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February 10, 2007
February 26, 2017 
Half at K, Looking North-Northwest (see more)

Today's Washington Business Journal reports (subscribers only, alas) that Madison Marquette, owners of the "Blue Castle" at 770 M Street SE and co-owners of a series of additional parcels across 8th, "will soon formally launch its Lower Barracks Row redevelopment process, hiring land use planners, wooing an anchor retailer for the historic car barn and tackling a range of hurdles that stand in the way."
It's that "range of hurdles" that the article focuses on--MM will need to figure out where will parking for the car barn be able to be placed and how much additional height can be added given not only historic and building height restrictions but the Navy Yard's concerns with having buildings that can look over their walls.
Then there's the looming CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction, which could impact all of the landowners along Lower 8th given the disruptions that will no doubt ensue during the project. Mark Batterson of the National Community Church, which now owns all of the properties along Virginia between 7th and 8th and is looking to build a large coffee house/performance space and offices there, says in the article that their planning is very much tied up in CSX's timeline. "It doesn't make sense to do our project and then have them come through and rip everything up and make it difficult for us to even access our property."
Back in 2009 and 2010 there was a long Lower 8th Street Vision Process, which suggested allowing building heights of 65 to 85 feet on new structures 20 to 30 feet behind existing historic 8th Street structures. (The process report has a lot of drawings on how the 45-foot limit along 8th could co-exist with these potential greater heights further off the street.)
And, while not mentioned in the WBJ article, there's still the question of whether the Marines will end up building a new barracks in this area, as they have been hoping to do.
So, while the current Blue Castle leases are up in 2012, giving MM the opening to begin the process, the article makes clear that any makeover of Lower 8th will probably proceed slowly, at best.
Oh, and when it's all done, the Blue Castle probably won't be blue anymore:
(Rendering courtesy Madison Marquette. And maybe there's a hint in it of where they think the parking could go!)
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ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (11/1/11 6:20 PM)
This makes a perfect place for whole foods. A big whole foods just like the one in Fair lakes, Fairfax (65,000 square feet) link


straightoutof03 says: (11/1/11 8:16 PM)
Completely agree. WF would be a welcome addition to the Capitol Hill/SW/near SE area.






MJM says: (11/2/11 12:36 AM)
That is the rumor for this place. Hopefully nothing leaks and scuttles the deal (e.g. 880 Nj Ave)


Sophia Monster says: (11/2/11 10:14 AM)
I wonder if a Whole Foods is necessary given the proximity of the new Harris Teeter and the existing Harris Teeter on Penn. I also wonder what type of impact an upscale, large scale grocery store would have on the small businesses on 8th Street (such as the not yet opened bakery, the fro-yo spot, and the two pastry shops - or even Eastern Market's butchers).


JD says: (11/2/11 10:35 AM)
And Yes! Organic Market, which was announced yesterday will be moving from its Pennsylvania Avenue spot to the old Blockbuster space on Barracks Row.

But, this brings about an interesting side point. You've got seven restaurants and the Teeter now announced at the Yards, plus probably at least two more restaurants coming to the Lumber Shed. You've got a restaurant slated for the Canal Park space, and Lot 38 Espresso about to open. Gordon Biersch at 100 M, maybe. And no doubt a slew of restaurants along Half Street, when it finally gets completed sometime in the next century. Along with of course Five Guys, Subway, Justin's, Sizzlin' Express, Domino's, Cornercopia and the places on Lower 8th.

I know everyone's really hungry :-), but is it time to start thinking about retail beyond food? The only non-food retail planned so far is the Unnamed Fitness Company (*cough*Vida*cough*) coming to the 401 M Street building with the Teeter.


ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (11/2/11 11:13 AM)
Umm....What kind of retail do I want that is a block or two or three away from my apartment. Hardware store, stationary store (staples, office max), book store, American Apparel, electronic store, movie theater, H&M, furniture store, Turkish bath house, record store, and korean nail place.

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