What’s Up With the Boarded Up Gas Station at Rhode Island and New Jersey?

by Prince Of Petworth March 17, 2016 at 9:45 am 35 Comments

New Jersey and Rhode Island Ave, NW

“Dear PoPville,

Is there any scoop what is going on with Valero gas station at NJ and RI Avenue intersection in Truxton. That is next to the leaning tower of Shaw building. It looks like it has been boarded up and closed.”

I’ve been getting tons of emails and tweets about this. Anyone got the skinny?

  • Anon

    I hope the BP down the street closes too.

    • Anony


      • Truxton Thomas

        I’m not sure its closing would solve much, but the parking lot has a lot of drug use, loitering and panhandling, and it’s treated as a public bathroom. Also, they never shovel their sidewalks when it snows. So it’s not popular among residents.

        • AnotherBdaleResident

          This. I walk home past here everyday, and with this spot and the guys who hang out on the wall on the other side of RI, it’s not great. I’ve taken to just turning up my music/podcasts so I can’t hear the crap these guys say to me and others passing by. Not sure why they can’t do what they do at the 7/11 down the street and just have a cop sit there.

          • Huma

            Thirded. The not shoveling their sidewalks drives me nuts.

    • anon

      Me too! It’s super sketchy and seems to be a hot bed of drugs and loitering.

      • Philippe Lecheval

        It’s also a hotbed of gas. I hate gas.

  • Tubebaum
  • Truxton Thomas

    Hadn’t noticed it was boarded up, but it had been winding down for a while. I think we’re plenty served by gas stations, so fingers crossed for a change. Also, I’ll be the one to say it—this is in Shaw. :)

    • Tsar Of Truxton

      Yeah, we don’t want your stinking boarded up gas station, Shaw!

      • Truxtoner

        Especially when we have one of our own at Florida and Q, right?

  • todd

    yeah….was a front for a drug dealer…. you’d see junkies and hoods hanging out there at all hours and going up to the windows and buying …. probably got shut down by the police.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t gas stations significantly more expensive to redevelop (properly) with the additional environmental concerns? Not saying it won’t get developed but is it possible it may sit idle while other vacant lots are developed that don’t have the same soil toxicity concerns?

    • Anony

      Yes they are, that is why this will likely remain empty for some time.

    • anon

      yes, but i’d bet that if it’s shutting, it was sold. and if it was sold, the buyer intended to re-develop it fairly soon. it wouldn’t make sense to buy it now and sit on it for too long with the associated carrying costs. it’s not like the environmental concerns were hidden, any buyer would factor that into the purchase price.

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        Not necessarily. Zuckerman is sitting on lots of properties on Ga Ave waiting to develop them. They supposedly had to delay developing the plot at Georgia and Morton because of environmental concerns due to it being a former gas station.

        • Anony

          I was just about to mention that, better hope the purchaser wasn’t a certain Zuckerman LLC

    • FJ

      The prior administration started a review of the many boards and commissions that are unused but still in existence under law. As was the intent, many were shuttered. Oddly enough, however, one board was resurrected by the council.
      Today, under DC law, it is purportedly illegal to change a property with a gas station into any other use besides a gas station without the blessing of the gas station review board (I forget the exact name of the board). The only exemption is extreme financial hardship. Last I heard, Bowser had not appointed any commissioners. This law, in conjunction with possible environmental costs, is believed to be preventing up sale and redevelopment of several area gas stations.

  • A

    Several years ago I was having a crummy day (I had to put my dog to sleep, and then despite the request for PTO, work called me with a “data emergency”) so I was on my bike heading to work (I don’t even know why, I had a parking permit for the office). I hadn’t really considered the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day, and had three cups of coffee, and after getting up the stretch of Rhode Island between 4th and Summit NE, I was pretty wiped out. I coasted from Summit down to Florida, at which point my entire field of vision went gray and fuzzy, and my ears started ringing. I crossed over to that gas station, and plopped down in the shade to recoup for a few minutes. Two of the panhandlers/loiters went all “Girl! You look bad!” and went inside and got me a couple of bottles of water and some snacks. I apologized for not having cash, and offered to go inside and buy them something (I only had a credit card on me), and they all refused. Eventually when i got back on my bike to finish my trip, they all expressed concern, making sure I’d be okay, and that they’d give me bus fare if I needed it. I’m sure there’s an equal number of terrible stories about loiterers in the area, but it was nice that those two guys made my life a less miserable that day.

    • Truxton Neighbor

      Wow thanks so much for sharing this. Good to be reminded things aren’t all cut and dry and you should easily dismiss people.

    • Leeran

      Aww, this nice. Thanks for sharing.

    • rob

      thanks for sharing this. 99% of the hood, pandhander, druggie comments on here are based on zero interaction with some people. If people took their headphones out and eyes off the screens there would be a lot more comradery rather than assumptions.

      • tom

        Haha, criticizing people for generalizing via a generalization of other posters.

        If people took their hands of the keyboard and eyes off the screens there would be a lot more comradery rather than assumptions of other posters.

    • Abby

      Thank you for sharing. This story made my day.

    • AnotherBdaleResident

      Man. Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to know there are some good stories here too.

  • DCDuchess

    If I lived next to the Leaning Tower of Shaw, I would close up shop too! I will be interested to see how the spring thunderstorms affect it.

  • Eric

    DC passed a stupid law a while back that gas stations couldn’t be converted without permissions from some shadowy group called the DC Gas Station Advisory Board. I don’t know if they went through the board to convert or are just getting a new owner.

  • Stink Eye

    I wish the gas station by my house would close too

  • fx

    Mid City East area plans don’t say much besides “potential redevelopment opportunity sites”…. and it is all short-to-long term, i.e. 2-10 years. I am not sure when to start counting.

    In general, this whole intersection is very unpleasant to walk through. Meets and Foods was nice addition.


  • tom

    I’m trying to think of other examples of gas stations in DC being redeveloped. It would think it would need to be a decent size project to make it pencil out. I would think 5-7 story range at least.

    • JS

      There are a few on the boards for Georgetown/West End, but that’s an entirely different market than this location.

    • KingmanParkRes

      The one on Adams Mill Rd, near the intersection with 18th was nearly done last time I went by.

    • shaw

      The upside to them building a seven story property on this site is that then the leaning tower of Shaw next door could just cozy right up against it and lean all it liked :)

  • BDale84

    Now if only that B&J’s “BBQ” place would get shut down. I’ve seen so many drug deals at that place it makes Mexico look like Belgium.


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