Judging Buildings


Wow, I’m glad I stumbled into the Mt. Vernon Triangle/Square (which is it Triangle or Square) neighborhood. It has really changed a lot since I last was there. This awesome building is located at the corner of 4th and Mass Ave, NW. Do you like the style?

Of note, and I remembering reading about this back in the day, is the little building formerly housing Ledo Pizza that was not torn down:


Interestingly, there is also a new(ish) building across the street that has an old firehouse that was not torn down:


More photos of the featured building after the jump.



18 Comment

  • I’d give that building a brown ribbon.

  • I’m pretty sure that building never actually housed a Ledo Pizza. I know the signs were up and everything, but I’m pretty sure it never moved in there.

    In 2006, the Post wrote a story about the guy who refused to sell to developers. They were forced to build around the house:


  • This is my hood. A few thoughts to share:

    The big building you highlight in your main photo is the DuMont. It was built to be two condominium buildings. However the developer basically defaulted on the project. Contract holders got their money back. The buildings are now for sale for $170 million. I’m not a big fan of the building. Mainly because I don’t like how it engages Mass Ave. Two semi-circle driveways for separate entrances? That’s bologna. Both buildings did not need Mass Ave addresses. One should have been put on Fourth or Eye instead (without the ornamental driveway). I also think a project this mammoth (559) units should have more than one retail bay of less than 1000sf.

    I don’t think that “Ledos building” will ever serve a pizza. The back wall of the building is chopped off exposing the interior to the elements. I also just don’t see how you can have a restaurant that only has a 3 ft wide walkway to the rear. Restaurants produce too much waste for that to be practical.

    The building with the embedded firehouse is 400 Mass. Douglas Developments owns the retail bay – but I haven’t heard any serious rumors since I moved here over a year ago. The building also has a CVS on the ground floor.

  • Let me add… the office building on the other side of the “Ledos building” has about 14000sf of retail space. Nearly ~10,000sf of it will be occupied by Buddha Bar by December (hopefully that ETA sticks). If DuMont had dedicated maybe 6K of their ground floor space to retail rather than a second Mass Ave condo entrance with pointless semi-circle driveway this block would have a great deal more potential… But this is what happens when people don’t think about the fact that you only have one chance every 40 or so years to get hi-rise construction right…

  • It’s nice to have something there other than wasteland, but it’s just one bland concrete canyon down there. The buildings all have that same brown/tan brick, curvy walls, glass bump-outs. The first 1 or 2 buildings down there were creative, but then all the rest had to do the same thing. I think every huge building should have the entire 1st floor retail, right? And the above posters are correct…the broken down house never had Ledo Pizza…the owners put up a big stink about not budging and now look at it. Nice.

  • saf

    Mount Vernon Square is at the south end of the new convention center, where the Carnegie Library is.

    Mount Vernon Triangle is the small neighborhood east of Mount Vernon Square. Note that it is triangle shaped.


  • The square itself is at the south end of the convention center. The Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood (as defined by the neighborhood association and used by realtors selling homes in the area) is larger and includes Mt. Vernon Triangle.

    http://www.mvsna.org/ for a map.

  • POP… glad that you’re checking out this area!

  • The Ledos and firehouse inserts are equally useless. The developer decided to build around the Ledos place for when its owner eventually comes to his senses and accepts a much lower payment than he could have had several years ago. The firehouse across the street is also horribly incorporated, but the developer treated it like a design element which just makes it looks weird and incongruant. The firehouse used to look really cool on Mass, but now it might have just as well been bulldozed.

    This entire corridor totally sucks by the way.

  • That building was home to Mr Spriggs’ business, note the 2006 article, as his refusal to sell was his decision, as for the firehouse, it is not a useless bookend, having predated the War Between the States.
    The little house dates from 1890, and I can remember it being one of the nicer buildings on that block, neighboring houses being ramshackle in the 80’s, of course the House of Ruth at the far end is the best one on the block, the new buildings have much to prove as the DuMont is colorful indeed, it somewhat overpowers Mr Spriggs’ house that he and his daughter would be wise to accept deliveries from the basement, note the trap doors often seen downtown due to the unfortunate decision of the Du Mont ownersto block access to the back of Mr Spriggs’ house, as that house can be incorporated into the scheme of things.
    These buildings, the Spriggs house,and the Firehouse should be protected as monuments despite what the naysayers think, as the House of Ruth already is.
    Don’t tell me these quirky landmarks deserve the bulldozer, I don’t want to hear it.

  • Anyone who remembers what that stretch of Mass was like even as recently as, say, 2001 would not say it “totally sucks,” as Anon 5:11 p.m. wrote. I’m guessing Anon 5:11 p.m. either didn’t live here (or in that neighborhood, as I did) at that time, or is one of the elitist snobs that increasingly populate the POP comment threads.

    I’ll take a boulevard of sterile condo/office buildings over a dangerous, drug addict- and prostitute-populated wasteland of parking lots and vacant lots any day of the week.

  • Does anyone have a picture of this block or along Mass Avenue (pre 2004)? Now that would be a very interesting ‘before’ and ‘after’

  • I live around here. I have been tempted on many occasions to leave little notes in the entrance to the DuMont saying, “Dear Mr. Foreclosure Bank, please let me move in here. Thank you.” If you need any proof that the banking industry is still in a flying panic over how badly they screwed up the real estate bubble, look no further than a giant, finished condo, 3 blocks from the metro, with even the appliances already installed, sitting empty instead of being sold.

  • the dumont is absolutely awesome. that is some seriously interesting architecture, much nicer than a lot of the bland boxes that are around that area.

  • In response to post 9:54 that block was filled with old row houses, a remnant can be seen at 457-59 Mass Ave, also known as the House of Ruth, as for the block where the Firehouse is, there were old rowhouses on either side, abandoned since at least 1980.
    Notable losses there was the President Monroe apartment a few doors East of the hosue at 435, looked like, for a number of years after its facade was sheared off, bombed out Berlin or Beirut, annd the houses from 439-55 pretty much looked similar to today’s House of Ruth.

  • 5:18:

    One morning a few years back, they were doing a fashion photo shoot in the Monroe. Each room had different colored wallpaper — it looked just like a dollhouse. The fashion shoot featured a model in each room wearing something that complimented/contrasted with the colorful wallpaper. I always wanted to see the final photo spread, but I have no idea where it was published.

    Yes, it’s nice that Mass Ave no longer looks like Beirut, but how long can those million-dollar condos stand empty?

    And to those who live there — where the heck do you shop? Canned soup at CVS?

  • No; we shop for groceries at the new Safeway, two blocks away on 5th street.

  • The DuMont is an excellent building. It’s a shame those of us that wanted to live there can’t and no, every building on mass ave doesnt have to have a full ground floor of retail on it. Even most neighborhoods in NYC which is much more dense than DC can’t support it.

    Some of the other buildings in the triangle are seriously lacking most notedly 555 Mass, Madrigal and the Sonata. Talk about big bland boxes that were just built for developer profits. Madrigal lofts barely even offer units with windows in the bedrooms. Thats pretty shitty planning if you ask me

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