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The owner of the defunct Ontario Theatre in Adams Morgan has filed an application for permission to raze the building.
Owner George Pedas has long dreamed of redeveloping the theater, which closed in 1987, was chopped up into a few retail businesses, and has been vacant for years. Last year, Pedas told the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission that he wanted to build a five-story condo building on the site, but then said he was weighing his options. The raze application, filed late last week, indicates that Pedas hopes to raze the entire building. Pedas hasn’t yet returned my call.
Last year, Historic Washington Architecture Inc. applied to have the theater landmarked as a historic building but withdrew the application shortly before it was considered. Historic Washington Architecture President Mary Rowse declined to comment on the reason for the withdrawal, referring me to two co-applicants, from whom I’m waiting to hear. City records indicate that the request for withdrawal was filed on Jan. 13 of this year.
Rowse did express her desire to see the building deconstructed rather than demolished, in order to preserve some elements of the 1950s theater. “It’s just criminal in this day and age to put a building into a landfill when it can be reused and the parts can be saved,” she said.
I’ll update when I have more information.
Last year’s condo rendering from Potomac Development Group