Mr. Mendelsohn is absolutely correct (The Mail, 7/23): The Logan Circle Community Association (LCCA) presented an award to Diversite for “Most Significant Contribution to 14th Street’s Revitalization”—in 1994. Diversite’s arrival on the street was welcomed with open arms. We were elated that Mendelsohn and his partner, Moussa Toure, had the vision and the nerve to open a restaurant in what was still a transitional area of the city. In 1995, Diversite was featured on our annual house tour, showcasing the adaptive reuse of a building originally constructed as an automobile showroom. After entering into a voluntary agreement with the partners, LCCA supported their original liquor license application, their requested amendment to allow dancing, and the renewal of the license in 1997.
Regrettably, the character of the establishment and its patrons has changed. It is no longer a restaurant where one might drop in for an enjoyable meal or combine dinner with a show at a nearby theater. It is a nightclub, operating in violation of its CR restaurant license and in disregard of several commitments made to the community in its voluntary agreements. It is a nightclub that caters to a young and volatile clientele whose members, over the last one-and-a-half years, have committed two murders and other acts of violence and destruction in our community.
We are not “yuppie neighbors” trying to create our own version of suburbia in the middle of D.C. The majority of us have lived in the neighborhood since well before the advent of Diversite. We recognize that the current development boom along 14th Street, while welcome, will cause friction, inconvenience, and even problems, and will require negotiation and compromise between residents and businesses. Public safety, however, is not negotiable. Compromise is not an option so long as Diversite refuses to acknowledge and respond to the legitimate concerns of its neighbors.
Logan Circle Community Association