Sixth Engine still moving forward

It’s been many months since we’ve had an update on the restaurant Sixth Engine planned for the firehouse at 400 Mass. With support of ANC6C the 400 Mass condominiums initiated an ABRA protest of the liquor license as a means to secure a voluntary agreement. The residents had a series of concerns with the plans the restaurant had to vent exhaust from the roof of the firehouse and beneath 10 stories of residential windows near the top of the list. However the protest was dismissed as 400 Mass did not have sufficient attendance at the ABRA roll call hearing last September.

The lost opportunity with for a voluntary agreement shifter the focus of the condominium to other legal avenues. The firehouse is surrounded by 400 Mass but not a part of the building Sixth Engine needs a series of structural changes to the 400 Mass common elements to allow the space to support the needs of the restaurant. The firehouse space needs walls blown out to allow access to the loading dock and the adjacent commercial space the restaurant also is leasing from Douglas Development.

400 Mass has three governing entities: the Residential Board, the Commercial Board, and the Master Board. 400 Mass residential space is governed and budgeted by a Residential Board; 400 Mass ground-floor commercial space is governed and budgeted by a Commercial Board; space common to both (exterior building walls, loading dock, heating, cooling, roof, etc.) is governed and budgeted by a Master Board. Because of par value, approximately 95% of the Master Budget is funded via allocation from the Residential Budget. The three-person Master Board is made up of two representatives from the Residential Board and one from the Commercial Board. A majority vote is needed to pass measures, so two of the three Master Board members must agree. The control the residents have on the Master board to approve structural changes to common elements and common party walls affords them influence to have their concerns addressed that the ABRA route no longer can.

The good news is that despite contention at 400 Mass word from the Sixth Engine ownership to WBJ is that the restaurant is still on track for delivery this year. We hope both parties can reach reasonable compromises.

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  1. 1

    Born here, stayed here says

    Typical. I’m so sick of folks like this delaying business openings and contributing to the toxic climate that is starting a business in this city. The mind-numbing DC govt bureaucracy, the multi-tiered neighborhood boards and associations, whining neighbors. You live in a city with retail established when you moved in. My. GOD. And its Mass Ave.

    Can we try to get at least a 1/4 of the vibrancy of a Manhattan street? Not Manhattan, KS either…

  2. 2

    We need a city! says

    Please, not another NIMBY!!! We have got to stop allowing these false and meaningless concerns delay and stop businesses from opening in the city. You bought a condo on Mass Ave for pete’s sake. If you don’t want to see or hear any signs of human life on your street then move to the far suburbs.

  3. 3

    Mike says

    Absolutely! If one lives downtown, we lose all ability to complain about anything. Ever since the condo associations got rid of the adult video stores and single beer sales in the neighborhood, the place has gone straight downhill. I wish they would stop complaining about all quality of life issues. I miss the good ole’ days when prostitution on K St was accepted…

  4. 4

    Dan Augusto says

    Its amazing that a liberal, progressive city becomes so knee-jerk intolerant and closed-minded whenever “development” is mentioned.

    As Ving Rhames said in Pulp Fiction. “You’ve lost your LA privileges” Meaning, you’ve lost your right to complain at this point. My cynical view is that the bureaucracy and the opposition is nothing more than extortion on the part of the city government to make sure the right palms get greased before construction begins.

    Witness what’s happening on Wisconsin Ave. with the new Giant. You’d think the neighborhood would welcome a new development that raises their property values and attracts a higher clientele.

  5. 5

    Jack says

    The BAR guys are a bunch of entitled gtown douches. This has nothing to do with nimby and everything to do with a bunch of entitled trust fund babies who want to do whatever they feel like as if they are still at third edition and everyone around them are a bunch of drunk sorority girls.

  6. 6


    at least three other downtown condos have a restaurant operation on the ground floor and a condo above. at least one of those has a Master Board equivalent and I know that the restaurant made accommodations so that the residents could continue to claim their spaces as fully livable. if you want to play with downtown development then you have to follow the rules and that means considering your neighbors. you know neighbors…they’re the ones that will be patronizing and endorsing your restaurant. @Mike’s comment deserves a +1.