HR-57 Scuttlebutt Confirmed! Hoping to Come (back) to Shaw

600 block of Florida Ave, NW

Back in July a reader asked what was happening with the parking lot across from the Howard Theatre. And in early August we learned that HR-57 would be closing on H Street and moving somewhere new in NW.

At that time a commenter wrote:

“The owner came and talked to the Ledroit Park Civic Association a few months ago. The city has asked them if they were interested in putting in a bid to build a new structure right across the street from the Howard Theater in the parking lot on the corner. It would be a great addition to the neighborhood!”

Thanks to all who sent emails with the confirmation from Capital Bop:

“Tony Puesan told CapitalBop on Wednesday that he will submit a proposal to the D.C. government to purchase a vacant, city-owned property on the corner of T Street and Florida Avenue NW, across the street from the Howard Theatre. Located at 625 T St., the site is currently a parking lot owned by the city.

Puesan’s development proposal has yet to be approved by the District government. But if the deal goes through, he says the new location would allow for extended daytime hours and more resources for musicians.

Ultimately, the response on H Street was not strong enough to keep Puesan there. The allure of U Street’s foot traffic, along with the opportunity to own his own building, spurred the move back to Northwest.”

Updates if/when the deal goes through.

23 Comment

  • Yay! Walking distance!!
    The only thing that would make this better would be if they stayed BYOB but that is a pipe dream I’m sure.

  • Yeah, no thanks. When this news broke last week, it was reported that they wanted a single-story building… What a waste of space. This corridor needs to better utilize the vertical space of any empty lots that get developed.

    • Pretty sure the owner can’t afford to build a taller/larger structure. That lot is relatively small/awkwardly shaped for a big development, though I agree that they should go at least 2-3 stories.

    • I saw that too. No thanks.

      Florida Ave doesn’t need a one story building built on the cheap.

    • I could not disagree more. And the neighborhood does, too (ANC 1B and the LeDroit Park Civic Association have sent official letters of support).

      99% of the development of empty in this area lots is going up 6-10 stories or more. This is a small lot and a new 1-2 story jazz club would be a refreshing break from the current trend of big glass-and-concrete towers.

      Of course, since the city is asking for bids via an RFP someone planning to build another tower will outbid the poor jazz club owner and then you’ll get your wish for another ugly tower.

      • Unless they get a bunch of zoning variances, there’s little chance that a larger developer will vie for that plot on its own. It’s just too small/awkward to make much profit.

    • need to? why?

  • What a waste of city owned land if this happens! Just auction the land with the requirement that the owners lease the bottom floor to HR-57 for a cut rate price. That way the city makes more money through the sale while also reaping property and income taxes from any other residents/businesses. That way we as a city aren’t wasting prime development space 600 feet from a metro entrance with a one-story building.

  • This does not seem like the best idea. Can it be that in all of Shaw there’s no suitable space in an existing building that would suit the needs of HR-57, with renovation? That parking space would make a perfect expansion of the existing plaza. Even as it is, it provides a good setting for the Howard; with good design the two plazas could make a great public gathering space – how about some outdoor concerts?
    I’d worry too whether HR-57 would be able to build a new building, even if they are given the land for free – they seem to have been going through rough times recently with two relocations; it would be a shame if the stress of construction caused their demise, something I’ve seen with two non-profit organizations I have known.

    • “Ultimately, the response on H Street was not strong enough to keep Puesan [HR-57] there. The allure of U Street’s foot traffic, along with the opportunity to own his own building, spurred the move back to Northwest.”

    • I agree. I am pushing for an extension of the Duke Ellington Plaza ! why does the city needs to build all the land it owns ? We spent $19 million renovating the Howard Theater –

  • They had the ugliest building on h street. I was always a little disappointed that they weren’t open earlier in the evenings. Seems like they missed an opportunity for families that wanted to bring their well behaved kids to hear music.

    • justinbc

      Yeah the building looked like total crap. It was always sparsely populated whenever we would show up, so no surprise they decided to move.

    • Totally agree. I am a huge live music fan and that they were never able to draw me as a neighbor is a business failing. The facade was bizarre. Open up the windows and entice people with the music. Put a chalkboard out front, hang a sign. They were always changing their drink/food options and they seemed to always have the same jam band playing. Also, how can this guy afford to build a new structure after bouncing around to several failed locations? There was never anybody in the H Street locations so where’s the money coming from? Sorry it didn’t work out on H but something doesn’t seem right about this whole endeavor.

  • This dead beat thinks he has found a way for the DC taxpayer to fund his club.

    • For a guy who knows nothing about this deal you sure find it easy to toss around slanderous slurs like “deadbeat.”

  • Is the Howard Theater in distress? They are flying the flag upside down.

  • The problem with HR57 on H was that the building had a very temporary and uninviting look to it. No marquee or even chalkboard out front on the sidewalk listing who was playing, or what specials they were offering. Inconsistent food/drink options…They really could’ve done more to push their business.

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