Housing Complex

Say Goodbye to the 14th Street Freemasons

One by one, fast food restaurants and retailers on 14th Street near U Street have been shuttering to make way for JBG's Utopia residential project, which will bring 220 apartments to the southwest corner of that iconic intersection. But the development will claim another building as well: The United Supreme Council National Headquarters and Archives at 1924 14th Street NW, which JBG bought for $5 million in early July.

According to records from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the building was constructed in 1998. It's affiliated with the Prince Hall branch of Freemasonry, which is historically African American and entirely independent from the massive Scottish Rite temple on 16th Street NW.

The person I reached at the United Supreme Council said that the staff who work at that location will be leaving at the end of August, and are looking for some office space in the District, though they'll have to move some employees out of the city as well.

Which means, viewed one way, that the displacement of D.C.'s black residents even extends to Freemasonry (though the fact that the Prince Hall masons sold out voluntarily complicates that interpretation).

  • Native American JD

    It's not just "widows and orphans"...

  • dcvoterboy

    Doesn't this mean the Freemasons are just good businessmen?

    Looks like they cleared at least $2 million on the sale of the building if not more looking at recent assessments of building.

  • Tom

    The link to the Urban Turf article says Georgetown Strategic Capital is the developer, not JBG. Did something change recently?

  • LDC

    No way no how 46 ppl working in this bldg. I've lived around the corner since before it was built. I have never, ever, not once, seen a soul enter or exit. They've never even bothered to sweep the piled-up leaves and old newspapers from in front of the front door. Their website lists 8 ppl, and several sound like they aren't full time. Unlike another Prince Hall lodge nearby, these folks have never interracted with the neighborhood. Now they've sold at a huge profit. Their choice. So where is the pushing out or the hole in the fabric of the community?

  • Lydia DePillis


    Your comment has me wondering if the United Supreme Council's representative didn't say "four to six" people, not 46, so let me check on that.

    And yeah, the gentrification reading here is a little tongue-in-cheek.

  • LDC

    Ah, that may be the case. And even among the 4-6, it appears there may be a lot of PT or volunteer situations, requiring little presence on a regular workday basis. The bldg is de facto dormant. It's irritated me for years that they don't even clean the entrance area. Newspapers and yellow page books stack up, and some homeless guys keep using the area as a urinal, that space immediately to the right of the front door, it doesn't get sprayed down, ends up reeking, it's all very sad.