In the 1950’s, Route 1 in downtown Hyattsville was known as “Motor Mile” – the heavily trafficked corridor bridged Maryland with Washington, DC and provided the perfect location for automobile dealerships to capture prospective purchasers. The Lustine building is one of the few untouched automobile dealerships dating back to the post WWII-era. The doors of this auto showroom for the Lustine-Nicholson Motor Company first opened in 1950, and quickly became a local landmark.
Recognizing the architectural and historical uniqueness, EYA sought to restore Lustine’s grand showroom as part of the development of the Arts District in Hyattsville, a 25-acre mixed-use development featuring row homes, lofts, and neighborhood-serving retail establishments. The building had been out of service for over 20 years, and showed its disuse. Martinez+Johnson worked closely with EYA on the particularly challenging factors of the preservation and restoration effort.
Through the adaptive reuse project, the Lustine Center was transformed into the area’s most unique community center, encompassing a street-front exercise room, juice bar, new toilets and showers, street-front art gallery space, public meeting rooms, and a business center. Structural work to the original building ensured the safety of guests, including rehabilitated roofing and store frontage and new accessible public entrances. The interior high bay maintains the building’s original intent and openness, and the decorative automobile murals restored. Additionally, new furniture, fixtures, and furnishing were inspired by the Lustine Center’s heyday of the 1950’s.
Today the Lustine Center is a gathering place for residents and visitors alike. It stands as a reminder of Hyattsville’s glorious past and as a symbol of tis place in the community’s bright future. This main street anchor for the town’s revitalization has been strongly embraced by the community.