Restoration Diary: Asbestos Remediation. (But Look, Old Photos!)

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by David Garber


The building as it looks today. See below for the before shots. (Photo: National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Bee Beep Rrrrrrrrrrrr. We interrupt this program to bring you an important news bulletin: minus the addition of some plastic sheeting and removal of some floor tiles, not much has changed at ye olde Lionel Lofts since our last update. Fortunately for your friendly neighborhood National Trust blogger, when I went over to take some new pictures, the key was missing from the lock box and I was unable to enter. Turns out it's asbestos and lead paint remediation time. Probably for the best that I didn't breathe all that in.

But don't click away thinking I've left you empty handed. Voila, a fascinating window (literally?) into the old Lionel Trains shop of the 1970s.

Stay tuned for more Restoration Diary soon. Next up: interior demolition. Get excited for the crumbling walls to come tumbling down. (While carefully preserving key character-enhancing elements, of course.)

David Garber is the blog editor at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.


As part of the blog's first Restoration Diary feature, I'll be tracking the progress at the Lionel Lofts adaptive reuse restoration project in Washington, DC's Logan Circle neighborhood. This specific development project, in which a timeworn and underutilized three-story main street commercial building (c. 1905) is being transformed by local development duo CAS Riegler into condos and restaurant space, was chosen because of its relatability for communities across the country, and, as fortune and strategy would have it, its close proximity to the National Trust HQ. Almost every historic town and city has buildings like this one, and I am excited to follow the construction process from start to finish.

Lionel Lofts is located on the fast-changing 14th Street, NW, and neighbors a mix of retailers, residences, and restaurants.

As you can see, the building isn't exactly a Roman ruin, but neither has it been loved in any real way for a while. Check out the 70s paneling and heavy window-grate security below. Worked for the Lionel Trains / Lock & Key shop that used the space before, but not so much for the chic urban restaurant (to be announced later) moving in.

The 1970s is not the decade that will be preserved as construction continues.

The building takes up the entire lot from sidewalk to alley. While the front half was the store and display area, the back half was used for storage and garage space, and - while clearly still needing a lot of work - already has the ceiling height and exposed raw elements that will be revealed on the entire first floor soon.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.