Square 450

As Si eluded to in yesterday’s Square 451 post, Douglas Development is also aiming to create an assemblage on Square 450 (which is just outside MVT’s official boundaries).

RED=Square 450; BLUE=Square 451

Square 450 has many Douglas Douglas development records in the DC Real Property Assessment database. Jemal owns nearly all of the south facing of the 600 block of L Street. On New York Ave he’s bought out properties like 56 year dining institution A.V. Ristorante. However Square 451 still has more holdouts than it’s neighbor to the south.

Midas at 625 New York Ave NW;
notice charming ‘No Parking Will Be Tow’ spray painted on garage door

The music venue Warehouse Nextdoor, at 1017 7th St NW, had it’s final show on Aug 5th citing untenable property taxes. This area had a cluster of buildings involved in the Capital Fringe Festival. Very popular Moroccan restaurant Marrakesh also occupies a building on this square.

I’m far more conflicted about development on this square. Several of the entities on this block have great authenticity. It would be a big step backward to replace these institutions with the corporate chains that tend to go hand in hand with the high rents of new construction in prime locations. I’m sure the obstetrician on 6th Street has helped many people but somehow potentially losing an infamous restaurant and arts community feels like a bigger loss.

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  1. 1

    si says

    I absolutely agree with you, we already lost the parker gallery & we stand to lose warehouse, marrakesh, the eritrean cultural center & the eagle. when i asked if Douglas development had any plans to possible retain any of those businesses the clear answer was no. There have been a lot of rumors of some of these establishments selling but not much has changed on the books in the past year. Right now marrakesh is doing a big renovation and they have a huge fancy sign (1st one in english!)draped over their outside scaffolding – perhaps an indicator they dont intend to sell?

    The issue for me is the way DD operates. they will sit on that real estate and essentially have a staring contest until the other guys blink. meanwhile the buildings rot, they dont pay any vacant property taxes & we get to live with and stare at the broken windows. When it comes to slumbanking, DD is the perfect example.

  2. 2

    Mr. Q says

    Nothing specific…just wanted to let you know I’m enjoying your blog…keep up the good work!

    A great source for neighborhood info!

  3. 3

    Anonymous says

    I dunno, I am kind of rooting for Douglas Development. Yes, he slumbanks. Yes, he changes exorbitant rents. But the man knows how to make a neighborhood look GREAT, maintain the historical integrity of buildings, and add vibrancy. I like the three institutions you mentioned, but those blocks are a terrible use of space and looks really seedy (and always have, even before Douglas). A living city needs a healthy mix of authenticity and development. I think 9th and 7th streets in Shaw will provide a more organic avenue of growth for restaurants, shops, etc. Meanwhile, NY Ave is a gateway to the city for most people, and currently it looks terrible. Other than perhaps Abdo, I have more faith in Douglas Jemal than anyone else to made this stretch look great.

    By the way, I love this blog! Most underrated, by far.

  4. 4

    Anonymous says

    So wait, which Square has more holdouts? The North or South one?

    Is Hodges sandiwch shop still there? If so, it has been there for over 100 years!

  5. 5

    si says

    hodges is gone, i miss their sandwiches. i also miss mr kim & his sweet smile every morning.

    dont get me wrong, i love what DD does for development, when he actually does it. his work is swank. i dont mind waiting, we all have to have lots of patience living around here. but the blatant disregard for the neighborhood in keeping the property so broken for so long and being held above the law with taxation is just downright vexing. Thank you Jack Evans.


  6. 6

    fourthandeye says

    @Anon 14:47. I think Hodges sold in earlier this year (Feb or Mar) for $2 million to Jemal. Yes, I had once read they started business in 1898.

    As for the holdouts, I think Square 450 (north) has more.

  7. 7

    Anonymous says

    Save the Eagle!!! I would hate to see it go. (Although I know people have been talking about it moving to a different location for some time now. I just hope a little bit of grit says in our neighborhood. Not too much, but a little bit!)