What’s Going on at 14th and U?

2001 14th Street NW
14&U Building

This post is in reponse to a request by my friend Jim to find out “what is going on” with the property shown here located at 2001 14th Street NW, at the intersection of 14th and U.

Construction is underway to renovate this building and construct an addition on a neighboring lot. The building was designed by Boeckl Gates, Inc. and is being offered by the Rockville-based VIP Realtors LLC at the rate of $55 per square foot. A PDF pamphlet posted to their website describes the property as ideal for a club, specialty restaurant, or other retail use.

Some preliminary research shows the property at this historic intersection had formerly been home to a restaurant and club, however I can’t find much more about it. The existing structure is described simply as a “monumental two-story commercial structure” in the Historic Preservation Review Board staff reports for the project, which suggested modifications to the facade to maintain a distinction between the new and historic parts of the project.

Jim dug up a couple more items. Councilmember Graham and others working on developing the property in 2002:

Date: Wed, 8 May 2002
From: GrahamWOne@aol.com
Subject: 2001 14th Street Progress

Dear Friends: First let me say, how much I appreciate
the advocacy and hard work of Dan Brown, Ron Renchard,
Scott Pomeroy and others on the problem of the
Northeast corner of 14th and U (2001 14th Street NW).
This has been an eyesore in the neighborhood for
years, and various efforts to have those responsible
do something have not produced the results we need.
The history of this building is a tormented one.
Suffice it so say, that the present lessee (who owns
the adjacent empty lot) has 24 years remaining in a
30 year lease. Each month he has faithfully paid the
$7,000, and done nothing else. (Why he has done this
year after year puzzles me.) Originally there was an
idea of a Burger King. But that was abandoned for
various reasons not relating really to community
Anyway, thanks to community activism, the building
is to come before the Board o Condemnation on May 22.
Not for demolition, but for cleanup by the city.
After various attempts, I reached the owner and, in
turn, the lessee earlier this week. I expressed in no
uncertain terms the frustration with the appearance
and nonuse of this building on this important corner.
The lessee, Mr. Blant (or was it Bland?), promised
to take “immediate steps” to clean up the property.
Thereafter, I agree to sponsor a meeting with our
community leaders to work with the lessee who is eager
to put this property back into productive use.
Hopefully we can find that common ground.
Please stay in touch. Bests Jim Graham, Ward One

And this from the August 2006 InTowner:

The biggest news in Mid-City comes surrounding perhaps one of its smallest developments. Long vacant and boarded up, the 10,500-square-foot building at the prominent northeast corner of 14th and U streets is set to undergo renovations and be reintroduced to the commercial fabric of U Street. A building permit has recently been issued and construction is set to begin on this elegant two-story structure. The owner, while initially just building out a “vanilla box” to be able to accept a range of tenant categories, is seeking a “landmark tenant” which will contribute significantly to the neighborhood, and is actively marketing the building to a bank or a fine dining restaurant/lounge. “Discussions are underway with a very reputable local restaurateur,” owner’s broker Ken Naroozi told The InTowner, “who is looking to build a flagship restaurant.” If a restaurant is built, it will contain two floors of dining, lounge and service area plus a mezzanine, in addition to a roof terrace.

Author: Rob Goodspeed


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