, I mean as long as Eastern Market is there, I think it's always a draw, but we were concerned about who might buy the property at the end of our block since it's at the very opposite end of our block from the old Kresge's building. So we bought that and we've just been, and we moved our office there. We moved out from the Kresge's building.

DEUTSCH: So you're further down?

REED: Because we had a tenant who wanted our space. So we're now in the process of trying to secure a tenant for the first floor. So we're working on that. We also have -- again, this is a three year project -- we want to build over the Montmarte and Ben and Jerry's building and that alley and enlarge that. We just got Historic Preservation Review Board approval, and Amy is doing that design for us, so we're very happy about that.

DEUTSCH: Add one floor, two floors?

REED: It would be two, three. It's very complicated. We now have to go before the BZA and see what happens there. As I look back on it, since 1983 and the 23 or so years that we've been developing, we've averaged something every two years. And frankly they all have been in the Historic District. And many of them have required an additional Historic Preservation Review Board approval, which all them have required because they're in the Historic District. Some of them required zoning variances and sometimes multiple variances. Without the support of the community, you know acting through the ANCs and Restoration Society and civic associations, without their support we could never have, a lot of these, most of these wouldn't have gotten done probably because they have input into all these stuff. The design and the variances from the zoning. I have to put that in my remarks [Laughs].

DEUTSCH: Just be careful no to go too long because you know Steve will come down on you like a ton of bricks.

REED: That's okay. I don't want to go on. It's not my kind of forum you know. I mean I'm used to being in the well of a courtroom or something. . .

DEUTSCH: When you hold forth. . .

REED: Yeah when you hold forth, or sitting at the end of the conference table.

DEUTSCH: And I guess it just worked out kind of how you, the three of you divided things up? Each person had their particular. . .

REED: Yeah, Kitty of course . . . yes, I mean this is one partnership I must say, which were people had partners had complemented one another. And it's been a really dynamic. Kitty you know who always maintained her active real estate brokerage activities with an emphasis on commercial activities was strategically located to hear about things that were coming around. And she has a Masters in Fine Arts and paints and all that, so she had a great sense of design. So she worked very, very well with Amy. I did the legal stuff. You know the putting the deals together, the negotiation and putting the deals together, not that we weren't all involved in this but I would take the lead in that and do the documents. And Ken was sort of the money guy. He was sort of the CFO, Chief Financial Officer, when he would keep track of the finances. We have Susan who has been with me for 23 years, from the get-go here, who does it on the day to day basis in my office under my agents, but Ken basically kept all the documentations and the numbers. Kept track of the rents and the leases. . .

END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 1
TAPE 1/SIDE 2

REED: [Ken] has always done the pro formas as he would run the numbers when we're trying to project whether a deal was feasible or not and so forth. And he keeps track when the rents need to be bumped, what the pass-throughs are and so forth, the common area expenses and operating expenses that get passed through. And basically he has a strategic view of the real estate world which is very helpful. We're all equal partners. When I say he was the money man, I mean he dealt with the numbers, we were all equally contributing financially to all these projects.

DEUTSCH: Who supervises the construction, I mean how do you do that, do you have . . . ?

REED: The way we have typically have done that, we have hired the architect in addition to doing design, development, construction, drawings, and getting the building permit, we've always hired the architect to do what is known contract administration. And that is to administer the construction contract and supervise the contractor, to insist on adherence, which helps get you compliance with the plans. So typically what we would do is have weekly meetings with the architect, the contractor, and the three of us, ourselves. And go over whatever progress has been made, what changes have to be made if any, what substitution of materials because of nonavailability of what have been originally spec'd or whatever, all those things.

DEUTSCH: So you maintain pretty close contact?

REED: Oh yes, yes, yes!

DEUTSCH: Close contact?

REED: Yeah, but we do not personally run the contract. If you try to do that and you're not a contractor or an architect, you quickly find out you're over your depth there. And these contractors can talk circles around you. Not that they're evil people but I mean their agenda is not always yours.

DEUTSCH: I know!

REED: That's right! [Laughs]

DEUTSCH: So nothing coming up?

REED: No, we have not been remarkable from that standpoint. We haven't. You know we're always looking, but you know we don't have anything at the moment. And we're all a little longer in the tooth here now too, you know [Laughs]. I think we're probably all ready for a little sabbatical to tell you the truth.

DEUTSCH: Tell me a little bit about you, where did you grow up?

REED: I grew up outside Boston in the town called Melrose. If you look at a map it's in the shaded in Boston metropolitan area it's on the very northern perimeter of that, it's about seven miles, eight miles outside of Boston. Probably to Boston as Rockville is to DC, something like that.

