Housing Complex

Ontario Theater Owner Dreaming of Condos

With the housing market going absolutely bonkers in D.C., the longest-stalled projects are creeping closer to reality—even the Ontario Theater on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan, which has been empty for years now, is likely slated for condos.

A few months ago, owner George Pedas told local ANC commissioner Steve Lanning that he wanted to move quickly on a five-story, 70-foot building with 75 residential units and 15,000 square feet of retail. Lanning hasn't heard from him lately, and Pedas told the anti-internet Northwest Current last month that he was still just weighing his options.

That's apparently still true today; architect Jeff Parana of Potomac Development Group emails to say that it was too early to comment. But it's not too early to put the project on its website: Potomac mocked up the rendering at right for what it might look like.

Still, they can't wait around forever. Without a tenant, Pedas has been paying through the nose in vacant property taxes—more than $300,000 since 2008. At least the eyesore is making some kind of contribution to the city while its owner makes up his mind.

  • http://www.twitter.com/DG_rad David Garber

    For those of us not 100% familiar, this is at 17th and Columbia NW.

  • JS

    I still think this building should be rehabbed into an Arlington Cinema Drafthouse type place.

  • Will

    Meh on the theater, the 3 screen theater in my parent's town in NC is currently being renovated into a dollar store, so maybe the cinema business ain't what it used to be. I'm glad that a nice looking condo building is planned, I'm sure its presence could influence the retail there in a positive way, that side of Columbia has a lot of amigo stores, wholesalers and crumby importer shops today.

    Score this as a big win for the vacant property tax. The city needs to aggressively pursue all offenders, starting with the owner of those vacant row houses on N street in Dupont Circle.

  • Dan Maceda

    Is it on the DC vacant property list paying taxes at the vacant property rate?

  • Dan

    I'd also prefer a drafthouse. Think it would kill in this location given its proximity to both Columbia Heights and AdMo. But I suppose that's also why condos will bring in big money, and at 300k and counting sounds like the owner is holding out for a big payday.

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  • MR

    Cool! The project would bring a very cool vibe to an tired and sad block of columbia road. However, I must confess a cool drafthouse or retro coffee shop would have been awesome.