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ANC 2F May Oppose Demolition Permit for Former Sex Club Building

by Borderstan.com June 27, 2013 at 10:00 am 7 Comments

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.


The Men’s Parties club was on the second floor of 1618 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan may vote to oppose the demolition of 1618 14th Street NW, former site of the sex club, “Men Parties.”

At last night’s meeting, ANC 2F’s Community Development Committee (CDC) voted 6-0 to recommend the full ANC not support an application to DC’s Historical Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for a raze permit for the building. The demolition requires permission from the HPRB because the building is within the boundaries of the Fourteenth Street Historic District.

There was a death at the club in 2009 which led DC to file suit to close the club.

Jeff Owens appeared before the committee to plead the case of the building’s owner, Stephen Jaffe. Reports indicate Jaffe has been the owner since before the 2009 incident.

Owens said the building had been gutted and is now exposed to the elements. He also said the building’s perimeter wall is buckling and the floor joists are gone. Neighborhood residents testified the building is neglected and some windows are open permanently.

Owens also said there is a tentative plan for a new building on the site which would have retail on the first floor and apartments above.

Neighborhood residents testified the building has been an eyesore for years and there were many unsuccessful attempts by neighbors to do something about it. One neighbor brought up the owner’s responsibility for the club and the 2009 death.

“He [Jaffe] knows nothing about that,” Owens said.

Members of the committee came out strongly in favor of preserving the building.

“This is the type of case that historic preservation laws have been designed to protect,” said one committee member.

“This is an absolute case of demolition by neglect,” said another.

“It’s a contributing building,” said committee chair Walt Cain, ANC commissioner for district 02.

The matter may be next considered at the regular monthly meeting of ANC 2F. This is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, at 7 pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.

A notice that an application to raze the building had been filed first appeared at the property in April of this year.

  • Yay! Glad to see this commission isn’t falling into the “blame the building” trap!

    It absolutely can be adaptively reused, and added on to, if needed.

    • Zapped

      Yes, because leaving the facade of a boring, characterless square set of bricks while ripping the guts out and expanding it into an unrecognizable building is really preserving….what exactly? Tear it down or don’t, but people need to stop pretending that every brick in this city must be integrated into anything new. If the goal is to preserve the era, well, nothing you do with the front of that dump is going to do that.

      I’m no advocate for another boring glass and brown stone apartment complex on that street, but give me a break. It was a jerk off club and is a trash heap. It’s only a shame it didn’t completely burn down a few years ago when a fire gutted most of it.

  • Deacon Maccubbin

    If the building has no historic significance, was never the site of any significant event, did not house any famous person, was not used as the office for any significant organization or person, is not architecturally unique or even significant, is ugly, is falling apart (and was falling apart even when it was still being used) and is increasingly out of sync with surrounding properties, I see no problem allowing it to be razed and replaced with a more useful, more attractive structure.

    I’d still love to hear legitimate reasons for preserving it, if any exist, but absent them, tear it down.

    • (Note, I’m pretty agnostic on this building, but just trying to educate people about historic designation.)

      None of the things you brought up are requirements for a building being “historically significant.” The important thing here is that it lies within the 14th Street historic district and was constructed during the “period of significance” designated for the district.

      • Michael

        None of the requirements for historical designation are actually falsifiable. Anything can be designated as historic, which is why it is so often abused.

  • Nathan

    This building is an eyesore, is ugly, and a dump. It’s nothing more than a square of painted (peeling) bricks. It was as slimy (literally) inside as it is outside. Historic? Please…sex clubs that people die in (or from) have no place in the history books, I don’t care what boundaries it lies in. Tear it completely down and replace it with something of usefulness and that will beautify the neighborhood.

  • There’s a lot of great discussion on this story. It’s great to see neighbors talking about important issues, but the discussion should be taken offline as well.

    Check out this video, “We’re Searching for More…”


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