19 Comment

  • I think it’s a shame when old buildings are torn down, but maybe Ben’s had a good reason? While not technically “historic”, a little piece of the original H Street is now gone forever it seems.

    • My guess is that they got financing for construction of a new, mixed-use building. Which is exactly the direction H Street is headed – ground floor retail, upper level condos and rentals.
      Old man Ben is getting into the residential real estate game?

  • For a while it looked like they were trying to work on the old structure, not tear it down. Then recently the whole thing was gone. Maybe they ran into some issues that couldn’t be resolved?

  • Hum… this is interesting. I hadn’t heard anything about new construction here. I hope they use the opportunity to put up a mixed-use development and don’t just put up a new 1-story restaurant-only building.

    Although, it seems a new mixed-use building would be public knowledge already at this stage. My guess the most likely outcome is a new-2 story building with a kitched and counter downstairs and a bar or more seating upstairs.

    • Yeah, I’m guessing you’re right about it probably being a new 2 story building. Anyone know anything for sure?

      • I went by it today and there’s a sign up for a Ben’s Chili Bowl and a Ben’s “Upstairs” so it would make sense that it will be a 2 story building at least. I believe it is supposed to have a rooftop as well.

  • Wow that is such a shame. It was a nice looking old building and a fresh coat of paint and new storefront windows could have really made it shine.

  • justinbc

    We drove by last night and had to turn the car around to drive back and make sure we weren’t seeing things. I had just assumed with the fence up they were going to be building in the same building, especially with their supposed nod to DC history. It looked like the whole site had been blown up! What a shocker.

  • The building that was demolished is about the most nondescript building I can imagine. Who cares?

    • Yeah, that building was nothing special The building to the left is pretty nice, though. I hope that Ben’s has a good design for the new building. BTW, you can see the new poles for the streetcar in the top pic..

      • justinbc

        “BTW, you can see the new poles for the streetcar in the top pic”

        Say what now? Where?

        • Maybe the poster was referring to the pole on the far left side of the frame with two lamps about fifteen feet off the ground? I’m still not sure how those new poles will interface with the streetcar, but I will say their light seems to be dimmer than the taller one-lamp poles, an example of which you can see at the corner of 10th & H in the top photo

    • So you expect the new building to be something special? I expect it to be another of the boring, generic new buildings that are popping up all over the city. I wish they had kept the old building and worked with it to keep some character on the street. Even a modestly designed old building like this one would probably have more personality than whatever goes up.

      I hope I am totally wrong about their design plans and would be delighted if I was.

  • If you look at the bottom pic, there is an arm with a traffic light on the post. On the middle pic, the arm is gone, but you can see that it is a temporary installation, check the orange and white barrel, you can see the temporary concrete base next to it. In the top pic, you can see that the pole is anchored in the sidewalk, that it is much thicker, and the finial on top is different. Plus, the light pole on the far left is one of the new tall ones, the twin lamps are the same height as they used to be, but the poles are higher to accommodate the overhead wires for the streetcar. The taller, stronger poles will support the overhead power systems for the streetcar.

  • Demolition is not consistent with their approved building permit. Now that the building is demolished, their plans no longer conform to the HS Overlay zoning regulations. Their permit comments online indicate they got 0.5 FAR bonus for preservation of a pre-1958 facade.

    Let’s hope that DCRA and the Office of Zoning take appropriate action to enforce the law.

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