Ethiopian Restaurant and Apartment Building Project in Union Square Still Moving Forward After Fire

| May 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

A four-alarm fire last Monday damaged seven commercial buildings, three of which are now demolished, on the 1500 block of W. Baltimore St. in Union Square. Three of the four remaining buildings that still stand are part of project to bring Ethiopian restaurant Jabena and six apartments to the block. That project at 1515 to 1519 W. Baltimore St. is still moving forward.

The apartments and Jabena project is led by wife and husband Meseret Bekele and Samuel Ergete. They have owned Ethiopic Restaurant in the Atlas District (H Street Corridor) of Washington, D.C. for the last 12 years.

Bekele told, “I am just glad everyone is OK and no one was injured. The project may have had a serious of hiccup but we are still moving forward.”

She added, “We had just gotten the approval from the Historic Preservation and were on the way to start building when it happened. However, the damage is not as bad as the rest of the buildings and we should be able to rebuild quickly and start with the interior buildout within the coming weeks.”

In 2020, Bekele and Ergete began rebuilding the collapsed facades on the rowhomes and adding windows utilizing a facade grant. The new facade remains mostly intact following the fire.

Along with Jabena, the properties will have a second retail space. The second and third stories of the buildings will have six one-bedroom apartments. There will be eight parking spots behind the buildings.

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