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Diverse Markets Management, the company which was overseeing the "market" portion of the new Fairgrounds shipping container market and events space on Half Street, alerted its vendors and other exhibitors via e-mail that "[a]fter much deliberation, DMM has concluded it must drop out of this project, effective immediately."
In the e-mail, DMM executive director Michael Berman said he was sorry that the plans didn't work out, having had "high hopes for the venue," but: "Taking a hard look at the site, I believe it cannot support retail, vending, artists or farmers as we had imagined that it might. I think the space is well designed to serve alcohol products and that the stage, sound, and food trucks compliment that use, but the vending and retail aspect does not fit in at all, without a complete redesign, which is not envisioned."
In what is probably related news, the Fairgrounds web site now says that it will be open "daily" (i.e., operating on non-game days in addition to game days) beginning May 4. The food, drink, and entertainment portions of Fairgrounds's operations were not being handled by DMM and presumably will be continuing. I've reached out to Fairgrounds developer Bo Blair to find out whether another vendor will be brought in to try to revive the market aspect of Fairgrounds' plans, and will update with any information I get.
UPDATE: Describing the Fairgrounds team as "disappointed" that DMM pulled out after only five days of business, Bo Blair had this to say via e-mail:
"From the beginning of the Fairgrounds concept, we all were very aware that the retail aspect was going to be a difficult task. Unfortunately, DMM was not the right fit. We are fully committed to moving forward quickly with a host of other vendors, artists, real estate brokers, and entrepeneurs who see the incredible potential to create something unique and interesting on the site. We did not go out and spend over $350,000 and waste an incredible amount of time and effort to have the containers sit empty. We will fill them soon. The other aspects of Fairgrounds, such as the food trucks, The Bullpen, games, and live music have been very well received. We have many events planned for the summer and will be open daily starting May 4th. We look forward to new ideas and concepts to fill the container stores as soon as possible and are excited for the great season ahead."
Comments (15)
   
 
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PJY03 says: (4/18/12 3:00 PM)
I'm not totally surprised by this, having just visited on Monday night. Regardless of their best-laid plans, the Bullpen is still the Bullpen. The crowds that go to the site are going to drink, they aren't going to shop. Let's face it -- its kind of fratty, and you're not going to sell hand made jewelry to that crowd.

I was an initial proponent, and still don't think a container market is a bad idea. You just can't be both The Bullpen and craft market at the same time.


lester says: (4/18/12 3:24 PM)
*Shock.* It's not the least bit surprising that a seasonal "fairgrounds" a 20 minute walk, 10 minute bike ride, and 3 minute car ride from Eastern Market, one of the largest, most established daily (except Monday) venues in the area (with a weekend flea market, year around) would fail.


Bruce says: (4/18/12 4:24 PM)
They apparently didnt think that they could overcome the site's reputation as a drinking establishment. Oh well.


Robert says: (4/19/12 8:47 AM)
I didn't support the idea originally but thought I'd give it a try. It does make a great impression at first glance, but once inside it’s just the bull pin. The vendors there were selling $300 paintings of the DC flag; you could still see the pencil marks in the painting where they traced the stars. If that was their idea of retail then maybe DMM wasn't a good fit. Those vendors seemed to be part of that annoying Sober/non-drug-using hippy movement, who will by anything (bad clothes, bad paintings, etc.) at any cost to come off as counter culture. There is potential for retail but it has to complement its primary function as a drinking venue. Maybe a coozy outlet, hand spun shot glass stand, neon colored sun glasses container, and a custom bean bag table for corn hole...



Bob says: (4/19/12 9:16 AM)
How odd and disappointing. You’d think retailers would flock to a location that looks like a dumping ground for discarded CSX equipment. I mean, what could be more inviting than rusting and dented shipping containers piled one on top of the other?


Maelstrom says: (4/19/12 9:50 AM)
You know, I thought the site was 'rusting and dented shipping containers' at first, then they welded on window ends and did some fairly inventive stuff with wood palets. I agree with Robert that they should just sell stuff that goes with the theme of the bullpen.


58Model says: (4/20/12 11:11 AM)
Welcome to Near Southeast. Have a drink.


Westnorth says: (4/20/12 2:35 PM)
I was curious to see what vendors would appear, and a bit disappointed to see so few there. However, they're charging the equivalent of $200/sq.ft., with a full month commitment -- for a space which only reliably gets crowds at game time, and then only because there's a bar.

