Dear PoP – Cool Old Facade Demolished at 14th and Belmont, NW


“Dear PoP,

There used to be a large, historic apartment building shell near 14th and Belmont, behind the demolished former strip mall. Clearly it took a lot of effort and money to preserve the facade of this building, (possibly it was gutted by fire – I don’t really know). But it’s now it’s been demolished. Any word on what the plan for that building shell was, and what is coming to this intersection now? With both the apartment shell and the strip mall gone, this has become a very sizeable vacant lot in a good location. But I’m sad that the old facade won’t be part of the new development.”

Wow that is crazy. The facade was there for so long I thought for sure it’d be preserved. Here’s what it looked like (back left hand side of photo below):


Anyone have the scoop here? Think the facade should’ve been preserved?

12 Comment

  • I also thought they had plans that included the facade since they went through the time and expense to preserve it. What an epic waste.

  • Strange use of the word facade.
    The facade of this building was on the side street.
    The facade is the front face, not the side of the building which is (was) seen on 14th St.
    The building that remained was a shell.
    I believe shell is the right word for the context of the writer’s letter.

  • Shame they didn’t knock down the Nehmiah Shopping Center sign while they were at it… The sign alone is a reminder of the blight… Each day I would watch the bulldozers get closer and closer to the sign, waiting… but they left it up to taunt us forever! All we need is a strong wind!

  • They seemed to be trying to preserve it, so maybe it collapsed unintentionally.

    WTF is up with the shopping center sign? Are they planning to leave it as an historical marker?

  • Anonymous at 11:43 am: That’s what I heard. The shopping center’s name will be retained for the new development.

  • The city was forced to destroy the remaining shell at 1417 Belmont because the developer fully screwed up this project from day one. While working on the site it collapsed and injured several workers. Excavation at the site caused the building to the west to start to collapse. And there was the fear that the facade would collapse into the street. It was a serious safety hazard. The ally behind and to the east of the structure has been closed for well over a year…And it is still closed.

    It’s a shame that the developer was allowed to so neglect and mismanage the property that it was razed.

    Regarding the Nehemiah site, the developer there is talking with the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association of allowing part of the site to be turned into a garden site temporarily.

  • Oh it happened nearly two months ago I’ve been writing about it on my blog – seems like Mike has more information than me.

    If it was a safety hazard, then it should have been demolished but the building did look like it had some good bones, definitely potential to be something great.

  • All the alleys in that neighborhood should be closed. They serve little purpose other than to harbor criminals.

  • Rick,

    If you are going to close the alleys because they “harbor criminals,” you might as well close the street in front of the alley. I don’t understand people who think that closing an alley is going to solve a crime problem. Criminals are in the front, back, left and right side of the street. Do you want to entirely close up the neighborhood to prevent crime – as if that would solve the problem.

    In cities, alleys serve an important purpose. The allow for trash pickup and are an alternative driveway for traffic and deliveries. Alleys also accomodate tons of parked cars to be removed from city streets and allow residents another way of getting in and out of their houses. Also, several large apartment and condo developments have their garage access in the alley – what’s to happen with that.

    I understand your concern about crime but closing alleys would not solve the crime problem. As a matter of fact, how would you propose to close the alley – put up a gate with a guard, lock the gate and give everyone a key? Brick it up – I mean just how is this idea to take form especially when alleys are owned by the government. You would have to have special permission and permits and signatures of all the houses that back up to the alley before you could go forward.

    Don’t blame the alley, blame the criminal.

  • Good news…neighbors can look forward to a new wig shop, nail salon, Chinese carryout, and 24-hour mini-mart. Oh wait, that may have been the reason for the downfall.

  • That shell was the original Community of Hope Health clinic for low income individuals. Upstairs were apartments for homeless families and their offices. David Hilfiker wrote a fantastic book about this building, Adams Morgan and the founding of many of these non-profits in “Not All of Us are Saints.”

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