Archive for December 2014

More Details About Union Drinkery, Coming to 3216 Georgia Avenue

December 31, 2014
Three new businesses are coming to 3212-3216 Georgia Avenue

Three new businesses are coming to 3212-3216 Georgia Avenue

Last week I posted that a new tavern was in the works for 3216 Georgia Avenue and that the ABRA license placard had been posted. The name of the business is Union Drinkery and is planned to have capacity for 86 patrons inside and a rear summer garden with capacity for 63 patrons. I now have a few more details about the property that I’m able to share.

The building in question is three storefronts at 3212-3216 Georgia Avenue. Union Drinkery will be located on the first floor of the northernmost building (3216) and on the second floor of 3214 and 3216 Georgia Avenue. The first floor of the other two storefronts will contain fast casual eating establishments, but will not serve alcohol — explaining why they are not part of the ABRA application. The photo below outlines where Union Drinkery will be located.

Union Drinkery outline(Union Drinkery will be located on both levels of 3216 Georgia and the second floor of 3214 Georgia — outlined above)

Below are floor plans that will also give an idea of what to expect.

Union Drinkery first floor(First floor plan showing location of Union Drinkery (outlined in red) and areas where fast casual dining will be located (outlined in green))

Union Drinkery second floor(Second floor plan showing area to be part of Union Drinkery, outlined in red).

I’ll continue to post more details as I learn more about Union Drinkery, and the two other businesses.

More Area Housing Under Construction on Hobart Place, NW

December 30, 2014

718 Hobart Street

I was delighted to see that the property at 725 Hobart Place and the vacant lot next to it are being developed and increasing available housing in our area (albeit on a small scale). I also think this is a good example of when a building lends its self well to adding height and depth to an existing building.

According to the floor plans for 725 Hobart (below), it reads that the building will be a two unit building. The lower level will be all on one floor and contain two bedrooms. The upper unit will be on the second- and third-floor and have three bedrooms. This property is located just west of Georgia Avenue. While I like the family-sized three-bedroom unit, I also have to question if this will be a group rental for university students based on how close it is to Howard.

I haven’t been able to find any plans or permits for the building to the east of 725 Hobart so I don’t know if it will be a multifamily building or not … but I’m betting it is at least two units (it wasn’t included in the plans for 725 Hobart and I haven’t been able to locate a separate permit for it yet).

725 Hobart(Floorplans for 725 Hobart Pl. from BZA documents)

Architectural History of the Meridian Hill Baptist Church Building

December 29, 2014

3146 16th Street(The 16th Street elevation of the church, showing the design of Porter & Leckey.)

Recently I received a question asking what the church at 3146 16th Street originally looked like. Many will be familiar with this building as the Meridian Hill Baptist Church which was damaged by fire 2008. At the beginning of my research, I quickly learned that the building’s original building permit lists Speiden & Speiden as the architects, this being the last of their church designs in the District of Columbia. The complete list of their church buildings form the building permit database follows:

  • 150 S Street, NW (1904);
  • 3100 13th Street, NW (Friends Meeting House, 1905);
  • 841 Shepherd Street, NW (Primitive Baptist Church, 1911);
  • 557 Randolph Street, NW (Petworth Baptist Church, 1913);
  • 1019 Park Road, NW (Park Road Methodist Episcopal Church, 1914);
  • 700 I Street, NE (Centennial Baptist Church, 1914);
  • 3146 16th Street, NW (Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1916)

Speiden & Speiden, Architects, was a successful partnership between brothers William and Albert Speiden. Their practice was based in Washington, D.C., and they designed houses, churches, government buildings, apartment buildings, and movie theaters in the Washington metropolitan region. There was a great diversity of styles in the Speiden designs, ranging from large Colonial Revival houses to modest Craftsman bungalows, and from Gothic Revival churches to a stone hut weather observatory on the summit of Mt. Whitney in California. William Speiden died in 1914, but Albert Speiden continued to practice under the name Speiden & Speiden until his death in 1933. Albert Speiden, the younger of the two brothers, lived in Manassas, Virginia, and designed many of the historically significant buildings still standing in Old Town Manassas. He is acclaimed as the most prominent architect of the city of Manassas, honored by the extensive collection of his works archived at the city’s Manassas Museum.

The Mt. Pleasant M.E. Church as it appeared in 1916.

The Mt. Pleasant M.E. Church as it appeared in 1916.

