Meads Row (1305-1311 H St) has been the subject of much attention during the H Street renaissance over the past few years. The four rowhouses are adjacent to the historic Atlas Performing Arts Center, but recently at least two of them have largely not been put to good use. The row was built by Charles C. Meads, “a local builder of note,” who was also responsible for some 105 structures on Capitol Hill. The buildings are among the oldest and nicest ones constructed along H Street.
Unfortunately, the buildings at 1309 and 1311 H Street have been unused in recent years and the owners of the properties sought to raze them and build a small parking lot in their place. This effort was readily opposed by the surrounding community and ANC6A sought to have them declared historic by the Historic Preservation Board. The ANC and the surrounding community felt that they were particularly good examples of the corridor's historic stock of first floor retail with two levels of residential housing above them and were located as an especially important spot in the heart of the Atlas/Entertainment District on H Street. That effort narrowly failed on a divided vote last year. That was presumed to be the end of that battle with the demolition and razing in advance of a tiny parking lot or otherwise wasted space just a matter of time.
However, the owners of the buildings recently sought and obtained permits to renovate and rehab both properties and construction is now underway to restore both properties to their prior glory. The precise plans have not yet been announced, but a restaurant or retail is expected to fill the first floor with residential on the upper levels as was the case for these buildings in their historic heyday. This makes great sense given the extreme level of interest for opening new businesses along H Street, especially along its eastern end.
Congratulations to ANC6A Commissioner David Holmes who led the effort to save these buildings and to the business owners on the 1200 and 1300 blocks of H Street whose successful openings helped convince the owners of these properties to renovate and rehabilitate rather than to raze. Once these buidings are reopened with new establishments on their ground level, the south side of the 1300 block will start with the new restaurant(s), followed by the Atlas Performing Arts Center, H Street Country Club, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Star and Shamrock, Rock and Roll Hotel, Biergarten Haus, Sova, and the H Street Playhouse and that block will give a real sense of the renaissance that so many hope to see completed on the rest of the corridor soon.