The other shipping-container markets appeared as more-permanent alternatives to already successful craft fairs; events like Brooklyn Flea established a market before DeKalb, and Shoreditch is around the corner from the thronged Brick Lane Market. Their concept could probably work as an adjunct to Eastern Market, but this location's just not on most residents' radars yet.


TheJCG says: (4/20/12 11:57 PM)
And we get lester and Bob with snarky comments that add nothing and are just more trolling from angry people with nothing going for themselves.

The choices of retail did seem really odd. Things don't have to be gameday/drinking oriented, but they do have to be quality for good prices. This is an idea that is going to have to build up and gain a reputation, the retail vendors need to know that.


MJM says: (4/21/12 1:06 AM)
TheJCG - what do yo want people to add to a failed concept? This thing was billed as the next great "If they build it they will come project" - I'd like to think the folks did their business/marketing plan and came to the conclusion that it would draw people as a retail spot. I would have liked to open something there but really outside of game day what is gonna drive traffic over there on the end of the neighborhood w/o an event?

Maybe Akridge can sell the land to someone who will actually develop a pretty prime piece of real estate and make it more than a booze destination?

$200/sq ft - is that right? The avg DC rent is in the $48/sq ft range...


JD says: (4/21/12 10:02 AM)
For a bit more detail, and ruminations on retail in a place that's mostly sports fans, read Housing Complex: link


lester says: (4/23/12 7:28 AM)
@TheJCG, If I were trolling, how on earth is a comment about trolling any more productive to the conversation? And honestly, leveling a personal attack at two individuals after accusing them of trolling? Brings me back to grade school.

I'm not an angry person at all, and I've got a lot going for me. Thanks for your concern regarding my well being.

For the record, I was attempting to add some market analysis, and was questioning why on earth Georgetown Events thoughts this concept would work here. Several others have made similar comments, and understood where I was coming from.

Have a nice day.


JD says: (4/23/12 10:29 AM)
Okay, seriously, leave the comments thread policing to me. Just talk about the topic(s) at hand....


Westnorth says: (4/23/12 4:01 PM)
The $200 figure comes from DCRE's listing, which is visible at their DCMud blog; it's not entirely comparable to the $50/foot you'll find nearby since (a) it's not for an entire year and (b) it's not triple net [appears to include utilities].

One 8x20 container is $3000 per month, or $5000 for two months. That, plus staff and inventory costs, is a lot of money for a small retailer to put at risk.


Robert says: (4/25/12 9:44 AM)
The link below is a great example of container retail done right! If Akridge, a very prominent developer, wants this to be a more respectable venue to be patronized by more than your baseball pre-gamers, I believe it will require more than they a currently willing to invest. You can't take an epic idea, execute it with mediocre precision and expect great results.

link

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900 B/O POTOMAC AVE SE   THEFT F/AUTO
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500 B/O L ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO
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1277 1ST ST SE   
08/11/15 
BALLPARK RESIDENTIAL LLC / RICHARD V CAREY
P1508164 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/21/15 
BALLPARK RESIDENTIAL LLC BALLPARK RESIDENTIAL LLC / CLINT HOLMES; BALLPARK RESIDE BALLPARK RESIDENTIAL LLC; MITCH PERMUY
E20139177 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1000 5TH ST SE   
08/18/15 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / JOSEPH M MAGNOLIA
P1508371 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1150 5TH ST SE   
08/10/15 
DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES DC PUBLIC SCHOOL / DEPARTMENT OF G DC PUBLIC SCHOOL
B1511234 / CONSTRUCTION
REVISION TO B1511107 TO CORRECT QUADANT ON ADDRESS FROM 1150 5TH STREET N.E. TO 1150 5TH STREET S.E. TO UPGRADE THE ELECTRICAL SERVICES OF A DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOL FROM 1200AMP TO 3 000 AMP.
   
08/11/15 
PEPCO PEPCO
AH1500668 / CONSTRUCTION
INSTALLATION OF CABLE AND METERS
1220 12TH ST SE   
08/13/15 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / JOHN GIUSEPPE-RAMCO
B1509350 / CONSTRUCTION
RENOVATIONS TO EXISTING 3RD FLOOR OFFICE SPACE EXELIS AS SHOWN ON THE ATTACHED MECH. PLUMB. ELECT. FIRE PROTECTION DEMOLITION AND ARCH. DWGS. INTERIOR WORK ONLY. NO CHANGE IN US. NO STRUCT. WORK.
909 HALF ST SE   
08/13/15 
BAKER DC LLC / CHRISTINE LONG
AH1500677 / CONSTRUCTION
AN AFTER HOURS PERMIT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED FROM 11:00PM FRIDAY THRU 11:00PM SATURDAY
   
