Anwar Saleem, executive director of H Street Main Street and owner of an H Street beauty parlor, told the Washington Informer newspaper that the H Street, NE renovations were to have paved the way for new businesses while helping to strengthen existing establishments. He called the results of the renovation policies “forced urban gentrification.”
Pam Johnson, a real estate broker who also owns property along the corridor, provided a specific example of how new business are benefitting from renovation subsidies. “I pay taxes just like all these other businesses on H Street but the city, under former Mayor Fenty, decided to subsidize the shuttle bus,” Johnson said, referencing the $500,000 the District is expected to shell out for the shuttle project over a two-year period.
However, Johnson said the shuttle would only serve businesses along the corridor that operate from 5p until 3a, when most of the Black businesses that still exist on H Street, NE are closed.