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After weeks of not-especially-sly references to this in my comments threads, I can now report that national eats-and-brews-and-whatnot chain Buffalo Wild Wings is looking to take about 6,000 square feet of ground-floor space on the block of Half Street SE between the subway station entrance and Nationals Park.
A tenant layout permit for a restaurant in 55 M has recently been applied for, referencing an occupancy of 233 seats/260 total, but my understanding is that no lease agreement had yet been signed with the owners of the 55 M Street office building where the space is located.
If this all does come to fruition*, retail space that has sat empty for five-plus years while millions of people trekked past may be finally getting a tenant.
* Exercising my normal amount of caution, given the lack of a signed lease or official announcement.
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JES says: (6/11/15 11:51 AM)
Yay my favorite chain chicken purveyor.

Will this take up all the Half Street frontage, or are there still ore retail spaces in 55M?


JD says: (6/11/15 12:03 PM)
55 M was advertised as having 10,000 square feet of retail. Given that this would be 60% of that total, my guess is yes. But I don't know for sure.


Alex B. says: (6/11/15 12:26 PM)
Here's the Street Sense retail leasing brochure for 55 M:

link

They are showing two separate retail bays on Half street, but they could easily be combined.


JES says: (6/11/15 2:30 PM)
Who the heck is ever going to lease that back one? It fronts an alley.


JD says: (6/11/15 2:37 PM)
Eventually that will facing the "Monument Place" pedestrian only "street" that will separate 55 M from the Lynch Half Street stuff.

It's also possible that it would be right across from the drop-off point for a Lynch hotel, if that project ends up with one.

And it will also be across Cushing from a hotel.

Not saying it isn't a less-attractive spot, but eventually there will be foot traffic there.

As for BWW, I think it will just be in that larger of the two Half Street bays. The permit application for the restaurant talks about it being just under 6,000 square feet, so they wouldn't appear to need to combine both.


JD says: (6/11/15 2:38 PM)
Also, interesting that that leasing brochure, on page 4, doesn't break out the large potential BWW space in the right-hand column like it did the other three. Which would track with what I'm hearing, that this negotiation has been going on a looooooooong time.



202_cyclist says: (6/11/15 3:12 PM)
Thanks for the update. Should we be excited for this or indifferent? Bluejacket, Gordon Biersch, and Justin's all likely have better beer offerings and I can't imagine the wings are better than Bonchon.

Also, on your inventory of building permits, I saw there was a new permit for the building next to the oft-delayed Brig, across from the Blue Castle. What is up with that?

Finally, with TOWER CRANE LIVE ACTION UPDATE 2015!!!, I spoke with one of the construction workers at 801 NJ Ave, and the crane should be installed at the end of the month for that site.


conngs0 says: (6/12/15 9:37 AM)
Even if I'm indifferent about Buffalo Wild Wings itself, I'm excited about the fact that they are moving into that spot by the Metro stop. For one thing, the emptiness surrounding that stretch from the Metro entrance to Nats Park (still) gives too many people the impression that nothing is happening in the neighborhood, so I'm encouraged by all of the development that's about to take place there. Second, while I prefer a few of the other nearby places to BWW, my view is that if BWW draws people away from my local favorites, then there will be more space at those destinations for me! Third, I'm indifferent about BWW, but it's not that bad - tons of TVs, cold beer, and all the unhealthy food one would want while watching football on the weekends!


202_cyclist says: (6/12/15 11:36 AM)
All good points, conngs0.


JD says: (6/12/15 11:42 AM)
I think anyone who is pondering freaking out over the "suburbanization" of the neighborhood with this one piece of news (like in the FB comment thread on this) needs to look more closely at the sort of local retail Forest City has tried very very hard to have (and that even the national chains aren't the suburban-y ones).

At yesterday's big Bisnow thing about the Capitol Riverfront and the Wharf, the SE panel--bigwigs from Forest City, WC Smith, MRP Realty, Grosvenor, and Skanska--all spoke about the need for "authentic" retail in this neighborhood. And that's a lot of big landowners with a lot of retail space in the pipeline.

I didn't actually bother to bring a notebook, because I thought it was just going to be a bunch of marketing schpiels, but it was actually very interesting. Bisnow's write-up:

link



conngs0 says: (6/12/15 11:57 AM)
Totally agree with you, JD. In a similar vein, I think it's just important to make sure that any retail that attempts to establish itself is well-suited to the neighborhood's needs. I imagine the zoning commission has a role to play there too. To that end, if a chain typically associated with the suburbs wants to occupy a space in the neighborhood, I don't necessarily have a problem with that so long as they adapt their operation accordingly, which would be in their business interest as well.


JD says: (6/12/15 12:07 PM)
Also, who else might be the sort of clientele for a BWW-type place? Say, out-of-towners who just want to eat somewhere familiar? And you've got three hotels within a stone's throw of this spot now under construction.

Not everyone who comes to visit a city wants to eat at somewhere local and hip every night. Sometimes after an exhausting day of traisping around the Mall in searing heat with whining kids, a place like BWW or Biersch or something is just *easier.*

There was some comment yesterday from one of the panelists about the arrival of new hotels helping to perk up interest from retailers. Because it starts to mean that more people will be there even when there isn't baseball.

Also, apparently Jan. 20 2017 is a big "deadline" date for hotels. Want to be ready for the inauguration!

The panelist from Skanska--the folks doing 99 M on the SW corner of 1st and M--said they have heavy interest for their retail space. And the MRP guy said that Dock 79 is talking to five or six restaurants, if I remember correctly.

The biggest surprise to me was that the panel agreed that interest in office space is really ticking up as well. Apparently the millennials want to work down here.



JES says: (6/12/15 12:09 PM)
The bottom line is that we're not going to escape chains. Not with all the space that still has yet to come on line in the area. We've done VERY well so far attracting non-chains and decent chains, like JD mentioned above.

And on a selfish personal note, I actually like B-dubs. As far as national chains go, it sure beats Applebee's, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Chili's, et.al. It's also a perfect fit for that particular block, and it'll be a familiar name that will attract a lot of game-goers next season.

Despite my personal hatred of the Fairgrounds, I think people underestimate the sheer number of people who go there. Once it's gone, the neighborhood bars are going to be even more slammed, and we need large, recognizable bars for people to gravitate to.


JD says: (6/12/15 12:16 PM)
The Bisnow thing was apparently by far their most-attended shindig ever--680 people came to Arena Stage at 8:30 in the morning for this two-hour two-panel discussion.



Alan says: (6/12/15 12:25 PM)
The Fairgrounds is a dump. But it's our dump and we're gonna miss it when it's gone.


JD says: (6/12/15 1:44 PM)
Reader reporting on Twitter that Banfield has opened today....


FedInExile says: (6/12/15 3:22 PM)
>JES says: (6/12/15 12:09 PM)
>Despite my personal hatred of the Fairgrounds...

How many times can I fit "You and me both!" in this comment box?

Hoo boy, there's nothing I'd rather see in my neighborhood (that I just paid high-six-figure $$$ to live in) than a pile of trashy old shipping containers on a flat asphalt lot...the sooner this dump is gone, the better. People are willing to settle for anything these days!

It's all due to the Wal-Mart phenomenon: "The worst service you will accept now will eventually become the best service you can get anywhere."


MJM says: (6/15/15 1:06 PM)
Speaking of the Fairgrounds the last of the Akridge signage was being taken down today. The good thing its days are numbered.

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