Back in 2002, Capitol Hill businesspeople Adele and Bruce Robey bought a restaurant at 1365 H Street NE for $300,000 and turned it into the H Street Playhouse, a 100-seat black box that now serves as a home for small theater groups.
Since then, hip bars and restaurants have sprung up around it, making H Street the city's buzziest cultural destination -- while many of the businesses that had been there for decades have either failed or cashed out and left.
Now, the H Street Playhouse has perhaps become a victim of its own success.
It was my understanding that the new owners of the building would keep it as a performance venue when my lease expired. Now apparently that is not going to happen.
Or, it could possibly happen if the theater groups are willing to pay "market rent" which in the eyes of these men is in the neighborhood of $55/square foot. Since that works out to something like $20,000 a month, it's obviously not going to happen.
Most companies struggle to pay $6,000 (at which rate I lose $2,500 a month). In talking with our resident companies and judging by the daily calls I get for rental space, it is my opinion that if we can find a viable space that we can outfit, we can be up and running and fully booked very quickly.
I've reached out to the principals of Century Associates, and will update if they've got anything to say.
H Street Playhouse Priced Out of H Street, Looking For New Spot was originally published by Washington City Paper on Jan. 5, 2012.