08/18/15 
BAKER DC
AH1500686 / CONSTRUCTION
AN AFTER HOURS PERMIT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED FROM 12:01AM WEDNESDAY THRU 11:59PM THURSDAY. 1-49 BLOCK OF K ST SE
   
08/21/15 
BAKER DC / CHRISTINE LONG
AH1500695 / CONSTRUCTION
AN AFTER HOURS PERMIT IS FROM 12:01AM THRU 11:59PM FROM 08 / 25 / 2015 TO 08 / 29 / 2015
1015 HALF ST SE   
08/13/15 
HALF ST SE LLC / GREGORY E LIGON
E1508399 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/17/15 
HALF ST SE LLC / ANTHONY G SAMBURG
E1508502 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/20/15 
WSP PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF / STEVE AUD; WSP PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF; STEVE AUD
E95740122 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1220 HALF ST SE   
08/12/15 
BUFFALO WILD WINGS / NICOLE WHITE; BUFFALO WILD WINGS; GREG CONCANNON
AR49901357 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/13/15 
BUFFALO WILD WINGS / BELA X-PEDITERS PLUS INC.
AH1500681 / CONSTRUCTION
WORK AFTER HOURS 7PM-7AM. 8 / 13 / 2015 TO 9 / 13 / 2015
601 L ST SE   
08/17/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / KRISSY GER LISA LJ PERMIT
B1510955 / CONSTRUCTION
REVISION TO B1101058 MINOR GRADING REVISION
   
08/20/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MARK A DORSEY
EN1502944 / SHOP DRAWING
TYPE OF ELEVATOR ONE (1) HYDRO / STEEL / CENTRALLY / PASSENGER TO PROVIDE ACCESS BETWEEN G AND G2 FLOORS AS PER PLANS.
   
08/20/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MARK A DORSEY
EN1502945 / SHOP DRAWING
TYPE OF ELEVATOR: TWO (2) TRACTION / STEEL / CENTRALLY / PASSENGER (5TH FLOOR).
   
08/20/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MARK A DORSEY
EN1502970 / SHOP DRAWING
TYPE OF ELEVATOR ONE (1) TRACTION / STEEL / CENTRALLY / PASSENGER (6TH FLOOR).
   
08/20/15 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MARK A DORSEY
EN1502971 / SHOP DRAWING
TYPE OF ELEVATOR ONE (1) TRACTION / STEEL / CENTRALLY / PASSENGER (6TH FLOOR).
80 M ST SE   
08/24/15 
COLUMBIA PROPERTY TRUST / KRISTINA DELGADO
B1510944 / CONSTRUCTION
PARTIAL 4TH FLOOR RENOVATIONS INCLUDING MECHANICAL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL AS WELL AS FURNITURE INSTALLATION.
20 M ST SE   
08/19/15 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / ELEANOR FARID; SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC; RODNEY CANNON
E69278004 / SUPPLEMENTAL
50 M ST SE   
08/11/15 
MILLER?LONG
TC1500036 / CONSTRUCTION
TOWER CRANE FOR JOB SITE USE
   
08/13/15 
MILLER?LONG MILLER?LONG
AH1500674 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTERHOURS TO PUT UP TOWERCRANE WITH 200 TON MOBILE CRANE SATURDAY 8 / 15 / 2015 AND 8 / 16 / 2015 FROM 5AM TO 9PM
   
08/14/15 
KCG 50 M LLC / JOSEPH E RICHARDS
E1508432 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/21/15 
KCG 50 M LLC / DANIEL R. RUDE
P1508460 / SUPPLEMENTAL
55 M ST SE   
08/19/15 
DOUG OLSON / DOUG OLSON; NONE
SG1500414 / CONSTRUCTION
NEW SIGNS INSTALLATION AS PER PLANS
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
08/11/15 
CHRISTOPHER CONDON
PC69159304 / POST CARD
INTERIOR DEMOLITION OF NON-BEARING ELEMENTS IN A SPACE UP TO 5 000 SQUARE FEET (464.5 SQUARE METERS)
1500 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
08/14/15 
P1508259 / SUPPLEMENTAL
301 WATER ST SE   
08/12/15 
LUMBER SHED LIC / ROBERT WATTS; LUMBER SHED LIC; ROBERT WATTS
E99575145 / SUPPLEMENTAL
355 WATER ST SE   
08/14/15 
TIAN LUU / TIAN LUU; TIAN LUU; JAMES BORROR
E95497821 / SUPPLEMENTAL
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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