Axios D.C.

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Good morning, Monday!

🌤 Today's weather: Mostly sunny with a high of 40.

🇦🇷 Congratulations to Team Argentina on the World Cup win!

Today's newsletter is 896 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: A 14th and U makeover

The big Reeves Center building viewed from across 14th Street

Developers have until Jan. 20 to submit proposals. Photo: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

D.C. wants to redevelop the Reeves Center on 14th and U streets NW, someday turning the municipal building into shops, offices, and hundreds of apartments.

Why it matters: This is a prime two-acre site in a bustling corridor, and an opportunity for D.C. to replace an aging landmark with something that fits the booming neighborhood and nightlife surrounding it.

Driving the news: The District government recently reset the process of choosing a developer to overhaul the block.

  • Developers have until Jan. 20 to submit new proposals. The city received only two since opening up bids in July 2020.

🌃 State of play: Those previous proposals included a glassy apartment and office space, a food hall, a hotel, and a pedestrian walkway.

  • One pitch included a Marion Barry Way in between new buildings, honoring the late four-term mayor who spearheaded the building of the Reeves Center in 1986 to revitalize the U Street corridor.

The redevelopment’s anchor tenant will be the new national headquarters of the NAACP, moving from Baltimore to a D.C. neighborhood rich in Black history and culture.

  • Once known as “Black Broadway,” the area suffered after the 1968 riots that arose in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

🔮 What’s next: D.C. plans to pick a redevelopment team in February. The anticipated groundbreaking is in the summer of 2025.

Read the full story

2. 🤧 'Tis the sick season

Illustration of a Christmas tree with COVID balls as ornaments.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The flu and COVID-19 might threaten your holiday week.

Driving the news: Flu activity in our region is very high, per the CDC, and COVID cases in D.C. have risen slightly since November.

Why it matters: The post-Thanksgiving surge has already overwhelmed local hospitals, making it all the more important to celebrate safely.

Yes, but: While the pandemic ruined many 2021 holiday celebrations, we have yet to see a similarly aggressive surge of Omicron since.

  • Plus, this year we have a new weapon: Boosters specifically created to fight the variant.

State of play: The recent spike in COVID cases has prompted Montgomery County to encourage mask-wearing in indoor spaces and testing before gatherings, noting in a press release that the county’s case rate “is now more than double the recent low on Nov. 28.”

  • Meanwhile, COVID cases in Virginia have been rising since Thanksgiving, although all Northern Virginia counties are still seeing low transmission rates.

🧠 Be smart: You can now order four more free test kits from the USPS.

3. 🏈 Commanders fall short

Taylor Heinicke argues with NFL officials on the field

Taylor Heinicke argues with officials in the fourth quarter. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Commanders lost 20-12 to division rivals New York Giants after late refereeing controversy on Sunday Night Football.

What’s next: Still hunting for a wildcard playoff spot, Washington (7-6-1) plays the 49ers on Saturday.

4. ⬇️ Stat du jour: 40.6%

A home for sale sign darkened by shadows.

Prospective homebuyers are taking their sweet time. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

That’s the amount that residential real estate sales decreased this November compared to the same month last year, according to GCAAR’s latest data.

What’s happening: The frenzied pandemic housing market has cooled down quite a bit, and with interest rates high and inventory low, buyers are taking their time.

Is a new job in your future?

💼 Check out who’s hiring around the city.

  1. Director, Federal Affairs at National Association of Community Health Centers.
  2. Business Development Associate at International Republican Institute.
  3. Director of Public Relations at American Gas Association.
  4. Senior Manager of Advocacy at DC Charter School Alliance.
  5. Advocacy Manager, Criminal Justice at Arnold Ventures.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a Job.

5. Around the Beltway: 🦴 Ma'am, are those bones in your bag?

Illustration of a Washington Metro sign edited to read "Around the Beltway."

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  • Customs and Border Protection agents at Dulles seized giraffe and zebra bones from a person traveling from Kenya last month. The strange souvenirs violate endangered species rules. (WTOP)
  • Antisemitic graffiti was found at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda on Saturday. A similar incident took place last month near Bethesda's Trolley Trail. (Fox5)
  • The Commanders have tweaked their Sean Taylor memorial after criticism from fans. In order to better reflect the late safety's signature look, the Nike jersey was replaced with a Reebok one, tape was added to the face mask and cleats, and different socks were added. (NBC4)
  • Almost 100 alumni from Rockville's now-closed Robert E. Peary High School visited their former teacher Vincent Gibbs, a.k.a Mr. Christmas, whose usual over-the-top home holiday display is muted this year as he undergoes melanoma treatment. (Washington Post)

6. 😋 We tried the $65 sandwich

Sandwich on a scale that reads 1 lbs 10 oz
This is one hefty sandwich. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

👋🏼 Hey, it’s Cuneyt. I once tried a McDonald’s McRib. It was the most vile thing I ever spit out.

So, when I heard about the “Colossal Short Rib Sandwich” at Joy by Seven Reasons in Chevy Chase, I was looking forward to burying that memory.

🏋️ Plus, I was on a mission. Chef Enrique Limardo told Washingtonian that his eye-popping $65 sandwich is estimated to weigh 2.5 pounds.

  • Numbers don’t lie: I brought my own scale to the bar, and it read 1.625 pounds!

The experience: In most ways, the McD's McRib and the Colossal Short Rib couldn’t be farther apart:

  • This is a beef short rib braised for 16 hours.
  • Served on ciabatta with a steak knife through its middle, it’s stacked with pickled onions and smoked cheddar.
  • There’s also a dainty pouch with black gloves to keep your paws free of veal demi-glace.

Plus, the colorful restaurant + bar is branded as: “Have fun, Get Crazy, Be Sexy, enJOY…”

👍🏼 Taste test: It lived up to the hype! The sweet and sour flavors were unlike anything I've had with short ribs. It's enough to feed two, but wouldn’t travel well in a to-go box so come hungry.

  • Joy's Venezuela-born chef is also behind award-winning restaurants Seven Reasons on 14th Street and Imperfecto in West End.

🥩 One must-try starter for the meat journey: The carpaccio de lomo. The beef tenderloin is served with a blooming helping of petit basque sheep’s cheese.

A plate of beef tenderloin
Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

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❤️ Happy Hanukkah, and T-6 days 'til Christmas!

Today's newsletter was edited by Kayla Sharpe and copy edited by Patricia Guadalupe.