The stretch of Wisconsin Ave. between Dumbarton and P has long been the ugly duckling of Georgetown’s retail drags. The buildings have long since fallen into serious disrepair. While people have floated endless speculative theories as to why the perceived quality of the shops is so poor (i.e. accusations of money laundering or drug dealing) the reality is that the tenants are there because nobody else wants to move in to the shoddy buildings. And the building owners have been unwilling to invest in the buildings to change that. That condition, however, appears to be slowly ending.
As everyone can see, Robert Bell has brought the shabby Georgetown Theater back into pristine condition. But the buildings immediately to the north are some of the worst looking buildings in all commercial Georgetown. And now they are both slated for dramatic renovations. A banner announced this in the window of the former location of Village Arts and Craft. If you can believe it, this building will soon look like the picture above. And while it doesn’t have a banner in the window, the next building up the block is also slated for a similar overhaul.
It’s hard to overestimate in just how bad shape these buildings are right now. GM peeked into the building above last week. Almost all the floor joists on the first floor were severed down the middle. And they weren’t just cut, the right half of each was just gone. That’s extremely unsafe.
But hopefully they’re now in good hands, and this historic row of commercial buildings can be brought back into shape.