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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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City Government Data for Near Southeast Records added or updated recently displayed here; click the "archive" links to see additional detail and older records. All data from DC Government databases and RSS feeds. JDLand takes no responsibility for errors, omissions, etc. (read CapStat disclaimer). Data is retrieved daily.

Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/08/14
400 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/08/14
1000 B/O 4TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/05/14
300 B/O M ST SE   ROBBERY /  09/03/14
900 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/03/14
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT /  09/03/14
1200 B/O 4TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  09/02/14
200 B/O M ST SE   THEFT /  09/02/14
300 B/O M ST SE   THEFT /  09/02/14
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT /  09/01/14
300 B/O K ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/31/14
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT F/AUTO /  08/31/14

Active Public Space Permits Archive  
1331 2ND ST SE    Carlton Ray 
Assigned
paving; streetfixture; excavation  
 02/10/14
to
02/09/15
1331 4TH ST SE    Forest City Forest City 
Issued
excavation; new  
 01/10/14
to
02/10/15
301 TINGEY ST SE    Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC 
Issued
new  
 03/21/12
to
11/27/14

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1259 1ST ST SE   
09/24/14 
CAPITAL RIVERFRONT HOTEL LLC / CAPITAL RIVERFR LLC; KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
AH1400705 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTER HOURS FOR PERMIT NO B1401471 - MONDAY THRU SATURDAY FROM 5 AM TO 7 PM - SEPT 30 THRU OCTOBER 29
1265 1ST ST SE   
09/22/14 
CAPITAL RIVERFRONT HOTEL LLC / CYNTHIA H LOPEZ
M1403317 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1212 4TH ST SE   
09/23/14 
THE YARDS
TL1400136 / CONSTRUCTION
FIRST TIME TENANT LAYOUT RELATED TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW PET VETERINARY BOARDING HOSPITAL AND VET USES PER ZC ORDER 13 THRU 15 AND AMENDMENT TO SECTION 1803.16 TO ALLOW PROPOSED USE IN THE SEFC CR DISTRICT MINOR ARCHITECURAL MECHANICAL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL AND FIRE LIFE SAFTEY WORK AS PER PLANS.
   
09/24/14 
THE YARDS / MIKE WHITE; THE YARDS; KENNETH G. JOHNSON
P13190284 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/14 
FC 1212 LLC / TERRY L BOETTNER
M1403366 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/14 
FC 1212 LLC /
P1408863 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/26/14 
THE YARDS / ANTHONY HARRIS; THE YARDS; ANTHONY HARRIS
E68185255 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1103 9TH ST SE   
09/16/14 
ICP PARTNERS POTOMAC 810 LLC / FRANKLIN T GAINES
P1408621 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1220 12TH ST SE   
09/18/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / GREGORY E LIGON
E1409179 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / JAMES C. GYURAS
E1409204 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT CO / JAMES C. GYURAS
E1409203 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/22/14 
WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT COMPANY / RICHARD COLLINS; WASHINGTON GAS LIGHT COMPANY; ROBERT DIKE
E34340973 / SUPPLEMENTAL
601 L ST SE   
09/16/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / EDUARDO L. LOPEZ
E1409105 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/18/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / RICHARD V CAREY
P1408678 / SUPPLEMENTAL
718 L ST SE   
09/22/14 
ALAN GAUNOUX G PROPERTIES
B1402025 / CONSTRUCTION
EXTERIOR WORK AT REAR OF PROPERTY ONLY. NO WORK ON FRONT FACADE REPAIR EXTERIOR BRICK AND POINT BRICK JOINTS AT REAR
20 M ST SE   
09/19/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / MATT LOSIGNOR
P1408704 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/19/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC / MATT LOSIGNOR
P1408703 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/26/14 
SOUTH EAST REALTY LLC SOUTH EAST REALTY LLC / ADOLPHUS SIMMONS; SOUTH EAST REAL SOUTH EAST REALTY LLC; ADOLPHUS SIMMONS
P92093458 / SUPPLEMENTAL
55 M ST SE   
09/11/14 
HINES GLOBAL REIT 55 M STREET LLC / DANIEL O WHITE
E1408953 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
09/15/14 
SQUARE 743 INC. / SAM HOLLEN RAMCO OF DC INC.
TL1400150 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR TENANT LAYOUT OF 6TH FLOOR OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS FURNITURE MEP AND LIFE SAFETY. REGUS 2429
   
09/20/14 
SQUARE 743 INC SQUARE 743 INC / KATE MITCHELL; SQUARE 743 INC SQUARE 743 INC; ROBERT HUNTER
AR53284155 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/14 
SQUARE 743 INC / BERNARD D SASSER
E1409418 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/29/14 
SQUARE 743 INC. 100 M ST SE / PAUL THIEBERGER; SQUARE 743 INC 100 M ST SE; PAUL THIEBERGER
P83348948 / SUPPLEMENTAL
901 M ST SE   
09/12/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400687 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
1201 M ST SE   
09/12/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400686 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
0 N ST SE   
09/10/14 
SNALLYGASTER / ERIK BERGMAN
TN1400195 / CONSTRUCTION
SPECIAL EVENT SNALLYGASTER 1 10X40 TENT 1 20X90 TENT 2 20X160 TENT 1 30X15 STAGE TENT TEMPORARY GENERATOR
   
09/10/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / JAMES A. WILLIAMS
E1408914 / SUPPLEMENTAL
800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/17/14 
NEW JERSEY AT H LLC / COLIN CLARK
B1408553 / CONSTRUCTION
CONSTRUCTION OF A 11 STORY 336 UNIT APARTMENT BUILDING WITH FIRST FLOOR RETAIL AND THREE BELOW GRADE LEVELS FOR PARKING GARAGE PER BZA # 18619 GRANTED ON 9 / 24 / 13 WITH CONDITION: SCREENING OF THE PARKING ADJACENT TO H ST.--- SPECIFICALLY SHEETS 6 AND 7 OF EXHIBIT 23 - PLANS TO INCLUDE MECHANICAL PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL WORK.
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/25/14 
880 NEW JERSEY AVENUE LLC / JOHN H THOMSON
E1409407 / SUPPLEMENTAL
25 POTOMAC AVE SE   
09/26/14 
KEVIN SCHAAR MRP RESIDENTIAL / GEORGE KING MORETRENCH AMERICAN CORP
SB1400408 / CONSTRUCTION
DRILL AND INSTALL 106- 2 INCH WELLPOINTS IN 6 INCH BOREHOLE 25 FEET BAGS 4- 6 INCH WELLS IN 12 INCH BOREHOLE 40 FEET BAGS AND 2- 2 INCH OBSERVATION WELLS IN 6 INCH BOREHOLE 20 FEET BAGS. WELLPOINTS DRILLED BY DUAL-ROTERY USING CLEAN WATER. WELLS DRILLLED BY MUD-ROTARY DRILLING. SEE PROVIDED MORETRENCH WORK PLAN AND DRILLING SUMMARY."
300 TINGEY ST SE   
09/11/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / CHRIS WING
B1407179 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR ALTERATION FOR NEW UNLEASHED BY PETCO STORE.
   
09/13/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LIC FC BOILERMAKER LIC / DENNIS STUBBS; FC BOILERMAKER FC BOILERMAKER LIC; DENNIS STUBBS
P24303627 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/18/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC /
P1408685 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/18/14 
CHRIS WING / SHANDI COBB; CHRIS WING; CHARLES CLYNES
AR65033933 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/14 
FC BOILERMAKER LLC / LOUIS N ROBINSON
E1409412 / 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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