ANC Committee Advances New Coffee Shop/Café Planned for Hill East Location
by Larry Janezich
ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee has given conditional approval to a plan to develop a new coffee/shop café at 1247 E Street, SE, diagonally across the corner from Peter Bug Shoe Repair academy. Hatem Hatem, who owns the building, envisions a public space where the community can meet. He will renovate the first floor of the building and provide coffee and other beverages, pastries, breakfast, lunch, and light dinners. He told the committee that he will also sell “farmhouse products,” noting that during summer a weekly farmer’s market sets up across the street.
Hatem does not yet have an operator for the shop but hopes to have one in the next few months and open, perhaps, by late summer. He anticipates a 9:00am through 8:00pm operation but is trying to work out an agreement with neighbors to remain open until 9:00pm during the summer. The ANC committee’s approval was conditional upon Hatem working out an agreement regarding summer hours before next Tuesday’s full ANC6B meeting.
Hatem will also remodel and continue to operate the four unit apartment complex on the building’s second floor. The building, vacant since the end of September, was established as a commercial operation in 1898 and has gone through many iterations, including grocery store, candy store, headquarters for a rugby club, and offices for a world peace organization.
Hatem is asking ANC committee to support a variance from current use provisions to allow the coffee shop/café. The variance was strongly supported by commissioner Nichole Opkins, who cited the popularity of the nearby Cupcake Café and the Pretzel Bakery on 15th Street, SE.
CHC reached out to Peter Bug who said he has been across the street for 37 years and fully supports the new venture, noting “it will be beautiful to have something on that corner besides what’s there now. A coffee shop would probably be ideal for folks in the community.” He said that the only problem he foresees is parking, noting Frager’s temporary store a half block down E Street as well as the school football leagues that practice and play on the field behind Watkins School across the street. In the past, some residents of the 1200 block of E Street have expressed concerns about the activities which develop around the games. Parents of the football players who drive their children to the field remain to watch them play and take them home – and in some cases host tailgate parties and even barbeques on the streets around the field. Hateem told the Committee last night that he did not foresee any impact on parking.