While I wasn’t able to find the clearest image of the 1916 church building, I was able to find one that confirmed that the original church building looked quite different than the building does today. The original building was designed in the Gothic revival style and constructed of brick. It is perfectly in keeping with other designs by Speiden & Speiden and seems to be a good synthesis of their earlier church buildings.

In July 1927 a new auditorium was constructed in front of the original church. It was reported that the addition would bring to completion the original plan of the congregation. It is interesting to note that many of Washington’s church buildings were constructed in stages and that the architectural design of the original church could change as the building was enlarged (the church at 13th and Fairmont is a good example).

With the Mount Pleasant M.E. Church South, as plans were developed for a new auditorium at the front of the building, the original 1916 building was remodeled to meet the requirements of the congregation’s Sunday School work. As you walk past the building today you can see the walls of the original church behind the 1927 addition.

The new structure to the front of the church is a complete departure architecturally from the earlier effort. This is due to the congregation’s desire to have a more imposing building, and in their hiring of Porter & Leckey as the new architects to accomplish that. The structure that is familiar to people today was built of stone with a frontage of 80 feet. The design was described as one presenting massive dignity in harmony with the other important buildings that had been constructed on 16th Street between 1916 and 1927. Construction was completed in April 1928. As part of the dedication of the new sanctuary, the church changed its name to the Francis Asbury M.E. Church. It congregation continued to worship in this building until it became the new home of the Meridian Hill Baptist Church in the spring of 1970.

The building is currently in the process of being converted to Condos. Read more at The42.

3146 16th Street(If you look to the rear of the structure, you can see the original Speiden & Speiden section of the building.)


“Bad Weather No Bar to Breaking of Ground.” Evening Star, Jan. 2, 1916: p. 13.

“Church to Mark 22d Anniversary.” Evening Star, Jan. 1, 1938: p. A13.

“New Church Dedicated.” The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 1916: p. 7.

“New Francis Asbury M.E. Church.” Evening Star, April 7, 1928: p. 13.

“Plans Made for New Church.” The Washington Post, Oct. 24, 1915: p. B7.

“To Dedicate New Church Tomorrow.” Washington Times, Oct. 7, 1916: p. 7.

“Work to Begin on New Church.” Evening Star, July 9, 1927: p. 10.

Union Drinkery Coming to 3216 Georgia Avenue

December 26, 2014
Union Drinkery is planning to open at 3216 Georgia Ave.

Union Drinkery is planning to open at 3216 Georgia Ave.

A new notice of public hearing for a liquor license application was posted just before Christmas for Union Drinkery at 3216 Georgia Avenue. This is particularly interesting as the property is one of the properties that are part of the Planned Unit Development that ZP Georgia is planning for the 3200 block of Georgia Avenue. As a new business is now planned for one of the storefronts it would indicate that the development is a few years off yet. This conforms to what I’ve heard through other channels that Zuckerman Partners would be developing the property that includes the Post Office at Morton Street first, which they purchased earlier in 2014 from Neighborhood Development Company.

In reviewing the full notice, I didn’t see anything that gave me much concern, although I was curious that it states “No nude performances” as there does not appear to include an entertainment endorsement as part of the application. Still, its something that will need to be verified. The description of the business is as follows:

New neighborhood restaurant/lounge offering light snacks and recorded music. No nude performances. Total Occupancy Load of 97 with seating for 86 inside the premises. Summer Garden with seating for 63.

I’ll post updates as more information becomes available.

UPDATE: Word on the street is that “the space is going to be 3 different concepts. 2 fast casual food joints and the bar.” More details as I learn of them.

The full notice is below.
Union Drinkery

May Everyone have a Happy Holiday

December 24, 2014

Pepco has been in the news a lot lately, especially the merger with Exelon. It seemed like an appropriate time to share this photo of the old Pepco Building at 10th and E streets, NW, decked out in holiday cheer.

Pepco Headquarters Christmas

Checking In on From the Core Studios

December 23, 2014
From the Core Studios, located at 3111 Georgia Avenue, NW

From the Core Studios, located at 3111 Georgia Avenue, NW

From the Core Studios opened back at the end of October, 2014, and I was finally able to check it out. From the Core Studios is located at 3111 Georgia Avenue, which is between Irving and Kenyon. In walking around the space, I thought they were set up well. I can’t imagine that this fitness space won’t become popular as there isn’t another fitness space like it nearby (though there is Yoga Heights several blocks to the north which is a good compliment).

