An imperiled Logan Circle business could receive a historic status.
Washington City Paper reported last week that Barrel House Liquor — known around the neighborhood for its iconic barrel-shaped facade at 1341 14th St. NW — is being forced to move next door due to rising rent. Though the liquor store will live on, what might happen to the big barrel is unknown.
Or maybe not. At least, not if Logan Circle’s ANC 2F can help it. The neighborhood commission is currently discussing applying for a historic status for the building’s facade, which would make it difficult for future tenants to modify or remove it.
Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, is the one leading the effort.
“I first heard that M.G. [whose full name is Mesfun Ghebrelul] would be moving last Thursday. I heard that the landlord was doubling their rent every lease term, which is unfortunate,” said Tuma. “He’s been a great neighbor. They’ve won the Logan Circle Community Association award several times. I’ve been shopping there almost 17 years.”
Tuma and his fellow 2F commissioners plan to hear public comments regarding giving the building a historic status during a community development meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) next Thursday at 7 p.m.
“We want to hear if this is something that the community wants to stay,” Tuma said. “I personally want it. Everyone I’ve talked to wants it. But that’s the first step, that making sure this is representative of the greater community.”
The neighborhood commission will also hear from members of the public during its general ANC meeting in the first week in October.
Provided the ANC reaches a consensus, Tuma said it will move forward with applying for the historic status, preferably with the property owner’s blessing.
“Because the property owner is part of the community, we would like to have a situation where everyone is moving toward the end result,” Tuma said. “We are going to do it. I hope the property owner signs on.”
But Tuma added that it’s not necessary to have the landlord’s approval before applying for the status.
“I think that there really is a desire among the community and the commission to preserve the history of Logan Circle. That’s why we live there,” said Tuma. “Whether it’s a building built in 1893 or Barrel House, the beauty of Logan Circle is everything that it was and everything that it will be.”