Popping Up on North Capitol Street in Bloomingdale

A couple of weeks ago we noted that some serious construction had come to the old Borf Building at 1636 North Capitol St. NW (2 storefronts away from the coming Engine Co. 12 restaurant.) At the time the conversation had focused on Engine Co. 12’s delayed opening but we also heard some scuttlebutt that 1636 North Capitol St, NW could become apartments up top and retail below – with the retail possibly being filled by a coffee shop or wine bar. More info when it becomes available.

In the meantime – do you think the pop up will be a good addition?

37 Comment

  • i think it’s sad.

    it went up in about 2 days and nothing has changed in 2 weeks. i guess theres a problem.

  • i miss the borf crew.

  • Is that gray cinder-block thing at street level permanent, or is it related to construction?

    I have a bad feeling that it’s the former. 🙁

  • They need to fix the facade on the streetlevel.

  • It looks about as artistic as anything Borf ever did.

  • Obviously plywood looks hideous, I’m not optimistic that the final product will be much better, but I guess they could theoretically put on a brick facade and save it.

    • sorry to sound so jaded, but yeah. right.

      • this is only about 3 blocks away from the other hideous pop-op on P Street just east of North Capitol. I do not understand why Zoning allows for these monstrosities!

        • c-2-a zoning
          “Permits matter-of-right low density development, including office employment centers, shopping centers, medium-bulk mixed use centers, and housing to a maximum lot occupancy of 60% for residential use and 100% for all other uses, a maximum FAR of 2.5 for residential use and 1.5 FAR for other permitted uses, and a maximum height of fifty (50) feet. Rear yard requirements are fifteen (15) feet; one family detached dwellings and one family semi-detached dwellings side yard requirements are eight (8) feet.”

        • except for the few buildings that front north capitol, that entire block should be leveled.

  • Too early to judge. Wait until it’s all tricked out with trim and mouldings. For now, the windows line up with the ones on the second floor, and the roomy OSB panel above the main header gives me hope for a thoughtful decorative gesture or two.

    • +1 Why is everyone hating this? If they continue the style of the original portion of the building, I don’t see how it’ll make people’s eyes bleed. Seriously — what’s the specific issue?

  • Hopefully with time it’ll improve, but right now that looks utterly ridiculous compared to its neighbors.

  • I pass it every day and it is even more obtrusive than than the average pop-up. Looks very jarring.

  • OMG. Hate.

  • I’ve rarely seen a popup I can even tolerate and this one seems to be one of the worst offenders.

    The original building was beautiful, no need to ruin it for a few extra square feet. its not as if that stretch of road is so full that you couldnt find a place with more space originally included in the structure…

    • i agree that it’s ugly, but it’s not like even the empty spaces are cheap along this corridor. the owner may not be able or willing to fork over more cash for a new building when they can as a matter of right, add more density to a structure they own.

  • I don’t see how that’s going to look good. Unless they find some way to integrate the old roof line, which I don’t see how.

  • It looks like they could have just hoisted a trailer up there and gotten the same effect.

  • My coffee cup is half-full so here is to hopeful thinking that it’ll turn out really great.


  • if this breathes more life onto north capitol, so be it.

  • Remuddled! It destroys the character of the building.

  • andy

    Can somebody just tag this thing with a giant BORF before construction resumes? Somebody? Anybody?

  • this is a nightmare and ruins the architectural integrity of the building…

  • This is why Bloomingdale (& potentially Eckington) need to be designated as Historic Districts… to prevent this type of junk. Word is there is a movement afoot and there will be news soon…

    We can only hope the owner takes it upon him/herself to stay in context with the rest of the building.

    • I think a good portion of Eckington needs this designation as well.

    • Tear down the pop up! It’s the most hideous structure in the neighborhood when the original structure had so much promise. I can’t see how the owner can possibly redeme the historical facade.

    • As a Bloomingdale resident: please god, NO! At least not for a few years when I’ve had the chance to make tasteful renovations and improvements to my own property without getting approval from some board.

  • It’s totally out of scale and context. At a minimum, it should have been set back from the original structure along the front facade. Based on the speed and quality of the work thus far (and the lack of a historic district), I’d imagine it will be clad is some cheap aluminum siding with vinyl windows.

    Historic Districts come with their own baggage, but I agree with BloomieRes, one in this area would prevent this type of bastardation of historic buildings and is absolutely needed in Bloomingdale before it’s too late.

    • I wonder what that would entail… I mean, what’s considered historic? most of the homes around there were built late 1890s early 1900s, so is the whole area historic? where does one draw the line?

      • Personally, I like a mix of historic and modern buildings and don’t see why they can’t coexist.

      • in order to prevent these types of structures, the entire neighborhood would have to be considered historic. unfortunately there is not a neighborhood designation that is between a full on historic neighborhood and having the right to build what you want.

  • it now has another 1/2 level and rood deck. so a 3 storey pop up.

  • they have bricked the facade, and moved the cornice up to the top. while the brick choice is very different, i’m pleasantly surprised by the result.
    it does not look horrible.

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