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Some quick shots from today of the other projects underway at the Yards, in case a new dry cleaners just isn't exciting enough for you.
The new exterior glass is now almost completely on the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park, where Osteria Morini and Agua 301 are slated to be tenants when it opens later this year (along with Forest City Washington on the second floor):
A before-and-after that can't possibly be resisted:
Facing the Anacostia:
Meanwhile, over at the Twelve12 apartment building project on 4th Street (more popularly known as the Harris Teeter/Vida Fitness building), the progress isn't quite as showy, unless you're a construction nerd and you know what the arrival of a tower crane means:
Yes, it means that vertical construction is not far off. The building is expected to be completed in 2014. And in case you want one more shot of the hole in the ground:
See the project pages for the Lumber Shed and Twelve12 for renderings and additional details.
 

The Boilermaker Shops at the Yards now has its first operating retail tenant, with Wells Dry Cleaners having at last opened its doors to the public. (Note that I avoided any "it's about to open" posts, having learned my lesson the hard way too many times in the past!)
It's open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 6 pm on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays. It's right next door to the Willie's Brew and 'Que space, much closer to 3rd Street than to 4th.
(Fun signage, too! Check out another view of it from the side, to see the smaller sign sticking out for easy reading when walking the long length of the building.)
Comments (2)
More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, Retail, The Yards
 

A press release sent out this morning says that "fast-growing international chicken restaurant" Nando's Peri-Peri will be coming to the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, with an expected opening in June of this year. It will be the restaurant's 12th US location, including the one on 7th Street NW in Chinatown and eight others in the DC area.
Nando's would join planned restaurants Bluejacket brewery, Buzz Bakery, and Willie's Brew and 'Que, along with opening-any-second-now Wells Cleaners at the Boilermaker Shops.
If you haven't tried it, "Nando's is known worldwide for its succulent Peri-Peri chicken, marinated for 24 hours, flame-grilled to perfection, and basted to the customer’s preferred flavor and spice."
The press release did not come from Forest City, but they have confirmed the lease.
(And props to reader Jaybird who had this rumor a few months ago, and mentioned it in a recent JDLand comment thread.)
 

Within the past few days, readers have sent tweets with photos of brewing equipment being delivered to soon-to-be-Gordon Biersch at 100 M and inside the space at the Boilermaker Shops that will become Bluejacket.
No official timeframe on when either of these restaurants will open, though a Biersch employee told the Post that he "expects the new Biersch branch to be operating in time for the Craft Brewers Conference in March and the Nats' home opener in April."
As for the other beer joint on tap for the neighborhood (see what I did there?), there doesn't appear to be any action so far in the Willie's Brew and 'Que space at the Boilermaker Shops, but with owner Xavier Cervera's long-in-the-works redo of the Hawk 'n' Dove reportedly about to debut, perhaps he'll then be able to shift resources both to Willie's and to the Park Tavern at Canal Park.
UPDATE, 1/17: This Esquire interview with Bluejacket bigshot Greg Engert says that the bar will open "in May."
 

Forest City Washington is announcing today that a "modern Mexican" restaurant to be called Agua 301 will be coming to the Lumber Shed building at the Yards next summer.
The 3,600-square-foot restaurant, to be located on the Shed's southwest corner (nearest to the Yards Park's pedestrian bridge) is coming from the creators/owners of Zest Bistro on Barracks Row, and takes its name from the address of the Lumber Shed, at 301 Water St., SE. The menu is being developed by Zest's executive chef, Dot Steck.
The Lumber Shed is already the announced location of Italian restaurant Osteria Morini (on the building's southeastern corner) and has spaces still to lease for three additional restaurants.
The press release from Forest City also says that Bluejacket and Buzz Bakery are still expected to open in the Boilermaker Shops in the "first quarter" of 2013, with Willie Brew and 'Que opening there "by spring." UPDATE: But one thing I am noticing that isn't mentioned in the press release: any reference to Huey's 24-7 Diner, which was one of the originally announced restaurants for the Boilermaker Shops. Hmmm. Anyone close by want to check and see if that banner has been pulled down from the Boilermaker facade?
 

