By Fritz Hahn and Tim Carman (View full story online on The Washington Post Going Out Guide)
It sounds like an urban planner’s grand experiment: Artists and young creatives are drawn to a community with cheap rents and studios. Cool restaurants and bars follow. Living in the neighborhood starts to become desirable for young professionals, who attract more basic shops and services to the area.
Similar cycles of hipsterization and gentrification have played out across the globe, from Brooklyn to Berlin. But in our own back yard, it’s official policy. The Gateway Arts District, hatched in the early 2000s to revitalize the Rhode Island Avenue NE corridor, spans the communities of Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville. It includes public-private partnerships that offer below-market rents and studio space to artists, as well as standard units at market prices.
Is it working? So far, so good.
Hyattsville is in the midst of a growth boom. In the past year, the city has welcomed the well-established Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, which moved from Silver Spring; the nonprofit Art Works Now, which relocated from nearby Mount Rainier; and the first Pizzeria Paradiso location in Maryland, all within a few blocks of one another in the century-old downtown strip. Meanwhile, more established businesses, including Vigilante Coffee and the restaurant Franklins, are seeing new faces stop in.
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
Art Works Now
Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store
Three Little Birds
Green Owl Boutique
Busboys and Poets