For, oh, about 14 years now, people have been asking me when the 1st Street SE facade of Nationals Park
might ever be "activated," as the kids say. Well, I might place a bet on that time finally arriving.
The Washington Business Journal reported late last week
that there are now plans by the team for a 35,000-square-foot "entertainment venue" attached to the stadium--an actual addition, not just opening some eateries in the existing ground-floor retail spaces--as seen in these first renderings:
It *could* be a space for a sportsbook, a notion which the team has said it is "exploring." But in the meantime, it is "expected to offer three restaurants: one white tablecloth restaurant just shy of 2,800 square feet, and the two others, and the main and mezzanine levels, totaling nearly 19,000 square feet--and 742 seats." There would also be a "large main bar" on the ground floor.
The Nationals would be the developer, and would pay for the "expected to be substantial" construction costs, except for the $2.6 million that Events DC has contracted to contribute--if the council allows the contract to move forward. (Why Events DC? Because back when it was the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, the ballpark's zoning order required DCSEC to build 36,000 square feet of "retail, services, entertainment or arts uses" at the ballpark, of which only about 11,000 square feet has been completed.)
The Nats would also get to keep all the revenue from the space.
The 1st and Potomac intersection, after being a pretty lonely spot for the first years of the ballpark's life, is now reaping the rewards of the outdoor bars at Dacha and the Salt Line, along with there now being actual residents living along Potomac Avenue, in Dock 79 (and the Maren
before too much longer).
Will it happen? Will it end up looking like this? Will there be betting? We Shall See.
And, just for the fun of it, here's what the angles depicted in the two drawings looked like Before the Ballpark, in February 2006. Truly. I'm not kidding.