City Desk

So Long Beauty Island. Hello CVS.

Adams Morgan's divey Chinese takeout may be a tricked-out out sushi bar now, but Columbia Road still has that certain something, namely its empty stores. But fear not all you lovers of long receipts because exciting development is on its way. Yes, it's true, a CVS is going in—eventually—next to the second-rate Safeway, taking over the storefronts known as Beauty Island, Citibank, Foot Locker, and Mattress Discounters, all of which have closed or are closing, says Lisa Duperier, president of Adams Morgan Main Street.

Sure, sure. There's already a CVS practically across the street from the second-rate Safeway and it already practically took over the historic Ontario Theater, but this is how CVS rolls—downhill. Duperier says developers haven't revealed if the old CVS at 1702 Columbia Road NW will stay open. They have revealed that previous plans to build additional office space and third-floor residences have been scrapped. "That was dropped awhile back... which is a shame because we're always looking for extra density and office space to help out our daytime businesses," says Duperier by phone. She says she's been made privy over the years as to the plans but did not feel privy to give out the name and number of the developer[s] for confirmation.

As to the Ontario, which opened in 1951, closed shortly after The Color Purple, and became a cheap-goods department store before going dark again, don't expect some sort of Tivoli-esque revival if CVS pulls out. Nothing's really left but the facade, says Duperier. "It's not a theater now and it's not going to be a theater," she says.

Flickr photo by Daquella manera

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  • Adams Morgan

    So is your only source of story ideas the Adams Morgan listserve?

  • Amanda Hess

    Will the CVS sell wigs? Where am I going to get my wigs?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    No, Adams Morgan, we use Prince of Petworth and DCist, too.

  • Adams Morgan

    Right, forgot that you all didn't have an original idea left (other than Cherkis maybe).

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Right, I forgot that you didn't have an original comment left, since you said the same thing on PoP.

  • 2b3s

    All of what's wrong with Adam Morgan manifests in the incredible waste of what was once the Ontario Theater.

  • Theater Yes!


    Actually, there is a lot of the old theater left...the entire lobby (including the chandelier) is intact. And above the CVS drop ceiling, the theater ceiling is likely intact. Contact the owners (The Pedas family, Circle Management) and ask for a tour.

    A cinema or theater would be great in that location, don't give up hope!


  • Angry Al Gonzales

    CVS is kudzu. We need to stop the CVS proliferation before it takes over the city.