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Via the very useful, newish EastShawDC blog, we learn that the ever-busy brothers Hilton have something in mind for a vacant lot on U Street near the soon-to-open Brixton: A bar made out of shipping containers. Developer Jim Abdo has been sitting on the lot since 2004, and decided to lease it to Ian Hilton. Rather than building an actual building there at the moment—-so expensive!—-the team proposes to create some internal space out of the big metal boxes, and tent over the back of the lot for a summer garden. According to the Georgetowner, it’ll be a tacqueria called El Ray.
Staff at the Historic Preservation Office have already commented favorably, noting the increasing popularity of temporary uses on hard-to-develop sites, and the plan for a shipping container-filled “fairgrounds” next to Nationals Ballpark. Seems like a great way of making a lot generate revenue while avoiding sky-high development costs. When successful, such uses have a way of becoming permanent.