AYT Auto Closing at 14th and R St, NW But Reopening in 2 Other Locations

Earlier in the week we looked at some renderings for a new building coming to the corner of 14th and R St, NW. As a result of that discussion, I was alerted to the fact that the super popular AYT Auto Mechanic will be closing next door. A reader writes:

“This morning I dropped off my car for repairs and talked to the guys about it. Confirmed. I was told the owner will not renew their lease and DC will not zone for an auto repair shop anywhere else in that area. There’s a condo (the Aston or something?) going up right next to the building, and the AYT building will not be torn down but renovated. Was also told there used to be a garage 10-12 years ago on 14th between RI and P or so, and the guy who owns that building now wants $45k a MONTH in rent.

They have a flyer on the counter announcing the closure and that as of January 2 you can visit their two other DC locations. Of course these are not as convenient for someone to drop off a car at 14th & R and then walk downtown. They’re aware of that and say customers have expressed their displeasure about losing that convenience and the overall loss of an auto repair shop in the neighborhood. The other locations will be offering shuttle service to help downtown workers get back and forth though, so that’s something.

I for one am going to miss them. They’ve always treated me right and they’re really nice guys. Shame that 14th St is becoming less a neighborhood and nothing but restaurants, bars, and high end furniture stores. Oh, and condos–you know, full of people who will need services. *sigh*”

I spoke to the folks at AYT on the phone and they said, indeed that Dec. is their last month. The two new locations will be at 620 I (Eye) St, NW and 2121 West Virginia Ave, NE.

In the past we’ve spoken about good mechanics here.

46 Comment

  • For a lot of people, the definition of a neighborhood is “condos, restaurants, bars, and high-end furniture stores.”
    Not surprising that these folks are getting priced out of that neighborhood. Any of the few remaining lots that can be converted to housing will be as soon as they are available. There’s a lot more money in condos or luxury rentals than there is in auto repair. That’s neither good nor bad; it is what it is.

  • It really is sad that the businesses that benefit the residents of Logan Circle are all being forced out by new condos, bars, and restaurants. One of the reasons I moved here 20 years ago was the fact that I could walk to all the services. I can’t imagine that there are enough buyers for all the condos going up.

    • Consider living in the whole city and not a 4 block radius.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen “walking distance to auto repair shop” listed as a condo/house selling point.

    • Supposedly, there was a glut of condos just a few years ago. Hence the reason why a number of planned condo projects became luxury rentals. But I don’t understand how anyone can afford to rent any of these new places either. $2300 for a one-bedroom apartment? How many people are getting out of school with the ability to pay $25-30k a year in rent?

    • The businesses that serve the residents of Logan Circle are bing forced out by… MORE residents of Logan Circle. No doubt the current residents forced something out when they moved in too in past years – things like affordale housing. I am sad that the people who moved in 20 years ago have made it impossible for me to live in Logan Circle.
      It’s a constant churn; nothing stays the same.

    • Unfortunately the bars and restaurants mostly do NOT cater to the local residents. On any Thurs-Sun night the streets are packed with youngsters from the suburbs who drive or metro in to take part in the U Street and 14th Street nightlife. As a result, market forces could convert every available storefront to bar/restaurant use and deprive the local resident of the other services they want.

      • Then why are new residents moving there?

      • I’m not sure who you are referring to as “youngsters” but I feel like most of the 14th st/U st area is full of late 20/30 and early 40 somethings and mostly people that live in the area. I don’t feel like there are a lot of burbians.

        But you might be in your 60’s and think 30yo’s are “youngsters.”

  • this really sucks – AYT is awesome, and having them in that location is amazingly convenient.

    • Couldn’t agree more. So freaking easy to drop of your car and either walk home or walk/bus/bike to work. And they’re so great about prices and not BS’ing you into unneeded work.

      It’s a sad fact of the cycle of development that the businesses that started the turn around in the neighborhood can’t stick around. RIP:

      Dogs by Day
      Green Pets
      Miss Pixy
      Mid City Cafe
      Go Mama Go
      Garden Center

  • It is a shame that the auto repair shop had to move out, but in general, what is happening on 14th Street is NOT a shame. It is one of the most central thoroughfares of the city. It should be nice (retail, restaurants, etc.). I understand that people don’t like change and the loss of some of these services is frustrating, but you wouldn’t expect to see this type of operation on M Street in Georgetown, would you? Now, I know that 14th is a long way from M Street, but it is heading that way.

    Plus, you still have American Foreign Car Service at V and Vermont, next to American Ice Co. They’ve always done a good job for me.

    • Amen!

      What’s up with people wanting to live in a village within the city? Get on the metro you paid so much to live by and visit other parts of it. Sheesh.

