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A New Plan to Restore Republic Gardens as a Restaurant

by Nena Perry-Brown

A New Plan to Restore Republic Gardens as a Restaurant: Figure 1
Rendering of restored properties at 1355-1357 U Street NW. Click to enlarge.

Over a decade since the historic club was evicted from its U Street address, the building bearing the "Republic Gardens" sign has remained fallow. Now, new plans are in the works to remodel the property. 

The Goldstar Group has applied to revive the properties at 1355 and 1357 U Street NW (map) as a restaurant. The historic front of the properties will be restored while the second story of 1355 U Street will be rebuilt and a mezzanine and roof deck added to 1357.

A New Plan to Restore Republic Gardens as a Restaurant: Figure 2
Bird's-eye rendering of the roof decks. Click to enlarge.

The cellar level of 1355 U Street NW, where the "Republic Gardens" sign still adorns the façade, will function as storage space. Jon Hensley Architects is helming the design.

This application comes two years after both the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and the Board of Zoning Adjustment approved plans which would have delivered an eight-story building with 23 apartments above retail; it is unclear why those plans were abandoned. Republic Gardens had heydays as a jazz lounge and restaurant during the Black Broadway era from the 1920s-1950s, as well as operating as a club through the 1990s and early 2000s.

The HPRB is expected to review the concept at their September meeting.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a-new-plan-for-republic-gardens-to-go-restaurant/14374

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