According to their Website, From the Core Studios describes itself as a fitness boutique focusing exclusively on providing group exercise classes, as well as personal training. They provide top quality fitness classes for people who are enthusiastic for fitness classes, and they want to improve the lives of people and communities through group exercise and personal training.

I’d like to hear from anyone who has joined From the Core Studios or exercised there. What do you think?

Exercise space at From the Core Studios.

Exercise space at From the Core Studios.

Checking In with Colony Club, Coming Soon to 3118 Georgia Avenue

December 22, 2014
Colony Club is currently being built out at 3118 Georgia Ave.

Colony Club is currently being built out at 3118 Georgia Ave.

I haven’t revisited Colony Club since they applied with for their liquor license in March 2014. ANC 1A reviewed the license, entered into a Settlement Agreement, and unanimously supported Colony Club at their April 2014 meeting.

After visiting the business yesterday and getting at brief tour, I’m happy to report that Colony Club should be opening sometime in February 2015 and they are currently interviewing interested employees. The heavy construction appears to be completed with finish work remaining.

The layout of the building includes a seating area at the front of the business, a bar/service area in the middle, and a lounge area to the rear. The second level is small, but will include a tennis table and room for a small number of patrons.

During the day, the business will focus on coffee and switch over to a more bar-like business in the evening. There will also be a limited food menu though I don’t have detailed information about that at this time.

Prior to opening, there will also be a minor facelift to the building including a small change in the windows and a new paint scheme.

I’ll post an update closer to opening.

Colony Club


Visiting Washington’s Oldest Synagogue

December 19, 2014

oldest synagogue(The Adas Israel synagogue at 3rd and G streets, NW)

For those that may have missed this, Washington’s oldest synagogue — the Adas Israel synagogue — will need to be moved to make way for the new development downtown that will deck over the 395 Center Leg Freeway that is adjacent to the building and separates it from the Georgetown Law School. The synagogue was originaly built at 6th and G in 1876 and was moved in 1969 to save it from demolition. The  Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHSGW) arranged to have the building hoisted on to dollies and relocated to its present location.

Synagogue interior showing the ark area.

Synagogue interior showing the ark area.

I was fortunate to have the JHSGW, and in particular curator Zachary Paul Levine, invite me to tour the synagogue prior to its move and was thrilled to accept the offer. One of the things I was most fascinated in learning was that they JHSGW has been undergoing a paint analysis for portions of the interior to learn what the original colors were for the interior. One of the things that they’ve learned is that the beveled corners of the posts holding up the balconies were originally gold leaf.

Related to this, I received the following as part of a larger announcement from the JHSGW that gives more insight into their work with paint analysis.

Was our ark once adorned with gold leaf?

We’re looking for 24-carat gold leaf beneath layers of paint in D.C.’s oldest synagogue building.

Can you help us raise $1,800 to complete this project? 

An 1876 newspaper account noted that a biblical quotation (Ma Tovu) was painted over the ark: “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”

We’ve painted this passage in gold-colored paint during our restoration work, but its original appearance is buried beneath more than a century of paint.

We recently completed a historic paint analysis of the sanctuary, funded in part by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Marpat Foundation. While this research yielded a picture of the sanctuary’s original appearance, further study is needed to solve this mystery.

This holiday season, give the gift of gold online or call 202-789-0900.

The synagogue is a wonderful building that I hope everyone has had an opportunity to experience in person.

The movie below relates the building’s history.

Great 1920 Photo of Playground Tree Planting

December 18, 2014

Happy Hollow

Here’s a great photo that dates to April 15, 1920, showing a tree planting at the Happy Hollow playground. Today the playground is known as Marie Reed. The tree planting was part of “Be Kind to Animals” week and planted in memory of the horses and carrier pigeons which gave their lives in World War I. As you can see in the photo, many of the children dressed in costumes with animal themes.

The following day, April 16, 1920, the District of Columbia celebrated Arbor Day by planting sixty-one American linden trees in the city. Excluding the trees in Rock Creek Park, the District estimated it had a total of 104,061 trees growing in Washington’s parks after the Arbor Day tree plantings.

District Bicycles Street Art

December 17, 2014

I found the following street art on the Irving Street side of Morgan’s Seafood. I’m sure  it will bring a smile to all the bicycle advocates we have in the District.


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