Cool Old House near Meridian Hill Park Getting Demolished


“Dear PoPville,

It is a sad day for us residents of the 1400 block of Belmont Street next to Meridian Hill Park. I remember you spotlighting this rowhouse before so I thought I would share. I spoke with the contractor today. It is being torn down to make way for condos that will fill in the empty lot next door and where the rowhouse will have once stood. It boggles my mind that the city requires preserving facades like the one at Louis 14 yet this rowhouse can be torn down simply because it is not in a historic district. The views over the city in the new condos will be outstanding though. Any word on who the developer is and what the plans are?”


25 Comment

  • Is there any community support for getting a law passed to preserve old building facades outside of historic districts?

  • This is so disappointing. It will surely be replaced with poorly-constructed, cramped, overpriced condos.

    • With people lining up to buy them. Lets let the market decide what is cramped and overpriced.

      Seems like a positive to me. Some burnt out shell, with a wierdly huge sideyard in a very valuable part of the city will be put to its highest and best use.

  • I’m all for it. The only thing we have to fear is fear [of new buildings] itself. Sure, a lot of new stuff is junk – but I refuse to commit a neighborhood to being a time capsule for all time. What happens when you lock down a neighborhood out of an interest in “preserving it” is that you make it inaccessible (expensive) and you make your system rule-bound and archaic.

    • Versus just a free-for-all tear it down, no history matters…

      • No, that’s not the counterfactual that I, or anybody, was proposing. Both extremes are faulty, but locking down a neighborhood based on the ideals of preservation is crazy on its face. See recent articles documenting what preservation has done to home prices in SF and elsewhere. This is a broken up old building and adding some new architecture to the ‘hood will keep things interesting over time.

    • Fourteenth Street from Thomas Circle to Florida Avenue is ENTIRELY within historic districts. You should go there because then you would know that you are completely incorrect.

      • justinbc

        How does going to 14th St prove that he’s incorrect about preservation making an area expensive?

        • It doesn’t. I was addressing, “…commit a neighborhood to being a time capsule for all time…” and “…you make your system rule-bound and archaic.” Rule-bound we may be, but the proof is in the pudding, or in this case on the street.

          And the economic exclusivity would surely have come without the historic districts in place.

  • This is hardly a good example of a ‘free for all’ in DC historic preservation circles. I haven’t visited the building but I not be surprised to learn it has very substantial structural issues, which would mean it isn’t being torn down simply because it’s not in an historic district. Not every building can be preserved and not every one needs to be – at some point there isn’t enough left to justify preservation. And saving only the facade is not preservation, it’s facadectomy.

    • Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

      As a neighbor to this property I would like everyone to know how happy we are that development is taking place there. It has been abandoned and falling down (literally) forever, with homeless residents sleeping on the porch and rats going in and out. The backyard is like a mosquito jungle during the summer and branches constantly fall onto the phone/cable wires knocking out service for the block.

      To the comment earlier about the “weird huge sideyard” – that was actually another building owned by the same person that fell down 4-5 years ago. Collapsed right in on itself. The news came out to shoot video and DC government fines were involved for stabilization, if I am not mistaken.

      This will be a HUGE development and I’m not too happy about what is going in. That said, it is a huge improvement over what was there and is simply meeting the demand of the city for more housing. To rehap the existing structures would have easily cost over a million dollars and simply made no sense given the state of disrepair they were in.

      To rehab these properties was easily a million dollar

  • The newer condo buildings on the south side of Belmont have jaw-dropping incredible views of the city. These places will be big $$$ and worth the price, IMHO.

  • ^^This.. The views from this lot and this side of Belmont is AMAZING!!. I’d paid to live there, but only if they make the units larger/duplex or even floorthrough. I just cant see me giving up my rowhouse to move into a cramped boxy apartment style condo as they have mass produced in DC.

  • Paul Lutov used to own and sold it to some architect who tried flipping the plans / lot(s). Paul Lutov grew up in the house being torn down when his father was involved with the Russian church going way back in DC from what Paul shared with me I walked through the house as it was last used as a group home of sorts and needed its fair share of renovation.

  • Okay, so clearly there is little left to save, however, sometimes I worry that what happened in SW might start happening more throughout the city. Too often we tear down history.

  • Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s haunted. In that same vein, just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s historically-relevant.

  • Can I buy the copper bay window?

  • It’s just nice to see development over there. I used to live a block away, and that part of Belmont was not someplace you’d want to walk alone after dark, less than 10 years ago.

  • Looks like it could have collapsed in on itself at any moment; can’t save them all.

  • On the other hand, there is lots of stuff sitting in historic districts (thinking of all the early-80’s era square brick facades with tiny windows on Cap Hill) that should not, IMO, be protected the same as others.

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