Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shaw Deserves Better from this Abandoned Building - 901 O Street, NW

***this post has been updated

This series is pretty much the inverse of the "Beautiful in Shaw" series. It looks at the abandoned, neglected, or derilect properties, public spaces, and art in the Shaw / Logan / Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhoods. As the blog grows (and if I can find a good volunteer to help!) I'd like to eventually include some quick sketches, renderings, or photoshop alterations to some of the original images to show what could be in the place of what is there.

Restoring historic buildings, replanting yards and public spaces - all ideas on what Shaw's true potential is under some of the grit and plywood windows. Whenever possible, if something does happen to the space, I'll post a follow-up. Feel free to leave comments on your ideas for the space below, and feel free to send photos!

906 (typo on the address - my apologies!) 901 O Street, NW is a prime target for redevelopment. Across 9th Street is the new City Market at O project, and across O Street is the successful Azi's Cafe (unsolicited endorsement - they serve phenomenal illy coffee and delicious breakfast paninis, and free wifi  - I highly recommend checking them out!).

If you look closely, the ugly one-floor brick box on the corner is an addition to what appears to be a potentially beautiful, historic rowhouse behind it, so it could likely be removed. The cornice is still in tact up along the top, and where the yellow concrete meets the brick sidewalks shows where the public space for this property is - pretty decent size there for something better than this.

What do you think? Speak out in the comments - could this be turned into retail? A restaurant? Back to housing? An awesome small office?


  1. Here's a suggestion on vacant, abandoned or blighted properties. If deemed one of these three categories by the city (and it does happen), the owner will pay a higher tax rate, I believe anywhere from 5-10%. You can see what tax rate a residence or business is currently paying by doing a search in the Office of Tax and Revenue's Real Property Assessment Database:

    A search on 906 O St NW shows it is being taxed at the regular (001-Residential) rate. It also says that the owner, James Hammond, resides there.

    If I were you or someone else who lives nearby, I'd contact the city's Tax Fraud Hotline (800)380-3495 or and ask them WTF? They should send out an inspector at your request.

    You should not simply contact them once but stay on them like white on rice to make sure action is taken. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The property has most likely gotten to that point cause few people have complained about it.

  2. It would be awesome if every few days or so you highlighted one of these properties, pointing out how nice and occupied properties are being taxed at the same rate as slums like 906. You should make them on-going story lines, explaining what the city said about them, and follow up from time to time on where things stand. Encourage your readers to send in tips about other dumps. Everyone loves to talk about real estate. You'd be serving a major practical purpose while being super interesting.

    You could even email the tax fraud hotline from your "shawdeservesbetter" account, including the link to this site in your email, so they know that the public is watching and expecting action. I'll bet they'll respond.

  3. @anonymous 6:49am: I plan to highlight one a week (more if I have time) until I get through all the abandoned / vacant properties in Shaw. Based on a walk down 9th Street adjacent to the Convention Center alone, that should take about three years!


  4. Cool. I think doing this is going to make you unique among the bloggers and serve an important purpose. Plus, I just think the subject is really interesting, too.