The owner, an architect who bought the building in 1980 for about $135,000, had refused offers of up to $2.75 million for the little property as developers made plans for condominiums a few years ago. Ultimately, they worked around him, putting up new high rises on both sides and behind the building. He then vowed to start a Ledo's Pizza until a dispute with Adams National Bank led to the end of the financing for the needed renovation. The house, built in 1890 and dwarfed by its neighbors, is a reminder of the houses that once sat on Massachusetts Avenue in times past. It now sits vacant.
Developer types throw around ideas for the spot. A cafe could work, perhaps, or a bar or restaurant. Whatever opens, Cary Silverman of the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association said, he has the perfect name: "The Holdout," an eternal reminder to anyone and everyone "to not make unreasonable demands."