Some Clarity on the Future of The Passenger and Hogo
I just met with Douglas Development's Paul Millstein, who walked me through the company's plans for the corner of 7th Street and New York Avenue NW and cleared up some questions about the future of the popular bar The Passenger and the coming bar Hogo, which'll be displaced by the construction.
Construction on Douglas' big office building at 650 New York Ave. NW will cut into the backs of the strip of buildings on 7th Street, including The Passenger and Hogo. Although the front sections of those buildings will be undisturbed, Millstein says they'll be forced to shut down for at least the duration of the construction.
"I don't know how you could operate a bar or any business in that space," he says.
After construction's finished, they could theoretically move back into the space. Millstein says the company's aiming to start construction in January 2014, and that the businesses will have to vacate the buildings a few months before that. Construction will likely last about 18 months, he says.
The bars could potentially move to another Douglas site in the area, either permanently or for the duration of the construction before moving back to 7th Street. Millstein says Paul Ruppert, whose family is selling several of the 7th Street buildings to Douglas and who co-owns The Passenger and the coming Hogo, is a great tenant, and Millstein would love to keep him on in the newly constructed area if possible.
"They're beloved in the neighborhood, and we want them to stay in the neighborhood," Millstein says of The Passenger.
The main office at 650 New York Ave. NW was originally being designed for LivingSocial. A Douglas representative recently said LivingSocial is now off the table, following its round of layoffs. Millstein says "a more conventional user" is now likely. The new tenant or tenants could ask to have the New York Avenue office merge with the second and third floors of the 7th Street buildings—the ground floors would remain retail—or they could stay separate.
Here's a before-and-after look at the layout of the buildings, which shows how much of the backs of the 7th Street buildings will be lopped off during construction of the big office building. Pardon the low-quality snapshots:
Another of the shops on the 7th Street strip, BicycleSPACE, is more likely to remain during construction because of its smaller footprint. "We'll work around them or we'll move them temporarily," Millstein says.
Passenger co-owner Derek Brown declined to comment.
Rendering of 650 New York Avenue from Douglas' Historic Preservation Review Board application