    • You mean the Exxon Mobile gas station and autoshop on Penn Ave, after the bridge, as PA termintes at M St? 🙂

      Yea, I would expect that a neighborhoods residents will miss amenities that are closing. Especially a good one, with a nice reputation and its convenience in the area.

      I am making no bones about what 14th should be.

  • I went with a friend last night to look at a house for sale in Langdon, the neighborhood just south of RI Ave NE and just north of the WV Ave location AYT is moving to. I was impressed with how attractive and well-maintained the homes in the area are.

    My personal opinion is that the the RI corridor is something to watch. The businesses along it are bit funky but the neighborhoods are quite nice. Plus, it’s being squeezed by Brookland to the North, Bdale/Eckington to the West and H Street/NY Avenue to the south. The people I spoke to in Langdon told me they walk to the RI metro, although it’s about 15 minutes.

    And for all those complaining about the high cost of housing in DC, you can buy a nice townhouse there for… drum roll, please… less than $200,000!

    No way that’s gonna last.

    • That’s why I bought in Brookland 3 years ago. Good value for the money, neighborhood is quite nice. Nice tree lined streets, you actually have a yard, and I’m only 8 blocks to metro and have two bus lines within a block of my house, one which runs every 5 minutes in rush hour, straight to the metro.

      With the shopping getting built at RIA and Brookland metros, the Target/Costco at Ft Lincoln, Walmart/Lowes on NY Ave, there will soon be lots of places to shop. Plus H St NE is not that far away either.

      • There’s still a lingering perception (based heavily on racism) that the liveable city is somewhere to the West of 14th… although that boundary has shifted a few blocks and now takes in Logan.

        When I moved to Bloomingdale, I was surprised at how many NW DC (Dupont, Logan included) dwellers — many of whom disdain what they see as the narrowness of the burbs — have never ventured east of 9th, still imagine Ledroit to be a scary ghetto, and consider a tiny section of NW to be the whole city.

        It’s a provincial and ironic mindset.

        Sadly, it will prevent many people from making good financial investments cause they’ll buy a $400,000 tiny condo in Logan that will marginally appreciate (cause it will be duplicated a hundred fold) rather than a plot of land in NE that will likely go way up.

        • That “line” shifted a long time ago in NW – first it was don’t go east of dupont, then it was 16th (west of the park), then by the mid-90’s 14th St (metro opened and the BCat and 9:30 were firmly established)… but after that it just kept moving….. Now there really is no huge “line not to move past”. Funny how decreasing crime and increasing options for entertainment/eateries and transportation influences where people will go. Now people will even move to… Bloomingdale! (or new residents or whatever).

          Many of those NW residents who bought in Logan 15 years ago remember when Logan was the crackwhore central of NW and Ledroit was a shoot-em-up gallery. There were no restaurants, no bars and nothing to go to. So nobody who didn’t live there went there. But yeah, blanket “racism” charge is really refreshing.

          And what if people buy where they want to live, and not view their home as a money-making entity.. but just their home? what if people want a condo, because they don’t want to fix up a whole house, can’t afford to fix up that 200K rowhome, and don’t want the overhead/headaches of a house instead of a condo, when all they want is a nice place to rest their head?

          I like NW, because I like walking to work, quick multiple accesses to Rock Creek and I love living near MalcolmX park – the drum circles always make me smile. That ain’t racism. That ain’t capitalism. It’s home.

          • I disagree with your point that racism has played no part in where Washington’s races live.

            I stand by my point that the city is a lot bigger than 9th street west. If you can’t afford to live west of 9th, move east of 9th. Live in the whole city.

          • You can’t disagree with a point I did not make. Racism plays a part in EVERYTHING in the USA and her cities. But to state that race was a determining factor, and not mention crime during the same periods, is to ignore the other major factors in where people choose to live.

            The city is 16 or so odd square miles, so your point that the city is not extends beyond 9th street is conceeded based on geography alone. When are you moving to Hill East? After all, the city is not NW alone. 🙂

            One cannot “live in the whole city”. Once can only live in one location.

            Damn, I just figured out who you are. Nevermind.

          • identified,

            70 square miles.

        • There are certainly some blighted areas between NW and Brookland. The whole NY Ave NE corridor is very blighted and RI Ave NE is not much better. I imagine many NW DC people cross N Capitol St and see how blighted that area looks that they never even make it to Brookland, Woodridge, Langdon, Michigan Park, and the other nice neighborhoods of NE.

          The farther out areas of NE are kind of off the radar, but I think they hold the most potential for appreciation. Once all the big retail/residential projects take hold and RI Ave and NY Ave clean up a bit, the whole area will take off I think.

          But I agree, 400k plot of actual land versus a condo. I’ll take the land which will likely appreciate a lot more.

