Chinese Sushi Wine Bar also Classified Vacant and Carry Out Deli across the street too

1409 14th Street, NW

A reader reports:

“I noticed a couple of days ago that the former 1409 Play bill Cafe had been tagged a vacant property. Wonder if we’ll still see the Chinese Sushi Wine bar.”


Vacant property classification has been on a tear lately. I also noted the former Carry Out Deli space across the street too had one:


13 Comment

  • Is there any way to get DCRA to enforce this more aggressively around town? It would be nice to see some vacant properties around Petworth occupied, but the penury tax rate only works if you actually enforce it.

    • I was actually gonna ask the same question. I noticed DC classified a former pay day loan building as vacant at Quincy & 14th St… But there seem to be many of Georgia Ave near the metro stop. My second question was what does this mean? Is it easier to find a tenant when this happens?

      • I can’t recall exactly what it means, but basically exorbitantly high property tax rates. A lot of dilapidated buildings in up and coming neighbors have owners who would rather wait and leave the property vacant as the value increases and sell later vs. selling now or making the necessary repairs to the building to get a tenant. The idea is to make this scumbag strategy not economically feasible.

        • Too bad they cannot enforce this when large developers like Douglas and others buy and sit on empty lots.

  • So 1) how did it make sense for the landlord to make the rent so high that Playbill was forced to close and then never fill this space? Surely Playbill’s rent was more than the $0 a month they’ve earned keeping this place empty for nearly 4 years. The landlord got greedy and blundered, right? 2) When Playbill closed they were planning to reopen somewhere nearby. Anyone know what happened to those plans? 3) Are there plans to redevelop this corner?

    • I’m guessing they want to sell that land to a developer to build some fancy condos. It’s easier to do with a vacant property. (I doubt a restaurateur would want to spend $$$ for a build-out for just a few years of use.)

    • Aglets

      i miss playbill 🙁

  • I’m curious how this works. For instance, I just noticed that 1635 North Capitol St NW was also hit with a neon VACANT sign, but I know that the upstairs units are rented out. Is this intended to demarcate vacant buildings or just particular units?

  • Chinese sushi wine bar? No hookahs? Or vaping? Good luck with that.

  • Thank you, DCRA for at last doing the right thing to help local land bankers display a little honesty. In Shaw, there are scores, if not hundreds of vacant houses where the children of the owners, all now out in Maryland, drive up and collect mail, once every few weeks. They NEED to pay the vacant and blighted tax rates, but are great at scamming. They don’t mow grass, they don’t shovel snow, they don’t pay utilities. The houses are great for stashing drugs. When sold, the houses earn a tidy sum for their absentee owners.

  • Am I imagining things, or wasn’t there some larger project in the works that was supposed to replace all of these single-story buildings on this corner?

  • Clearly a major push on these, and definitely more than just commercial properties. One just appeared on the door of a row house I pass every day on the 1600 block of Riggs St NW. Very nice block, and there’s no outward indications the property is vacant, certainly not blighted.

    • to Sproc:

      I live on that block too and noticed the sign on Riggs.

      I looked it up and someone purchased it a few months ago. I was going to write to them to let them know in case they lived out of town but their address is listed as the subject property.

      I agree there is definitely a push to classify properties as vacant. The closed Chinese place on R has one in their window too along with a stop work order

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