At a public meeting on Thursday night, Yards developer Forest City Washington presented very early plans for the portion of the DC Water/WASA site on 1st Street that the company is currently working to secure the development rights for.
While people are always interested in projects for more residential buildings with ground-floor retail, it was the plans for a movie theater on the site that drew a decent-sized crowd to the meeting, and the attendees learned that Showplace Icon is the heretofore unnamed operator that Forest City is currently in negotiations with.
It would be a 16-screen theater with more than 2,000 seats on N Place SE (see my quickie map for placement in regards to Nats Park and the main WASA pumping station), and Icon's more upscale amenities and approach to movie-going were extensively touted, including all reserved seating, VIP areas in each theater with extra-wide seats and person tables, wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor digital screens, no on-screen pre-show advertising, fresh-not-frozen food prepared on site, and their "lobby lounge," with about 100 seats and 21-and-over-only admittance.
But it was Icon's "policies to encourage courteous behavior" that seemed to defuse the "ZOMG GALLERY PLACE" concerns about the theater that had been cropping up on neighborhood mailing lists and elsewhere over the past few weeks. The theaters will not allow children under 17 after 7 pm without an adult, no one is admitted after the movie starts, no children under seven are admitted to PG-13 or R movies after 7 pm, and the adult admission price also applies to children.
Bob Gallivan of Kerasotes Showplace Theaters said that the company's theaters in Chicago and suburban Minneapolis are "bringing people back to the movies who haven't been for awhile" thanks to these policies, because they are trying to "create a civilized atmosphere." ("We're not a babysitting service," he also said.)
Thanks to being an all-digital theater, the venue would also be able to offer other content, such as simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, sporting events, and other events. And the theater would also have some small retail and maybe artist space along N Place.
As for the rest of the plans for the site, along 1st Street across from Nationals Park there would be two residential buildings, totalling 625ish units, each with ground-floor retail; and the northern one of the two would incorporate the brick/industrial facade of the existing DC Water fleet management building on 1st between N Place and O (seen at left).
O Street would be re-established from 1st east to the new 1 1/2 Place, and Potomac Avenue would be extended east from 1st as well to 1 1/2 Place.
Forest City's planners envision a "lower-scale" retail experience along 1 1/2 Place (smaller "eclectic" retailers, not "low-end"), with more "large-scale" offerings long 1st thanks to the size of the street and its location across from the ballpark. All told this area of the Yards would have about 50,000 square feet of retail.
Diamond Teague Park would also be expanded somewhat to the north of its current footprint, up to the new Potomac Avenue. It's possible that Potomac Avenue and the lower part of 1 1/2 Place could be closed at times for street festivals, etc.
As for any timeline on all of this, first Forest City has to actually acquire the land from DC Water and the city, and then has to complete the negotiations with Showplace Icon. (The fact that Forest City has even named Icon before executing the lease is a pretty big departure for the company, and shows an understanding of the need to clearly define what sort of theater experience would be on the boards.) Then the project has to go through the zoning process (it will be a PUD), and then get building permits. Forest City "hopes" to begin the approximately two years of construction for the theater in 2014, but that's a lot of ducks to get in a row first. (The residential buildings would come later.)
Audience members had questions about security (Icon uses off-duty police in Chicago, and Forest City would have its own security as well), types of films that would be offered (art-house and blockbusters), worries that the Lobby Lounge might become a club (not an issue, Icon says), and how traffic generated by the development would co-exist with 40,000 fans one block away at Nationals Park 81 nights a year (or more!). Because it's still early in the process, there weren't concrete answers to some of the concerns, but this project still has to go before ANC 6D and the Zoning Commission before being approved, so there will be plenty of opportunities for additional detail to be insisted upon.
Should I mention again that this is all still subject to both the DC Water land deal and the lease with Icon getting finalized?
Much more to come on this, obviously. And, for people who weren't at the meeting who didn't get to see any of the EARLY CONCEPTUAL NOT FINALIZED drawings, I have asked for at least the EARLY CONCEPTUAL NOT FINALIZED rendering of the glass-walled theater exterior to post, and hopefully before too long Forest City will be ready to share it.
 

This Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 pm, there is a public meeting being hosted by ANC commissioner David Garber about the proposed movie theater at the Yards.
Yards developer Forest City Washington will be there, plus their planners and architects. Also in attendance will be what Forest City took pains to emphasize to me is the prospective theater operator, because no deals have been signed, and because (as we all found out with Vida Fitness), Forest City never confirms a specific tenant until a lease has been executed. (They're not even naming who this prospective operator is in advance of the meeting.)
There will be some draft images of potential designs for discussion and feedback, but this is earlier in the process than these sorts of presentations are often given, so don't be looking for firm plans just yet.
As I wrote when this news first broke in September, developer Forest City Washington is working on bringing a theater operator offering an "elevated experience" to land currently controlled by DC Water along First Street SE between Nationals Park and the Yards, along with residential and retail. But the deal with DC Water for the site is still not finalized, let alone the theater lease, so none of this is happening next week.
The meeting is at 200 I Street SE (aka 225 Virginia Avenue, aka the old Post Plant, aka the old Star Plant) at 7 pm.
 

The Washington Business Journal confirms today what I've been chasing and rumoring for just over a year now, that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch is indeed coming to 100 M, the office building on the northeast corner of 1st and M, SE, one block north of Nationals Park.
No timetable was announced, but you'd think Opening Day 2013 would certainly be a goal. (Then again, we once thought that Opening Day 2012 would be a goal.)
The building permit application I saw a few weeks ago that I assumed was Biersch indicated the restaurant will have up to 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors.
Comments (4)
More posts: 100 M, biersch, Restaurants/Nightlife, Retail
 

It took a loooong time to get past the unconfirmed stage (and even included an oopsie cat-out-of-the-bag last year by some PR folks), but today Forest City Washington is finally officially announcing that Vida Fitness is coming to the south end of the Twelve12 apartment building, now under construction on 4th Street SE between M and Tingey in the Yards.
Also in the 28,000-square-foot facility will be Vida's "affiliated concepts" Bang Salon and Aura Spa, and will also feature Vida's Penthouse Pool Club and Lounge, shown in the above-right drawing and described as a "membership-only urban resort featuring a rooftop pool deck with city and riverfront views and a variety of poolside lounging options and amenities."
Twelve12, when completed in mid-2014, will also be home to the neighborhood's first grocery store, a 50,000-square-foot Harris Teeter located on the north end of the block at 4th and M, in addition to the building's 218 apartments. There is also still 10,000 square feet of as-yet-unleased retail space. It is across the street from the Boilermaker Shops retail pavilion, set to open in early 2013, and kitty corner from both the Foundry Lofts and what will be a new 325ish-unit apartment building on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey, expected to start construction in 2013.
Comments (9)
More posts: Retail, The Yards, Twelve12/Teeter/Yards
 

The cat got let out of the bag during a recent neighborhood walking tour (probably a bit sooner than desired) that Yards developer Forest City Washington is working on bringing a "high-quality theater operator" offering an "elevated experience" to land currently controlled by DC Water along First Street SE between Nationals Park and the Yards.
FCW tells me that it is still early in the process, that an overall deal with the city and DC Water for the land needs to be finalized first, but that if it all moves forward, "the theater operator would be new to DC and would offer a premium quality option that is differentiated by quality of design, food and customer service."
It's probably worth noting that Forest City was awarded the right to "enter into exclusive negotiations" for a six-acre portion of the larger then-WASA site by the now-defunct Anacostia Waterfront Corporation in December 2005, at a time when a development strategy was being formulated by Forest City, Western Development, Cordish, and Monument Realty for the "Ballpark District" (remember that?)
Forest City's plans for the DC Water site would also include residential and retail in addition to the theater, and with this site being close to the possibly-getting-started-next-year residential building and plaza at the foot of 1st Street that will be Florida Rock's first phase, the ballpark's eastern and southern sides would certainly begin to be "activated," even on the 280ish days of the year when the Nats aren't playing.
However, despite the oft-stated desire of residents to have a movie theater in Near Southeast, as well as the continued yearning for more development in general, there has been a bit of trepidation about this particular plan in some comments on a neighborhood mailing list, especially given that it could be a pretty large theater. Would it bring too much traffic, would it be too much of a draw for boisterous crowds--Gallery Place was mentioned a number of times as an example to avoid at all costs. For others, of course, the notion of a theater so close to home is exciting news, and a plan to be supported.
Forest City anticipates it will go before ANC 6D sometime this fall to brief the community on the plans and to get feedback.
Earlier this year, there was an item about Landmark Theatres wanting to open a second DC location, with the Yards being a possible destination (though city officials apparently were/are for something east of the river). However, Forest City's statement saying that the operator they are talking to "would be new to DC" seems to take Landmark out of the running, along with AMC and Regal, the two largest chains in the US.
 
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