New Building At 14th and U Completed and For Lease


Thanks to a reader for alerting me to the “For Lease” sign on the new building at 14th and U. I think the building came out pretty well. Nothing to crazy but I dig it. I wonder if a restaurant or bar will take that spot. A part of me wishes some other type of retail would go in – you know to keep the nice mix of restaurant/bars/furniture etc. Do you have a preference if you’d rather see a restaurant/bar or something else go in there?

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  • Just to note that the for lease sign has been up for a few months now, and that I don’t think its quite completed yet. I think the developers of these kinds of places put up the “for lease” signs very early as its takes a good while for a business plan to get to the point of signing a lease (plus, of course, there being lots of empty store fronts around).

    I would prefer some form of retail over (yet another) bar/restaurant. This could even be a location where a bookstore could survive…hmm.. nah, bookstores are generally doomed.

  • Restaurant or brewpub would be great. I don’t think independent, non-chain retail could take a space that large and make a go of it. I think it’s leasing for nearly $50 per square foot, which means whatever leases this property had better be a high-volume outfit.

  • I got two bits on Urban Outfitters. And hell came with…

  • a bird toilet. business is already booming

  • bus boys and poets is a bookstore a block away.

    It’d be interesting if U st started becoming a SoHo like shopping destination. I think to make that happen we’d first need some big name clothier to move in. Something really yuppie like Marc Jacobs. they can afford the sky high rents and mix with the independent places already in the area. then usually when you have a place with lots of daytime-weekend foot traffic you get the really creative places like art galleries and what not– or the ever elusive apple store.

    Though I think this place is too bland looking for any truly creative place to want to attach its image to it.

  • There used to be a telephone hooked up in one of those second stories with a transfer to U-Haul or Budget rent-a-truck, and occasionally you would be given that 14th and U address to deliver a vehicle to, only to find there was no lot to park on, nor anyone that would actually ever check your vehicle in.

  • Michael, how is that different from most U-Haul locations? (thank you thank you, I’m here all week…)

  • I support more bars/restaurants, but for some reason a bar on that corner doesn’t seem right (maybe its the prospect of weekend lines messing up two streets at once, but I’m not sure). If we’re talking restaurants, I’d support some kind of burger joint there; U street doesn’t have an ubiquitous five guys yet. Maybe one of those new schwarma places, or a doner kebab place (both the 24 7 plus and the jumbo slice & sometimes kebab place across the street do not offer good tasting food IMO). Other ideas: spectacles shop, art supplies shop.

  • First off I love the site…it allows me to travel around DC digitally (just moved here and got totally lost when I went for a drive)

    anywho…found a link that has some pictures of DC back in the 1900’s, have you seen it?

  • I spoke with the landlord of the Beer/Wine store right next to this (the one on U). He told me that the rent on that corner space had fallen to something in the $35 psf range. Also, that is probably the max amount of indoor work the landlord will do without a tenant.

  • A black owned business there is my vote, after all, before the riots this was Black Broadway (U Street) and Dr Martin Luther King Jr had an office at the intersection as I remember a liquor store on the corner along with drug dealers, it’s come a long way!

  • Years ago there was a bar at that location — in between the Hogs on the Hill era and long-term vacancy. Looked like it was opened by three guys who sold a used Buick and pawned a guitar for opening cash and used their boss at the law firm where they were messengering to get the liquor license (remember the old Asylum on 9th and U?). In other words, a great place (The Big Cheese, maybe?). Aside from an attitude of utter mellowness, the place boasted a handful of delivery menus instead of a kitchen and really cool views from those immense windows on the second floor. With a two-year-old and a six-year-old I didn’t get there much during its brief lifespan, but it was a great place to go to get out of the house.

  • saf

    Irving St – it was “The Grand Poobah.”

  • Is that location posh enough for an Apple Store??

  • Are they going to build anything in that vacant lot or will it serve as a parking lot?

  • wow, this is a long time coming. this is a nice building and it’s too bad it was left in shambles for so long. this is great.

  • Does anyone know what the plans are for the buildings directly next door on U Street? They have been sitting vacant for years.

  • It seems like such an ideal location considering all the foot traffic as well as its rich history. I am surprised the space has sat vacant for so many years.

  • The owner of that building doesn’t live in this area and was holding out for a national chain to move in. I belive he might have even been negotiating with Burger King at one time. I think it was pressure from Jim Graham that finally got him moving on making improvements.

