Horse’s Ass Award Nominee – 1357 U St, NW – The Old State of the Union

by Prince Of Petworth July 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm 17 Comments

1357 U Street, NW in 2007

“Dear PoPville,

Any idea about what’s going on with the old State of the Union Building at 1357 U St?

Looks like there were plans 4 years ago to develop a swanky lounge. But I walk by it every day on the way to & from the metro and nothing positive seems to be happening there, and the “Kindred Lounge” web site from 2009 is no longer active. The building is still boarded up and still smells like pee pee. As it gets hotter, the smell is unbearable. It’s hard to imagine that, with so much development going on all around it, this building would sit blighted for so long.

But wait! Mystery! As of March, DCRA lists 1357 U as a Class 4 Blighted property, presumably the naughtiest of the classes. Curiously, although DCRA also lists it as unregistered, I couldn’t find it on any of the DCRA public auction lists for the past few years and there still seem to be realty signs on it, so clearly someone thinks they have it registered and are trying (albeit half-assed) to sell it.

Might anyone in PoPville know anything about this smelly eyesore?”

  • Jack5

    Whoever gets it will need at least 2 million dollars on top of real estate costs to re-develop it. It’s a total shell from what I recall. This might explain the delay in making it usable again. It would be nice to see the place redone though, as well as Republic Gardens next to it.

    I think Marc Barnes (of club Dream in NE DC) had a lease on Republic gardens for a while and they had plans to expand into that space years ago, but it never came to fruition. For a long time, those 2 clubs were the mainstays of U street night life. It’s a shame that they’ve been abandoned for so long.

  • Sam

    A good reason why the property is in the current condition, the owner passed away in 2010.

    Since he is survived by his children, it is anyone’s guess to where this stands with the family. Typically a spouse or child(rens), automatically owns all the money in the account, without any probate proceedings.probate. It is a matter the survivos clears title to the property.

  • Mike

    Man, I used to love State of the Union. What a great bar/dance club that was.

    • DCDave

      I second that – used to love that place back in the mid to late 90s. U St. had some great places back then – the Andalusian Dog, the Grand Pooobah, the Zig Zag Cafe, Polly’s – just to name a few.

    • Anonymous

      It was killer… I miss it too

  • Anon

    I agree with the person who wrote the letter – the place smells. I generally prefer walking on the south side of U street for that reason. With all the development in the neighborhood, I’m really surprised at the state of this building and the old Republic Gardens space next to it. I guess I shouldn’t be – the Urban Essentials space is empty (all the Fainting Goat signs are gone). There was supposed to be an Italian restaurant on 12th and U, but that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It seems like the development is all happening on 14th St.

  • Adam L

    Nothing is happening with the property because there is a credit of over $31,000 on the property taxes owed. There was a large credit given in 2009 that is still being carried forward.



    • Kevin

      $31K is chump change compared to what that property is worth (because of that location). There is more to the story.

    • Ronald

      A credit? Like they over-payed or something? Does that mean they’re $31k in the black and won’t start owing money until the annual tax penalties drain their account?

      • Ronald


        Based on the property tax database, some dude named Henry McCall owns it. His address is down near Good Hope Rd., so he probably never sees this place and doesn’t care that it’s a grossness cake with sadness frosting.

        McCalll had a $90k credit as of last year and (if I’m reading it right) won’t actually owe any tax until after this year, so he presumably has no incentive to sell or develop. I’d guess that he ends up selling as soon as he owes $, so we can all check back in six months.

  • Jimbo

    I heard Eric Hilton & Co. were looking at it. Could use their joi de vivre!

  • Jeff

    TBD looked into it a while ago, too. (http://www.tbd.com/blogs/tbd-neighborhoods/2010/09/republic-gardens-space-once-again-for-lease-1895.html) Looks like this Henry B. McCall guy owned both plots. TBD tried to get in touch with Hank, but couldn’t, then McCall promptly died (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?pid=146839876), though the property’s still in his name. Hope he’s not related to Henry S. McCall, who’s a former Barry staffer and might have already used his position of influence for malfeasance. (http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/ocf021029m.htm)

    This is a nasty legal drama…

    • Anonymous

      look at you making assumptions

    • Jeff

      Sorry – a Williams staffer


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