Restoration Diary: Enter Heavy Machinery

Posted on: March 27th, 2012 by David Garber

Construction is moving forward at a steady clip at the Lionel Lofts commercial-to-condo project on DC's 14th Street, NW. The current stage: excavation. Although the building takes up the entire lot between the sidewalk and the alley, the basement level only extends about three quarters of the way back - and that's dirt that has already been leased by a restaurant so it needs to be dug up and trucked out.

Although you can't really tell from the above photo (scroll down to see more), there's now a gap between the original building and the original garage, which had been filled in along the way and will eventually be filled in again with a contemporary addition.

Because there aren't any real floors left in the building, this is the comforting view from the storefront entrance. In the photo below, you can see some of the hand-hewn, rough-cut detail in the remaining original floor joists. Although these kinds of details are typically hidden beneath floorboards, it's an interesting contrast from the now machine-made boards available for purchase today. 

The area below is, like everything in this building, extremely different now than it used to be. What once was a sprawling retail level now appears to have been the recipient of a giant bite from the sky. It's a dirty heap of bricks, boards, and clay, but it's progress.

Below: digging out what will later be part of the restaurant space. Something tells me I was standing about where the new open kitchen will one day begin.

As you can see below, it's pretty clear from the old roof line where the in-between structure used to be. I don't think it'll be quite as easy to tag the brick now that it's gone.

And another view below, looking through to the storefront. It will be another sight entirely (again) when this space is completely cleaned out and the new framing starts to emerge.

Construction crews will soon start working on the front facade. But before we sign off on the post, I wanted to give proper acknowledgement of the building's only resident: a pigeon who lives in the jumble of storefront and signage, and who will likely be displaced. Restoration strikes again.

More information on this development project can be found on the Lionel Lofts website.

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General, Restoration