When Douglas Jemal and his development group announced recently that they would be putting up a 30 unit apartment building with ground floor retail at the empty Latino Auto Sales, I shrugged. That block seems to be housing/ground floor retail central – and the ground floor retail is failing. No stores have opened in the View 14 or Solea buildings.
But when I read more closely, I saw this building will be 6 floors – meaning that the Black Family Reunion mural on the adjacent building will be obscured. Under current plans at least, it seems the project will go forward without accomodating the mural.
The good news is that Jemal will be working with the artist, Byron Peck, (who also did the famous mural of Duke Ellington on U Street) to create a new mural in lieu of the Black Family Reunion one. Glad that the developer is willing to work with the artist, but still sad to see that this great example of community created street art hidden.
Construction will not start until summer 2011 (optimistically) so you still have plenty of time to admire the mural.