DEUTSCH: Suburban environment?

REED: Yeah. Grew up there, went to grade school, junior high, and high there. . .

DEUTSCH: Public school?

REED: Yes. Melrose Red Raiders.

DEUTSCH: Were your parents from there, I mean were you Boston people?

REED: Yes, yes! My father came from a long line of Reeds which went back to Charlestown, Massachusetts. And the family had a farm up in Burlington, Massachusetts, there was a Burlington, Massachusetts, so we used to spend spring and fall and summers there, weekends and then summers there, which my brother and I were not terribly in favor because it took us away from our friends in Melrose.

DEUTSCH: Did it involve farm work?

REED: Not a lot, no. [My father] was a gardener and there was an apple orchard. He was very much into the apples and growing gladiolas and tomatoes and a few things like that for our own use. They were great, too. So that was that, then I graduated from high school. I have a brother, an older brother, who went through a couple of years ahead of me, couple of grades ahead of me, he was national honor student and all that stuff. Went to MIT. I never really got a hold of this educational thing until my junior or senior year I started to take it seriously. I started thinking about what's next, here? [Laughs]I took the SATs and went to Tufts, so I was a commuting day student there. Went and got involved in a number of different ways with the yearbook staffs, and the business journal, and Delta Tau Delta fraternity which at the time was a one of the premier houses on the Tufts campus. Just last year it got kicked off the campus. Pretty disappointing.

DEUTSCH: What did they do?

REED: Well they violated the drinking rules, this and that, and some other things and just totally flaunted it. I mean it's almost unimaginable. So I'm now without a fraternity, without a chapter.

DEUTSCH: So you went to Tufts, what did you study there?

REED: I majored in economics. So then on graduation, big crossroads in my life here when I look back on it, I wanted to go in Law school, so I applied to a number of law schools including Harvard and I took the LSATs and I was admitted in Harvard and I was admitted to Columbia.

DEUTSCH: You've gotten the school thing by then?

REED: Yeah, I'd gotten into education [laughs]. And I decided to come down here to Georgetown for a couple of reasons, one, I spent all my life including four years in college in Boston and Melrose and I kind of wanted to get away. If I had gone to Harvard I wouldn't be doing that. My father had died in my junior year of college, so my mother was a little frantic about money. And I applied for and got a scholarship, a tuition scholarship, at Georgetown. So the combination of those two things kind of got me down here. And once here, I mean my life took off on a track, well let me just say when I finished law school, when my deferment ran out (there was another year in there I'll tell you about) I ended up going into the Army, an Army JAG, and I ended up getting stationed at the Pentagon. So between law school and three years in the Army in the Pentagon, I had sort of taken root here. And I never got back to Boston or New England. As I look back on it, if I had gone to Harvard, the networking -- the one thing about people who go to Harvard is that they have a tremendous networking organization. I mean, [laughs] it's like being in the Marines, I think. You know, "Once a Marine, always a Marine." I would have stayed in Boston, and my life would have no doubt been gone on a totally different -- would have been totally different.

So that was a major crossroads. At the time I went to law school, Georgetown had an acceleration program where you could, rather than going three years with summers off, you could start and go right through for two solid years and go to school during the summers.

DEUTSCH: Is that what you did?

REED: For some reason or other, I thought that was a great idea. I was in a hurry, you know -- "let's get this done." I was in a hurry, I don't know necessarily what for -- I wouldn't have done that again, either. So I did that, and then I got a job clerking for the chief judge of what was then the Municipal Court of Appeals, that's the equivalent of the DC Court of Appeals now, only not as many judges and less grandiose. So I was able to keep my deferment for that, and get a Master's in law while I was doing that. So at the end of that three years, my deferment had run out so I had to go in. So I took a direct appointment as a First Lieutenant in the Army JAG.

DEUTSCH: And what did you do in the JAG? Was this Vietnam?

REED: No, I fell right in between all those. It was post-Korea and before Vietnam, so I was in between there. The drafts, though, existed. And when I went in the choices were either two years on active duty as a lawyer or you could get a direct commission in the Army JAG if you could qualify for the appointment. And when I did that, there were predecessors, people I knew who were a year or two ahead of me, who had done that and who had managed to get out early by getting what was referred to as a "non-recurring job opportunity" in the civilian private sector. Well, they closed that window shortly after I got in, so I was there for three years. I did some government appellate work in the Pentagon, I was in a less glamorous section that might be known as the Military Affairs Division which researched and wrote opinions for the Secretary of Defense, the chiefs of the various services and branches, and what have you . . . and it was kind of a bore, but the one thing I did do that was interesting was that I was detailed to counsel the United States Soldiers' Home, which is what is now the Armed Services Retirement Home. Been in the news lately, because they're thinking of selling off some of their property, or long-term leasing it.

DEUTSCH: Which one? The Army Old Soldiers' Home?

REED: Yeah, the Old Soldiers' yeah. So I would go out there a couple times a month and meet with the governor, and what have you. So that added a little interest to it. But by and large -- and then when I got out of the service, I had to stay in a reserve for another three years.

DEUTSCH: So were you living on the Hill by then?

REED: I lived to the Hill when I graduated, after I got my . . .

DEUTSCH: Was Georgetown Law over here then? Was it always over here?

REED: It was at Sixth and E [NW] .

DEUTSCH: Yeah. Sixth and E.

REED: Not where it is now, on New Jersey Avenue, but it was at Sixth and E Street. Where the SEC is, or whatever it is now.

DEUTSCH: Where were you living?

REED: Oh! And after I got my LLB and was clerking, and working on my LLM, I, together with a couple other guys, two or three other guys, we rented a house up here on East Capitol Street. 413 or something East Capitol, right up in the next block here.

DEUTSCH: So you've been on the Hill ever since.

REED: No, no, no. Lots of stuff in between. [laughs] No, that was back in '56. So anyway, that's it from an education standpoint. What else?

DEUTSCH: What year were you elected president of CHAMPS?

REED: These are the tough questions, you know.

DEUTSCH: [laughs] Yes.

REED: I was vice President with Peter Pover. You remember Peter Pover?

DEUTSCH: Yes, I do.

REED: Developed a serious ailment in the second year of his presidency, and typically the presidents of that time would spend two years. It was unwritten, but . . . so Peter only served about two months of his second term, so as vice president I became acting president and assumed the presidency and then served the two year term in my own right. So effectively I had about three years in the presidency, which was a year too many [laughs], but that was somewhere back in the 90s -- mid, early, you know, I think mid-90s -- '93, '4, '5, somewhere in there.

DEUTSCH: What were the big issues for CHAMPS then?

REED: Money.

DEUTSCH: Money, money and money.

REED: Yeah. The big issues were the median strip in Pennsylvania Avenue, the greening of it -- what to do about that. There was a growing effort on the part of what was then the CHAMPS Foundation to split of, spin off, from CHAMPS. And there was a counter-interest on the part of CHAMPS itself to tighten that relationship. So there was tension that developed there, and there were some bylaw amendments that were passed, and that issue kind of slipped into the background, but did not go away, obviously. And it surfaced again during Dennis Burgault's presidency, and that's when we had Don Denton called a bunch of us together with Steve, and finally worked that out. And though I was opposed to it, I must say --

DEUTSCH: You were opposed to the split?

REED: I was, for the sake of CHAMPS. I thought it was one of the raisons d'être for CHAMPS' existence, but on the other hand, as we went through this process, I changed my mind and decided that it was in the best interest of the Foundation to be a separate entity and disassociate itself. And we came up with a number of compromises which satisfied CHAMPS . . .

DEUTSCH: . . . and seem to be working for you.

REED: . . . and seem to be working fine. And I'm glad now that I did change my mind, so when it went to a vote, I supported the separation. What else was going on down there?

DEUTSCH: Eighth Street was probably beginning.

REED: Eighth Street was just starting. There was an Eighth Street sort of subgroup of Eighth Street merchants, which had their own Barracks' Row Business Association, which was developing. The zoning issues in the . . . you know, Stephanie, I don't know really offhand, I'd have to look at my notes, I don't know.

DEUTSCH: No burning thing?

REED: No, no, there's nothing that I can think of. It was just trying to keep it together.

DEUTSCH: Major changes that you've seen on your time on the Hill? Obviously, there are a lot, but major changes in the environment for doing the kind of work you were doing?

REED: I think, from our own personal standpoint of Stanton Development, I think what has made life easier for us is that people have developed confidence in the fact that we're not going to do anything harmful, and that if anything, if we do anything, it's likely to have a beneficial effect on the overall physical appearance of the Hill.

And we've tried to bring some services up here. I think one of the things we've done that has been of interest to people . . . You know, it's awfully hard to get any major stores or chains up here -- I'm not even sure people necessarily want them, either, once you get beyond food and so forth -- primarily because the retailers, when they come here during the week, don't see the population. They see it in the 200 block and the 300 block [of Pennsylvania Avenue SE], but when you get down to what we call the residential segment of the Hill, get up to Sixth Street or where you are, Fifth Street, and start moving out, they don't see a lot of activity on the streets, at least sufficiently, to warrant their being here. Most of the retailers we have are people who are on the Hill, and know the Hill, and understand that there's an underserved market here.

