The rebuilding of Capitol Hill’s iconic Frager’s Hardware may start with the total demolition of what’s left of the fire ravaged properties.
Raze applications were filed July 24 for the two buildings that comprise Frager’s — 1101-1107 and 1113-1117 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The raze would clear about 90 percent of the 1100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Both properties, their facades still basically intact, are owned by Frager’s proprietor John Weintraub. While the buildings are not protected by landmark status, they are located within the Capitol Hill Historic District and the raze applications will have to be approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board.
And that’s where Weintraub may run into some trouble, sources tell me, though D.C. historic preservation officials declined to comment as they haven’t’ spoken with the owner yet. We do not know, for example, what his engineers had to say about the structural integrity of the buildings.
The earliest the applications could be reviewed by the HPRB is September.
Frager’s, a beloved 93-year-old institution, was destroyed June 5 by an accidental fire likely caused by the “careless discard of smoking material,” that is, a cigarette. The blaze started in the receiving area on the 11th Street side of the building, D.C. and federal fire investigators announced July 1.
Weintraub has estimated the time to rebuild at up to three years.
I stopped by the Frager’s pop-up Monday and was told Weintraub was meeting with architects and engineers and was unavailable for comment. Messages left for him have not been returned.
The Capitol Hill Community Foundation has established a nonprofit Frager’s Fund that continues to accept donations to assist the individuals and businesses (Weintraub hosted other tenants on the second floor) affected by the Frager’s blaze.