The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dupont Underground gets life above ground

(Perry Stein/The Washington Post)

The Dupont Underground space is still months away from opening, but it now has a visible, above-ground entranceway to let the public know it’s coming.

The ambitious project will convert the long-abandoned trolley platforms under Dupont Circle into a massive community arts and events space. The space was slated to open in July, but Braulio Agnese, the managing director of Dupont Underground, said organizers are waiting on final city permits, and it will not open before September.

[Interactive: Welcome to Dupont, underground]

Still, they went ahead last week with their plans to paint the main entranceway — a defunct stairway entrance to the trolley system located across the street from Dupont Circle on New Hampshire Avenue NW. It features a light post about 15-feet high and is painted red, emblazoned with the Dupont Underground logo and the Web site url. Ripe, a local branding firm, designed the logo and helped paint the structure.

“This is just another indication that we’re moving forward,” Agnese said. “It’s another way to get the word out there that something is happening.”

The last streetcar used that station in 1962. In the mid-1990s, a food court had an unsuccessful stint in the space. Dupont Underground signed a five-year lease with the city for the 75,000-square-foot underground space, although when it opens, only a portion of that space initially will be used.