          • What’s deceptive is that the major corridors lead people to think that the surrounding areas are horrible. I’ve found that many of the corridors (Florida Avenue, NY Avenue, RI Avenue) are decrepit but the neighborhoods around them are quite nice. Therefore, DC doesn’t need as much in-fill as many people probably think. It’s going to become gentrified — for better or worse — and pricey throughout the city faster than many realize.

          • True, and it’s not just NE. Georgia Ave NW is just as blighted as RIA NE.

            The major roads are blighted I think due to fleeing business investment from 1960 on. This is only now starting to turn around. A lot of the retail spaces on these corridors are small and only conducive to restaurants, small shops, etc. Most modern stores need more space than that.

    • nothing good will happen along rhode island avenue ne for quite a while.
      sure, someday maybe, but give it 10-15 years.

      even the brand new project at ria metro station is a suburban wet dream.

      ward 5 needs to vote tommy thomas out and bring in new leadership.

      but langdon is indeed a nice neighborhood and the park is one of the coolest in the city.

      • How is it a “suburban wet dream”? It’s dense housing right next to a Metro station.

        • it’s how projects are being built in the suburbs these days. backs turned and inaccesible to the main road. non-individually owned and controlled units to maintain visual cohesiveness/blandness/uniformity. a new main street is constructed between two flanking segments adjacent to a parking garage.

          drive around herdon, or gaithersburg or rockville or where ever. you’ll see the same formula.

          but yes, it’s dense, and better than a parking lot. it’s still not a boon to rhode island avenue.

          • The problem with that area around the metro is that once you go east of 4th NE on RIA, the city grid is pretty much not there. Not until 13th street does the grid reappear. Of course the ideal thing would be to reconstruct the grid in that area, but that would mean tearing down the railyard, post office warehouse, Home Depot shopping center, Edgewood Terrace, BET, and on and on. In other words, not gonna happen.

            So in the particular area around RIA metro, the development there makes sense. It’s bringing a lot of new residents to the area as well as new shops and restaurants. Yes, it kind of has a town center feel to it, but it’s better than a parking lot and given what I stated above, makes sense for that area.

  • I feel bad because the guys at AYT have always been straight with me, but they’ve “fixed” the same problem on my car 3 times, and the same part has cracked twice now. I’ve asked them to use OEM parts, but they use substandard parts instead.

    When I take it back, they fix it free of charge, but I’d swear their incompetence has caused several other issues to suddenly emerge. Not saying their devious and breaking stuff, but I think they haven’t done a top quality job with my car; given that my car is now 12 years old, though, I think part of it has to do my car’s age…

    I’ve continued to go (even with the constant issues) largely due to convenience and the fact that I like the guys there, but once they move, I won’t be going to their other locations.

  • I hope they somehow keep that mural. I could never tell, is the person working on the underside of the car or is he actually lifting the car into the air with magical AYT strength!

    • The may keep the mural, but it will be abutting a 7-story condo, so you’ll never see it again.

      Given that Mid City (gone), AYT (soon gone), and likely Pixies is facing/faced massive rent increases, sounds like the building’s owner wants to tear the building down and sell/develop the loft for more condos.

  • The real shame is that Mid City Coffee is gone. I will never stop missing that place. I know alot of people disliked it, but I loved it.

  • this is somewhat dated news… The building, including miss pixies’ space is already being marketed for new retail spaces: http://www.streetsense.com/images/flyers/dc/1626-1630_14th%20St_Flyer.pdf

  • Hopefully the sex / male wrestling club at 14th & Corcoran will survive and keep going strong!

  • They’re moving to 6th and I. So you can still drop off your car and walk downtown. Relax.

    There’s also Douglas Auto at 14th and Swann, 2 blocks away.

  • I’m pretty bummed about losing AYT on 14th Street, but I will say that I visited their Eye street location recently (that’s where the body shop is and sadly I needed that type of repair), and it’s right near the gallery place metro station. Some may be relieved to know that.

  • I was responding to a post about auto repair and a post about gentrification broke out. 🙂

    Auto Tech Services on Ontario north of U St is terrific. Honest guys who do good work. Please don’t go there though, because you will blow up the spot.

  • Never was too fond of ayh no matter how much the examiner loves them.
    Try Victoria by RI metro.

    I have used ayh over the years & keep hoping they will get better. I have found them to be a mixed bag. Sometimes good, sometimes not. Nice mechanics, but management is questionable IMHO.

    Last time I went I was thinking of selling my car. Got an estimate that assumed no work had been done for 50k miles. Did not get the estimate in writing, which h is what I had requested going in. Two other shops did not see some of the items told to me. When I had the engine partially apart to work on some easier things – the timing belt looked new. (One of the things quoted) .

  • For what it’s worth, the location on West Virginia Avenue NE is not new. It’s been there for many years.

Comments are closed.