Fire House at 1626 North Capitol St. NW For Sale Again

north cap fire house

Thanks to Paul from the Arts & Real Estate blog for the heads up.

He writes:

“The Fire House on North Cap that was scheduled to be turned into a restaurant (and XM radio sound stage) is for sale. It looks like it was bought for $600K back in March and is now listing it at $1.5M.”

More info can be found here. The Bloomingdale blog has tons more info.

Wow. I’d say this is pretty bad news. I thought this spot had the making for a great restaurant. But the price of $1.5 million seems insane to me. What are the chances another investor will purchase this spot for a restaurant or an art space?

19 Comment

  • Hmmm, perhaps the blood red facade is discouraging people… I don’t know that area well, but what’s it like overall? I think its overrun with drunks and homeless guys hanging out in the Florida Ave park there, and wandering about the area. Also, there was at least two high profile murders there last year, right? Not that all our neighborhoods don’t have some of such things, but is this really where a sit down restaurant should go? Especially with patio seating?

    Amusing how the developer is getting ripped on the B-dale blog.

  • Well it faces North Cap not to far from the NY Ave intersection so it is a bit weird. However, I think the residents in that area are a somewhat cohesive bunch.

    Can’t think what would go there but it is a totally cool building.

  • Maybe MTV could rehab it and do a Real World DC?

  • The current investor needs to be hauled into court

  • ET: not too far from ny ave? by that definition, whole foods is pretty close to the corner of 14th and U.

  • Didn’t the city sell them this space at a discount in exchange for developing it? If they’re not going to develop it, they shouldn’t be making a buck flipping it 2 years later.

  • Good post on the other blog:
    “So the bottom line is Brian Brown got a sweetheart deal from the DC government and now stands to make almost a million dollars by turning it around and selling it? What a scam. Note the careful wording in this e-mail – he “committed to spending between $500,000 and $750,000 of our own funds” but of course did not actually spend that amount. $250,000 on architects? 95% complete exterior restoration? Laughable. It looks just like it did when he took possession of it. There’s no way he spent a quarter million dollars on architects before even having a concept for what it was going to become! Selling it off for $1.5M makes it incredibly difficult for the buyer to operate it profitably and cover their costs. If Mr. Brown wanted to make this happen perhaps he should have been more flexible with some of the “20+ qualified operators” and arranged terms that made financial sense to them. Also, you’ve gotta love the comment on his real estate listing – “The first floor is restricted for RESTAURANT use only!” As if that is somehow possible. All of his comments strike me as attempting to shift the focus from the fact that he failed to deliver what he told the city he would deliver and now stands to make a million bucks. The city should sue this liar, take back the property and auction it off.”

  • I’d like to think the District can seek remuneration from this huckster.

    This might point out the folly of setting up these ridiculous deals from profiteers; taxpayers get ripped off nearly every time the District government sets up some developer with steeply-discounted property.

  • its one block from the big bear cafe which has patio seating. and its pretty busy.
    its about 3.5 blocks from new york avenue, and about a block north of florida.

    the 2006 photo, isnt a photo from 2006, its what they wanted it to look like. it still looks pretty much like the left photo.

    i live right around the corner from this place. the neighborhood has its ups and downs like most of dc but its a pretty great neighborhood. i find it amusing that people on this blog talk about its sketchiness.

  • # IdeaGirl Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Maybe MTV could rehab it and do a Real World DC?

    oh god no.
    ; )

  • thanks for reposting my rant publius – i am so pissed off about this. also 1 year ago the city government was threatening to rescind the award of the property to Mr. Brown; what happened to that?

  • eric,
    i think that the city gave him 30 days to find a restaurateur or they would rescind. thats when he found the 2020 martini lady. so he wasnt in breech of contract at that point.

  • I can’t think of any restaurant/bar/lounge kind of business that would work out there except for some kind of fast food/carry out place. I pass by there every day and that particular area is pretty sketchy even by B-dale standards (no offense to B-dale residents).
    I know B-dale has changed a lot and the area needs a nice seat down restaurant but there just aren’t enough residents to support the place continuously.

  • i love that building but i cant thing of anything that would go in it that i would frequent at night its not that close to public transportation other than bus and the area isnt really upcoming quite yet. It would need parking or something really unique to entice me

  • I encourage anybody who is interested in having input into the development of this area to become involved in North Capitol Man Streets, Inc. (

    There is an informational meeting scheduled for Thursday 2/5/09 from 7-8:30pm at the NCMS HQ located at 1703 North Capitol Street NE, WDC 20002. Find out about projects, committees, and volunteer opportunities.

  • I live in Bloomingdale and can’t imagine walking to (or much frequenting) that location. North Capitol will be the *last* part of the neighborhood to develop, long after businesses go into RI, 1st Street, and some of the corner Bodega’s.

  • JM, the North Capitol Main Streets Inc territory includes the other business district areas in Bloomingdale that you mention.

    Having seen how far things have come in the area in a relatively short period of time, (not to mention how quickly U St, 14th St, etc. transformed), I am excited at the possibilities. Of course, I’ve also been around long enough to remember being tentative about parking my car across from the Portrait Gallery.

  • $1.5?
    This flip does seem sketchy. Why can’t the contract be recinded/cancelled for failure to perform?
    Maybe this is a ploy to keep it off the class 3 vacant list until the credit market loosens?

  • since it looks like they didn’t have the funds to do anything with it, it doesn’t make sense to up the selling price

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