DEUTSCH: We keep hearing talk about Trader Joe's, and I guess now it is coming, isn't it?

REED: Is it Trader Joe's, or Harris Teeter?

DEUTSCH: Harris Teeter, maybe.

REED: I think it's Harris Teeter. I don't think it's Trader Joe's.

DEUTSCH: But for years, I feel like, you know, the fancy grocery store has been "almost here." Or Whole Foods, no, it's Whole Foods!

REED: Is it Whole Foods that's coming?

DEUTSCH: That's what I've heard.

REED: OK, I don't know why I'm vague on this. I'm just losing it, I guess. [laughs] I thought it was Harris Teeter, I don't know.

DEUTSCH: Maybe it's both.

REED: I don't know. I'll find out.

DEUTSCH: Yeah.

REED: So, I just think the Hill overall . . . I mean, I think the ANC 6B is more cohesive, it's better led, it's got some good people there. I mean, there was a time in the early days when they had some real whack jobs on that thing.

DEUTSCH: Yeah.

REED: No, just physically, I think the Hill has improved immeasurably. With Eighth Street, Barracks' Row, the Main Street, with Ellen Wilson particularly, particularly Ellen Wilson. We got rid of the billboard -- do you remember the billboard at Sixth and Pennsylvania Avenue [SE]?

DEUTSCH: I sure do, yep.

REED: In a microcosm, that was a major accomplishment! I mean, that was a degrading thing to have a grandfathered billboard, a full-sized billboard, right in the middle of your community. And they took it down, Rollins took it down, for repairs, and the law said that it was grandfathered as long as it was up, but if you took it down, you could never replace it, you couldn't put it back up again.

DEUTSCH: And they didn't know that.

REED: Well, I don't think they were mindful of it. So we hired Wayne Bryan, who was a structural engineer, who went out and looked, and said all the members were defective, they would have to rebuild it to safely put it back up, and they tried to put it back up at night. And Mahoney, Jack Mahoney's office, was across the street, saw that, called the police, got the police out there to stop it. And finally, they just packed up and went away.

DEUTSCH: And was it just a person -- I mean, who owned it?

REED: Rollins Outdoor Advertising owned it, and I don't know whether they had a lease on the site. You know it's now a townhouse. And that was in the early 80s. That was a major accomplishment when you think back on it! That was back in the days when we had an Oktoberfest, CHAMPS had an Oktoberfest on Seventh Street and we grilled sausages, Prego had sausages out there. Then you couldn't do that anymore because the health department closed it down. [Laughs] All these bureaucracies closed in on . . . and CHAMPS also tried to have a parade a couple times.

DEUTSCH: I remember that. I marched in it one year.

REED: Did you? Kathleen Franzen's husband, William, just recently died. Had an old fire engine-red Cadillac convertible that used to drive in that . . . [laughs]. We put Harold Brazil up in the back in that, I think, of one of those.

DEUTSCH: That was kind of fun.

REED: It was fun. Those things are fun! But they require a lot of effort on the part of a lot of people, you know? And people burn out, I mean, once you've done it a couple of times, you don't want to do it anymore. So you keep having to find new people.

So anyway, I built this house at 306 Ninth Street SE. And then I met Kitty, and Betty Nusbaum, who lived across the street from me at 313 Ninth Street, had a house and an empty side lot. You remember her?

DEUTSCH: Well, you know, my first house on the Hill was 320 Ninth Street. So we sold our house to Mary Ann Wyrsch, who was there next to Tom Simmons' house. That little gray gingerbread house -- that was my house.

REED: No kidding? So you know Betty. So by that time, Kitty and I were together, and Betty decided to sell that house, so we bought it.

DEUTSCH: Great house.

REED: Oh, it had everything. By the time we got through with it, it had everything. Swimming pool, two two-car garages . . .

DEUTSCH: I sort of had my eye on it. We moved away like in '78, '79. And she was still . . .

REED: She was still cooking. She moved down to Fredericksburg. I don't know what happened to her after that.

DEUTSCH: Well, she'd be old.

REED: Yeah, she would be. She might not be with us anymore. But, so Kitty and I decided to buy that and we did a big renovation job. You know, the house has a full-scale English basement that's been rented -- always has been rented. It's got the pool, it's got the garages . . .

DEUTSCH: Yeah. Great.

REED: [chuckles] Don't want to dwell on that too much. . .. and a great location. It was a great location. So . . . that's kind of where we are.

 
   

END OF INTERVIEW

 
   
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Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.