By: Mark Lee
Last week was the anniversary of the 1968 riots in D.C., following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis. The ensuing five days of destruction that befell Washington and filled the sky with smoke scarred the city’s landscape for decades and cut a hole in the heart of commerce through the prominent local retail districts of the era.
Washington neighborhoods hollowed out by looting and fires are only now beginning to fully finish recovering as commercial and residential real estate development repurposes the remaining empty buildings and reconstructs many of the last vacant lots across a wide swath of the city. Nowhere has this transformation been more dramatic than along the 14th Street, N.W., commercial corridor, as it intersects with U Street and stretches northward into Columbia Heights.