Update Nov. 24 10:15 AM: Although I had understood a staffer to say Saturday night that HR-57 director Tony Puesan owns the building in which his venue is housed, Capitolbop reports that Puesan sold the building three years ago and is now moving because the current owners have raised the rent too high.
HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues bills itself as a “music cultural center” rather than a club, though it’s hard to tell the difference. It has a bandstand, tables and chairs, and sells alcohol. Club or cultural center, though, HR-57’s spare but sizable space at 14th and Q Streets NW has been a mainstay of DC jazz since 1993, and fills up fast on Saturday nights.
That’s why it was astounding when rumors circulated this week that the venue is moving to the Atlas District.
Tonight, however, staffers —- including owner/director Tony Puesan —- confirmed that the first week of January will find HR-57 relocating to a property at H and 9th Streets NE. “It’s a very nice place,” says Puesan. “It’s just in a little bit cheaper building.” The current building, which Puesan owns, is being sold. (“A cheaper building” apparently refers to property taxes.)
Undoubtedly, Puesan and the other staffers hope and feel that the H Street renaissance will help and be helped by HR-57’s move there. All the same, it’s a risky venture trading a Metro-accessible location in the U Street corridor’s established jazz district for a still up-and-coming neighborhood whose transit options consist of a shuttlebus and still-unfinished streetcar system. Here’s hoping for the best.