Dear PoPville – What’s up with the parking lot right in front of Howard Theatre?

600 block of Florida Ave, NW

“Dear PoPville,

Do you have information about the parking lot right in front of Howard Theatre that it currently used as “Premium Valet” parking? To whom does this land belong and who is managing it? Are there plans to develop this lot into a public space that respects and celebrates the heritage of the Howard Theatre? Currently, it is an eyesore, which hides the theater from Florida behind rows of parked utility trucks during the week, in a section of the U Street Heritage Trail that it increasingly nice between the Theatre itself, the Duke Ellington Sculpture and plaza and Right Proper Brewing Company. The city provided an $8 million grant and $4 million in Great Streets Tax Increment Financing (TIF) toward the restoration of the historic Theatre and it is sad that 2 years later – the space in front of remains a dilapidated parking lot.

The Theatre does not actually need this lot as it already has a Self Parking lot A which they describe as “a safe, secure and well lit parking lot located less than 1 block away from the Theatre on the corner of 7th and T Streets, NW”.

The site would be much more valued by being a park or a plaza. In fact, this was the original plan in the 2004 Development Framework for a cultural destination district within Washington DC’s greater Shaw/U street: it intended to “Relocate the car dealership and create a restaurant / cafe use with an open space / outdoor cafe component”.

2004 rendering via Office of Planning

How the Howard Theatre looked in 2008:


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