Housing Complex

Emma Mae Gallery to End Rent-Free Run at Reeves Center

Sandra, narrating. (Lydia DePillis)

Remember back in February, when it looked like the Municipal Deli was going to be kicked out of its Reeves Center space at 14th and U Street NW for underpayment of rent? Well, owner Fitwi Tekeste caught a break, and is still operating, while the Department of Real Estate Services prepares to issue a solicitation for the lease.

Meanwhile, though, Muni Deli's neighbor—the Emma Mae Gallery, run by longtime U Streeter Sandra Butler-Truesdale—will be leaving in September. She took over the space four years ago from Ben's Bakery, and has been showcasing local memorabilia, rent-free, ever since. Along with Tekeste's underpayment, DRES caught the arrangement as part of a District-wide lease audit last year (which has also resulted in some new fast food places at Judiciary Square) and issued Butler-Truesdale her first notice to vacate about nine months ago.

What's going in that valuable first-floor 14th Street real estate? Not a swank new bar! The District Department of Transportation wants the space as a kind of customer service drop-in center for things like processing bus tickets for school children, handing out bike helmets, etc. They'd hoped to be open by the beginning of the school year, but Butler-Truesdale, in the words of a DRES spokesman, "needed more time to vacate."

She's not going too far away. The Emma Mae Gallery will reopen at the National Association of Colored Womens Clubs at 1601 R Street NW—not quite as visible a location, but still open to the public.

"I had a good run there, and I want to be thankful to DRES for allowing us to be there," Butler-Truesdale said. "We don't really want to leave that area, because the history we provide basically covers that 14th Street corridor. But I realize that things change."

  • Amanda brookefield

    i hope she can stay where she's at its a
    good location, why mess up a good thing if u dont have too

    http://ethicalfutures.wordpress.com

  • Drez

    How much is class A commercial space going for per square foot at 14th and U?
    I want to know how much income DC Gov is throwing away during a time when staff and services are being cut.

  • Hillman

    If by 'had a good run there' she means she successfully cheated DC residents out of rental income on that space, then yes she had a great run.

  • noodlez

    SO Drez THE REEVES CENTER IS CLASS A COMMERCIAL?

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