The Dupont Underground
The topic of this Off the Beaten Turf is the tour offered of a subterranean space that most DC residents have not seen: The Dupont Underground.
Approximately every other Wednesday, a group meets at the Cosi on the corner of R and 20th Street NW and heads down the narrow sidewalk bordering the roadway that goes under Dupont Circle…to actually take a tour of what lies below the circle. Architect Julian Hunt leads tour-goers around the cavernous 75,000 square-foot space, explaining its history and discussing its future.
Built after World War II, the Dupont Underground was a streetcar station that was eventually designated as a bomb shelter. In 1995, it re-opened as Dupont Down Under, a 12-tenant project that largely consisted of a food court with establishments like Sbarro Pizza. Problems ranging from unfinished construction to broken air conditioners plagued the project, and unbeknownst to the city, Geary Stephen Simon, the head of the effort, had been convicted at least three times of various business crimes. In September 1996, the city evicted Stephen Simon and Dupont Down Under was officially deemed a failure. It has been vacant since that time.
Now, Hunt and The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground have an exclusive rights agreement with DC for the space, and are exploring the many ways that the interestingly laid out space can be designed and what type of tenants could occupy it.
The tour takes groups up and down the eight-block long stretch, illustrating the unique and complicated layout of the space. After entering through a small door just below Q Street, Hunt leads people north along old streetcar tracks in a space that is about 1,000 feet long and 20-feet wide. The group then comes back along the tracks to where the underground goes under the Circle itself, and the path begins to curve. Hunt provides a short presentation on what the space could look like and the retailers that might be attracted to it (a winery, bookstore, restaurant, and art gallery have all been thrown out as possible tenants). He also discusses the architectural and financial complications associated with the space, all which make it difficult to provide a firm timeline as to when things might get moving down there.
The whole tour takes about 45 minutes, and it is a fascinating look at a space not often seen by many city residents. For more information, visit the Dupont Underground website.
- Off The Beaten Turf: Spanish Steps
- Off the Beaten Turf: A. Litteri
- Off the Beaten Turf: Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse
- Off the Beaten Turf: Hana Japanese Market
- Off The Beaten Turf: The U.S. National Arboretum
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/off_the_beaten_turf_the_dupont_underground_tour/5508.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
In this edition of First-Timer Primer, we look into the question of how to determine ... read »
The preferred mortgage product among most home buyers is the fixed-rate mortgage. How... read »
Here's what you need to know about reporting profit made from the sale of your home.... read »
A Roth IRA is one of those accounts that people feel is totally off limits until you ... read »
The latest edition of What $1.5 Million Buys includes a Falls Chuch home reminiscent ... read »
UrbanTurf has compiled virtual looks at large new developments around the DC region.... read »
Why condo fees are high in some buildings and low in others can be a difficult questi... read »
Virginia's homebuyer assistance programs can seem complex. This edition of First-Time... read »
When sellers haven't quite lined up their next house before their settlement date com... read »
In this edition of First Timer Primer, we take a closer look at what you are actually... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro