Indian Cultural Center from the Indian Embassy Coming to 1438 U Street, NW

1438 U Street, NW

Big news from U Street Dirt:

“We’ve just confirmed that 1438 U Street – the building that once housed “Cada Vez” and several other ventures that never really took hold – is being purchased by the Indian embassy for use as an Indian cultural center.”

It’s been a while since we had an update on the Old Station 9 space, glad to see this prime, long vacant space get a new tenant!

56 Comment

  • Going to take a lot of bleach to get the piss smell gone from the front of it.

    • I walk by this place everyday and there’s never a piss smell near it. What are you talking about?

      The gas station next door can be a bit sketchy late at night but it’s way better than it was say 4 years ago.

  • Wow, must have cost a lot of money. It would be interesting to see what they end up doing over there.

  • This could be really cool. We need more Indian culture in DC ( the damn suburbs get most of it!).

  • I’m excited about this, and think it is a fantastic use of the space. Yes, they will need to clean up the exterior.

  • Good news. This was the Spot of Death for clubs/restaurants, so it’s nice to see someone take this property down a different path.

  • Very interesting use of this space – I wish them well. Here’s hoping there’s some sort of Indian food element.

  • This is great news.Biased view as I am from the subcontinent. But it does make U street more mixed use, not only restaurents and bars.
    Now only if I can get a good Indian grocery store in NW without having to drive to the burbs. 🙂

    • Oh my god yes! We really need an Indian grocery here.

      • Sorry, but that’s not gonna happen. Most Indians live in the burbs.

        • Maybe that would change if they had more amenities here. I think a lot of young Indians would like to get away from suburban life but not lose their traditions and culture.

          • Hopefully. The two things I’d love in the city: an Indian grocery store (or one of those Asian ones that sells everything) and something like Woodlands in Hyattsville. It’s annoying to drive 6/7 miles to eat decent South Indian food.

          • I don’t think so; granted I don’t really have any Indian friends, but my sisters friends all value big houses (she convinced my parents to buy a house in cul de sac with no sidewalks and connectivity to bus lines or larger community) and driving from place to place.

          • My theory is that Indians aren’t charmed or impressed by a well-preserved Victorian rowhouse because they have older stuff than that all over the place in India. To them, big new construction is more prestigious and valuable. I guess it’s good that at least someone’s in the market for that stuff.

          • “Maybe that would change if they had more amenities here”
            I think schools would be #1.

          • Not all young Indians want kids, contrary to popular belief.

        • But if we can’t drive everywhere we’ll have to spend lots of time outside and then our skin will darken and then we will never find someone who wants to marry us!

  • The smell of piss on the street will recreate the ambiance of being on a city street in India 😉

    But really this is an awesome addition to the hood. Hopefully we can absorb some of the great things about Indian culture as a result of this.

  • The entire Washington region seems to be very geographically segregated. If you look at census data, there really are very few Asians living in the District. There was once a much larger Chinese community in the Chinatown area, and a significant Vietnamese community in Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights, but not anymore.

    • Just build some McMansions here and claim to have the most prestigious schools in the nation, and they will come.

      • True, there are affluent Chinese-American and Chinese immigrants, but in other cities there is still some in-migration of non-wealthy Chinese immigrants who are ekeing out a living in restaurants and other low-wage industries (at least when they first come to America). If you look at New York, booming “satellite” Chinatowns in Flushing and Sunset Park have certainly cropped up (and perhaps those are loosely analagous to suburban Chinese immigrant communities in MD/VA) but Manhattan’s Chinatown is still going strong (not much there in the way of McMansions–quite the opposite), particularly for Fujianese immigrants. I’m curious, is DC’s Chinatown no longer drawing those types of immigrants, and is there a reason why not? Is is the gentrification/development around Gallery Place, or was the immigrant population disappearing prior to that?

        • Actually, Manhattan’s Chinatown while still large is starting to shrink as well… The 2010 census showed a significant decline in the Chinese born population there (as a sidebar, in NY’s rapidly disappearing Little Italy there are literally NO Italian born residents at all anymore according to a recent article in the NY Daily News). The bottom line is that new immigrants will be increasingly less common in expensive, core neighborhoods — it is simple economics… What’s more, I think the US will likely see far fewer poor Chinese immigrants in the next few decades — the era of the old school Chinatown everywhere in this country is coming to an end. Rich Chinese… that is another story.

          • No doubt Manhattan Chinatown has shrunk, and it’s experienced similar encroachment from gentrification (and in turn, Chinatown has encroached substantially on what used to be Manhattan’s Little Italy), but from observation (having lived in New York until relatively recently) Manhattan Chinatown still maintains a strong presence, unlike DC’s Chinatown, at least from what I’ve seen–maybe I’ve missed some hidden side streets. I would also hazard a guess that the 2010 Census undercounted the true Chinese-born population, as is common for some immigrant populations that are reluctant to fill out the Census forms or present themselves to Census-takers (either because they’re undocumented, or are unaware of the Census, or are simply wary and mistrustful based on negative interactions with government in their home country).

        • My ex from college was a Chinese-American who’d grown up in Silver Spring and Bethesda. His Chinese-born parents always went to the Chinese restaurants along Rockville Pike, not to the ones in Chinatown, and he maintained that the “real” Chinatown was a swathe of Montgomery County. (And this was in the mid-1990s, so before the gentrification of D.C.’s Chinatown.)
          I could be wrong about this, but my impression had been that Chinese-born people in the D.C. area tend to be professionals rather than working-class people. That might explain their not gravitating to a traditional urban Chinatown, especially with their placing high importance on quality education and the poor quality of D.C.’s school system.

    • DC’s Chinatown was never very big and not far away were neighborhoods with various other ethnicities, pre-White flight. George Pelacanos mentions the former Greek aspect to the area in one of his novels. Early Jewish and German settlements were nearby.

    • It is wierd how white people just bunch all asians together…conversation was about india. Like the USAID person I know who uses Africa as country not continent.

  • Is this confirmed, by the way? Haven’t seen this anywhere other than U St Dirt. (They must have their sources, but still.)

  • Oooh, I hope they’re up and running in time for Diwali (early November)!

    • Wouldn’t it be awesome if they had a street party for Holi? I’d love to see U Street drenched in color.

  • I hope that this place is nothing like the Indian embassy here in DC. Such a surly collection of mini-tyrant technocrats I have never seen outside of India. That said I’m looking forward to something awesome.

    • LOL. Maybe that’s the culture they are trying to promote with this new thingy.

    • Nothing’s worse than the place you have to go to to get your visa!

    • Yep…quite like the horrible TSA agents of our own.

      • At least our TSA agents don’t go through our bags looking specifically for valuable items to “confiscate” until you accept their bribe.

        • I guess you dont travel much (or that matter read much). The TSA is constantly stealing items and getting into your business (agents leaving notes regarding sex toys, taking a sex toy out of the bag and taping it to the top of bag, stealing jewellery, stealing prosthetics etc etc).

          • Obviously I travel a lot if I’ve been to India. TSA thefts do happen (had a work laptop stolen when traveling within the US) but in India it’s normal and accepted and they’re usually after a bribe and not the actual item.

  • 50th comment! I win!!

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