29 Comment

  • As much as Jim Graham touts his involvement in rebuilding this building, he could have personally reconstructed it by this point. What in the world is the holdup?

  • It is a flat out disgrace. Look at the progress made next to Highland Park on Irving. This thing should have been torn down and rebuilt years ago. How many people are they helping by leaving this burned out shell undeveloped? Zero. They need to tear the whole thing down, and let a private developer put up housing. Jim Graham should be ashamed.

  • My kingdom for an errant wrecking ball. A vacant lot, at least, would offer a little change of scenery.

  • PoP, your prediction was sadly off:

    4.1 million… and 2 years later…. nothing.

  • Yeah, at this point, the former residents have found new apartments, moved out of town, etc. Just sell it to a developer and put in market rate housing with a percentage set aside for affordable housing, and be done with it.

    • That is not true. A lot of the residents live around the corner, and are still members of this community.

      • Great, sounds like you are in agreement with mrtindc then. the residents are living in the area, part of the community, etc. so let’s sell this to a developer and build it out at market rate.

    • I’d agree with this but for the line about a set-aside for affordable housing. We already have more than our fair share in NW. Go put some affordable housing units in Georgetown for Christ’s sake.

  • It is way past time that something happened with this property. I have written to Jim Graham, the lawyer for the tenant’s association and no one has any answers on when their might be some actual progress. The tenants don’t have the money. Sell it! Get something done. Oh yeah, they are being exempted from the “vacant and blighted” tax rate.

  • It’s time for Graham to go. Why you Ward 1 folks continue to vote for him is beyond me.

  • Agree with anyone and everyone who says this “building” needs to be torn down and sold off (or vice versa). The powers-that-be in Mt. P (aka Jim Graham) seem to be hell-bent on keeping Mt. Pleasant St as grungy and undeveloped as possible. Not saying I want it to become Columbia Heights ’cause I really don’t, but isn’t there a happy middle ground? Anything that helps the Mt. P Street strip be more welcoming and less grimy and loiter-tastic is a good thing.

  • I live in Mt Pleasant – right on the main street, in a market rate condo. Although I am all for affordable housing for the people who have lived here and who continue to work in the area, there already has been a significant amount of housing set aside in Mt Pleasant for this purpose. The St. Dennis was just gutted and renovated into many affordable units. There also are a couple of buildings on Mt. P that have been bought out by the tenants’ associations. The tenants of the Deauville should count their blessings that the city gave them over $4 million to purchase the property. In the past 4 years, though, the tenants have shown that they are unable to raise sufficient funds to complete the project. It’s a large lot that would probably sell in excess of $4 million. I wish they would sell to a developer, pay off the public loans, and split the money among them. Mt P needs a little more economic diversity along its main street anyway.

  • Tax ’em at the blighted property rate, at the very least. The only thing worse than a vacant shell there would be another bodega/dry cleaning place.

    • Wow, the above comments are not *in the least* racist or classist. Because clearly, Mt P as is / with affordable housing = Latino, grungy, bodega-bent. Not everyone wants to live in a homogenized yuppie-condo-ville, people. Mt P has character and diversity, which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of other places.

      • PDleftMtP

        I’ve lived in Mt. Pleasant for nearly 20 years. I moved there because it was diverse. I go out of my way to try to shop there, even though many (not all – yay Pfeiffers/Old School!) of the businesses aren’t that great. Mt. Pleasant Street has serious problems, and it’s been left behind by areas all around it. It’s not like this is a vibrant economic zone for anyone as it stands (guess what? Latinos shop at Target too), and it’s time to rethink what has and hasn’t been successful – and the neighborhood’s resistance to development falls in the “hasn’t” category. The crumbling shell of notional apartments is just another sympton of a chronic disease, as is the predictable and non-constructive Mt. Pleasant move of claiming that anybody who thinks yet another laundromat or bodega isn’t going to help the street is a yuppie racist. Saying we should all say no to development so that the minority-owned organic fair trade co-ops will flourish is not a strategy.

        • I dunno. If MtP really was such a a moribund economic zone, don’t you think all those bodegas and laundromats that people complain about would have simply closed by now? The fact of the matter is that people do shop there. It’s not like there’s a ton of empty sorefronts along the strip. It’s true, many of the businesses on MtP don’t cater to people with higher incomes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fullfilling a need.

      • Ah, the classic “anybody who doesn’t agree with me is a racist” line. I live in Mount Pleasant. I defy anyone to explain to me why the commenter is wrong and how another bodega/dry cleaner/check casher would be a major asset to the neighborhood. I really don’t understand your argument at all. Why is racist to think the neighborhood should aspire to have something more than low-paying jobs at stores selling low-quality goods? If anything, the commenter is progressive, saying he believes Mount Pleasant can do better. You should apologize to him/her or explain why he’s wrong.

        • bb thinks that the current vacant shell is better than a bodega or dry cleaner, and you want us to explain why that is wrong? Really? We can argue about economic diversity all you want, but that is just dumb.

          • Note that my original post says nothing about class or race. All I’m saying is that I want a diversity of businesses on that strip. I mean no harm to the places that are already there, I’m just saying I don’t want any further duplication. (The previous comment about why they don’t compete each other out of business is good – I’ve wondered that too.) And I want that burnt out shell to be put back into constructive use. Yeesh.

      • It simply isn’t racist to think that a dry cleaner or a bodega is not the best economic choice for the neighborhood, nor to note that a particular neighborhood already has a high number of these businesses. Announcing that that opinion must be “racist” or “classist” actually says more about that commentator calling them out than the person who is aspiring for a different kind of business. Further, it desensitizes other readers to actual racism, you know, the real kind.

  • I never new the history of this lot until now, but every time I walk by it I want it to be turned into a park. I picture the facade of the building being stabilized for structural integrity, some trees and greenery added to the interior perimeters. That space could be used to host early evening live music and movie nights projected on one of the nearby buildings. Or a few of the central windows could be filled in to provide a backdrop for a screen.

    Of course…I can totally see that not being ideal for neighbors, and the displaced tenants factor makes my dream seem particularly selfish.

  • I actually think the Jim Graham sign out front is a perfect advertisement for his candidacy and his tenure in the district.

    This whole project has become a mess of good intentions/bad outcomes, and the city has perpetrated the issues. Either the residents have the money to buy the place and reconstruct it, or not.

  • Architecture team has been selected. Construction will begin in Winter 2012.

  • To my knowledge the financing is not yet in place for any work which is why nothing has happened to date, and I believe the property has been re-classified to be taxed at the blighted rate instead of as being improved and occupied which it clearly is not. I had inquired about its tax rate after the Post story about it several months ago.

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