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The sidewalk outside the old Greyhound Bus Terminal was not a place for patience, wonder, or optimism. Even after First Street NE began to transform into a corridor of spiffy office towers at the turn of the decade, disembarked passengers still had the same looks on their faces: Where am I, exactly? And how quickly can I get out of here? One of the regular panhandlers could hail you a cab or point you toward Union Station, inconveniently located several blocks away.
The bus terminal, with its low-slung, utilitarian ’80s architecture, might’ve been a bright spot in the neighborhood before anybody thought to label it “NoMa,” but by the time demolition began this fall, the structure was a dingy curiosity—a reminder of D.C.’s lost decades. Search online for images of the building, and you’re more likely to find shots of its predecessor, the beloved midcentury terminal on New York Avenue that was tenderly integrated into a high-rise complex. Greyhound now operates out of a new bus facility in Union Station, and the First Street site was sold for nearly $47 million to developers who plan (what else?) a mixed-use building with a park. The last significant bit of old-school D.C. flavor on the same stretch of First Street is the windowless Ibiza nightclub. Its owners filed for bankruptcy in July.