  • The “nice mix” of retail on U Street may be related to the fact that it is part of the “ARTS Overlay,” a zoning restriction that prevents more than 25% of the frontage from being restaurants.

    Here’s a (critical) description of it on Greater Greater Washington:

  • Nettypooh: thanks for the link. I found a great one of the neighborhood (CH). Doesn’t seem like much has changed in the past 85 years… except that those houses no longer exist, of course.

  • Well, that only took 19 years. This place has been empty since the 1980s. Graham has been putting pressure on the owner to sell since the the mid 1990s. Like most greedy clowns, the owner kept waiting for the market to go higher and now it’s too late. Good luck to anyone trying to start a business in this climate; nobody’s lending capital for small businesses. This place should have been rented out years ago.

    My money’s on either a $5 cupcake shop or a steakhouse. Apparently, you can’t have enough of either in DC.

  • I am all for a steakhouse, seems better than a vacant storefront.

  • we should petition for a trader joe’s

  • Need a Trader Joe’s on 14th Street, somewhere in between P and U Streets would be ideal considering there several property vacancies along that strip. The Foggy Bottom location is way too crowded.

  • I’d go for retail over restaurant/bar–as U notes, that corner is already a disaster with regular foot traffic, two bus stops, and the random lines for Marvin and Rep Gardens. What kind of retail, I dunno… god help me, but an Apple store would be nice. My iMac is heavy and problematic and I’d LOVE to not have to schlep it to friggin Clarendon.

  • How about a scooter or smart car shop…

  • What is with all the independent ATMs that are popping up along the northbound side of 14th in that general vicinity? Within a matter of a few weeks, there was one installed near the cleaners on the corner of 14th and U, another near the Red Lounge and then next to the women’s discount clothing store?

  • really not digging the bland-of-the-bland color scheme. ugh.

  • Notice how there are hardy any more new car dealerships in DC and the last scooter shop [Vespa] just closed down? A friend used to run a used motorcycle shop in Shaw and apparently the licensing and environmental restrictions make it damn near impossible. Yeah, there are all those shady used car dealerships, but they’re getting shut down for just such ‘violations’, plus all the other illegal crap they were doing.

    The scooter thing is even shadier here – everyone just seems to want cheap Chinese scooters that most area dealers will [lie and] tell them are legal to ride without registration/insurance/etc. Truth is everything in DC with a gas motor and 2 wheels needs registration/insurance/inspection:

    As for that corner location – I wish it wasn’t so, but my guess is it’ll end up a chain fast food spot.

  • Maybe a Panera Bread or Qdoba?

  • ATM’s=$2.50 service charge. Cha’ching.

  • Just as long as it’s not another bank! Seems like every good location turns into a bank at one time or another. Take Connecticut and S St. (SE corner) – a beautiful location that was supposed to be a restaurant (or so the speculation was at one time). And then there’s always the 18th and Columbia Rd. (NE corner) that was a Gartenhouse Furs years and years ago, and is now a bank.
    Please, no more CVS or Rite Aid. Something LOCAL and not a national chain. I make it a point to avoid the chains, if possible (i.e. the local hardware stores vice Home Depot). Haven’t been to a McDonald’s in 30 years (except in Europe where that’s the only place you can get a Diet Coke WITH ice).

  • I say it should be a bank. I’d like to see Chevy Chase/Capital One or PNC. The rent is up the ass expensive, not many people will jump on this place.

  • Bank of America should explore…they do not have a location in close proximity to the U Street Metro.

  • A Family Dollar Store there would diversify the markets, already loaded with “posh” stores, banks, etc, but that’s my opinion, if the Five and Dimes (the old Woolworths chain) didn’t fold I would have suggested one.

  • Wig Shop, Store-Front Church, Braiding Salon or Liquor Store please!

  • Wal Mart!

  • Thoughts on trying to encourage a young, hip architecture firm to occupy the space? If there is one thing this city lacks, it is edgy architecture firms devoted to the practice as an art form (i.e., designing public displays and temporary installations). I would love to see a firm circa early Diller + Scifidio in that place. Obvi, I understand that such a move is more organic than anything else, but one can dream.

  • I’m all for a Trader Joes, if the space is large enough. Sorry, but the “Best DC Supermarket” doesn’t do it for me.

    If it were to be a bar, I’d like to see some sort of niche bar. For example, a good Sports Bar. Anything but another wine bar.

    Honestly, I’d be happy to see anything independent move in there. A vintage clothing store is an obvious impossibility but I would be sooooo excited.

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