Dear PoPville – What is this Building?


Dear PoPville,

It seems to be a vacant building on F Street, NW between 9/10. It’s been this way since I moved to the city in 2008 and the entire area has become shopping and eating hotspot but nothing happens to this building. It’s next to Ultra Bar and even has a fancy security cameras on top… Doesn’t seem vacant.

I’m wondering if anyone knows what is going on here?

For a detailed history of the building check out the incredible piece written by Streets of Washington:

The space was then used briefly for a teen dance club called Club Bounce that was closed in October 2008 after a shooting incident nearby. New owners planned an events-oriented venue, to be called the “Museum of Arts and Sciences,” but the new club never officially opened. Finally, Douglas Development purchased the property in 2011, announcing that it would be renovated for retail or restaurant use rather than as another nightclub.

29 Comment

  • That use to be Platinum back in my younger days. Went once and hated it, I’ve never been much of a clubber.

  • Back in the early, early, 90’s it used to be a club called Fifth Column.

  • FIFTH COLUMN! Oh, college.

  • YES the FIFTH COLUMN – one of the best nightclubs in DC! Monday nights open bar!

  • Wasn’t the Fifth Column next to this place, and this place was called The Bank? Great clubs back in the late 80’s early 90’s.

  • Fifth Column, where I met my husband back when we were college freshman.

  • ahh yes, the bank and fifth column. plenty of sunday night spent there.

    • For me it was Monday nights with DJ Mohawk Adam. Nowadays the idea of going out on a Monday seems completely nutty. I’m getting old.

  • Wow — Platinum. Haven’t heard a reference to the club since probably my sophomore year of college (2001).

    Anyone remember Polly Esther’s? Loved that place.

    • Yes! Polly Esther’s with its terrible 70s reference. My go to was Coco Loco’s up the block.

      Just reminds me when this area was way sketchy and they shoved all the big box clubs here in low rent warehouses….now the streets are peppered with J. Crew and Anthropology. When people say H Street will never be….never, say never.

      • I thought Coco Loco was where RFD is now? Or are you thinking of the Hawaiian Tropic bar that was near Polly Esther’s?

        Hard to believe there was once a Popeye’s where the Pret A Manger is now…

  • Yeah I went here when it was “The Bank” back in ’97-’98 maybe. It tried to be a reggae club but it wasnt big enough. It still had the safe deposit boxes which I thought was cool.

  • I transferred to AU the fall of 1996 and for about two years remember this being the Bank. Fun times! And next door to it was Casbah where you had to have a super secret handshake to get into the 3rd level. I think it was Masoud A, the club promoter who was associated with Platinum. before he was part owner of Lima he was doing rag tag parties at paper moon, the alamo, casbah, tuscana west.

    Who’s dated now??

  • i can’t tell you how many times i threw up on myself in front of this building the Fifth column…circa 1995.

  • Came out to my straight friends here when it was Fifth Column in the early 90s. Loved the overhead waterfall and water wall in the back chill room

  • It is now the Washington’s newest location for the MIB (Men In Black). There are so many aliens in DC that a new office was open to handle them

  • It’s a landmark building. Even the interior banking hall is protected (which is rare; only a couple dozen buildings have protected interiors). The most previous owner fully rehabbed the interior about 2 years ago, including ripping out all the c. 1990 catwalks. The classical architecture and huge skylight of the banking hall were restored and a club was going to open. It lasted about a week before it went bust. They were undercapitalized.

    Douglas Development has taken over the property, has a proposal going to Historic Board this week to add a 7 story rear addition which will be behind (not on top of) the banking hall skylight. The tower will be offices. The banking hall will be high-end retailer.

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