Serious Demo Starts at Van Ness Square

by Prince Of Petworth December 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm 24 Comments

4455 Connecticut Avenue, NW

You can see a rendering of the planned development here.

“Park Van Ness (formerly Van Ness Square) has a prestigious and convenient Connecticut Avenue location, as well as a quiet park-like setting normally found only in the suburbs. The Company recently received demolition permits and expects to raze the existing structures beginning in the fourth quarter 2013.

The Company has entered into an arrangement with a general contractor and intends to develop a 271-unit residential project with approximately 9,000 square feet of street-level retail, below street-level structured parking, and amenities including a community room, landscaped courtyards, a fitness room and a rooftoop pool and deck. Construction is projected to be completed in late 2015.”


Farewell Shanghai Garden:


  • Anonymous

    Historic preservation FAIL.

    • Anonymous

      Building in density to this metro-accessible neighborhood is one quadrillion times more valuable to the health and vibrancy of this city than a chunky art-deco building with surface parking in front. Perspective fail.

      • annonny

        Thrilled to see this one go too. Sometimes old does not equate to historic. Glad that’s the case here.

    • carlosthedwarf

      What is historic about this building?

      • Tim

        It opened in the 30s as a major complex with an ice skating rink, bowling alley, other sports, retail, a grocery story and other amenities. It was later the headquarters of what became WJLA, and hosted a very early interview with Elvis Presley. More here: http://www.streetsofwashington.com/2010/01/chevy-chase-ice-palace.html

        • carlosthedwarf

          So which of those things makes it so valuable that it should be preserved in perpetuity?

          • Anonymous

            Not a single one.

        • Anonymous

          ZOMG a grocery store.

        • John M

          …And until recently was an Office Depot, a Pier 1 Imports, and a crappy Indian restaurant.

  • jaybird

    Grew up just a few blocks up Connecticut Ave. There used to be one of the few old school Italian restaurant/pizza places in the same league as Zebra room, Roma, and AV in the north end corner . It was called The Capricorn Room. I remember it being great but it could have been average. Not going to miss the building, though.

  • Anonymous

    So the building had some previous tenants and uses. I’m doubting those making those observations believe that having previous tenants means they are inherently worth preserving. This is a prime lot in metro-accessible location that can help provide housing (which reduces demand and reduces cost, and brings business) and increases retail options (which increases vitality of the neighborhood).

  • Anonymous

    So by the logic exhibited here, we should probably completely cover the Mall with high-density developments, because hey, there’s a Metro station nearby, and while a few historic things happened there, none of them were probably so significant that it should be preserved in perpetuity. Besides, it’s just a big, empty wasted strip of dead grass.

    • Anonymous

      Troll. Yes, that’s it. The National Mall = Van Ness former grocery store where Elvis once did an interview. ROFL.

      • Anonymous

        Thank God shortsighted, undereducated people such as yourself aren’t in charge of historic preservation considerations.

        • Tui

          Not sure how National Park owned/controlled land preserved for public use is comparable to privately-owned real estate with nothing notable about it architectually or historically speaking.

        • Anonymous

          So you agree, then, that the redevelopment of a previously commercial lot into a higher density commercial lot with added residential units is akin to paving over the National Mall. Yes, yes, I see your point. Furthermore, I agree with your conclusion – based on the evidence you so clearly articulated – that the previous poster is both uneducated and not involved in urban planning in the district. You distinguish yourself, sir.

    • RJS

      Wow. Just wow. This is a commercial building that, while it was pretty cool as built in the 30’s, has been altered so much that it is barely recognizable on the outside, and completely different on the inside. It’s an office building and strip center that is being replaced with residences and street adjacent retail This scenario is so different than one of the largest public gathering spots in the nation that has hosted countless historic events being transferred from public ownership to becoming midtown Manhattan, Manattan I tell you that I…just…can’t…any…more…

  • Anonymous

    It was a somewhat interesting building (if I remember, the back had some neat glass windows) but like others have said this is nothing to cry over. It never ceases to amaze me how people resist any and all change, clutching to crumbling buildings like their grandmother’s pearls. Things change. The world moves on. Get over it.

  • Anonymous

    Can I have the plants that are out front? Can only assume that they will get destroyed during construction.

    • Anonymous

      You should go ask the demo guys in the early AM. As long as you had a way to transport them and your own tools, they’d probably let you take them. But you should probably hurry!

  • Aw sad, Shanghai Garden was the staple Chinese restaurant of my youth – it may have been a fairly dumpy place, but as a kid, it was our go-to and a major family treat, and they were always super friendly!

  • Anonymous

    live up the block a year ago….this area NEEDS this and the UDC student union re-devlopment. There is no good food or retail options in this part of town.

  • I grew up a few blocks from here and indeed that building just didn’t cut it. It’s had decades to prove itself and it failed. If this were a different city, if there wasn’t a developer willing to put something much better there, it would make sense to try to make do, but the new building has a good chance to make this spot a vibrant beautiful place. It was also fully vetted by the ANC which is very active, supported by area residents and focused on development in Van Ness.

    • Anonymous

      this area is actually called Forrest Hills – a cool name and it makes sense considering the terrain. funny how everyone knows it by Van Ness – due to the Metro station


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