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The doors open officially on Thursday (Oct. 18) at 9 am, but on Monday night there was a preview party to whet the neighborhood's appetite for its newest tenant, the "South Capitol Hill" (#SoCHill) Whole Foods at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and H Street, SE.
This has been a looooooooong time in coming--just a smidge over 10 years, to be exact. While I could write all sorts of words about all of the store's offerings--the coffee and juice bar, the wine bar, the local foods, the large prepared foods section, the fish and cheese mongering, and much more--I think soon enough everyone will be able to see it for themselves, and so I'll just be content with slapping these photos up for about 60 hours of pining.
Except to mention the quinoa. There's quinoa. Lots of quinoa.
Comments (30)
More posts: Agora/Whole Foods, Retail, wholefoods
 

If an official Twitter account retweets an unofficial Twitter account, I guess that's confirmation, so it can be reported that Wiseguy Pizza is opening at Canal Park (200 M St., SE) today, Oct. 2, at noon. Eat_DC reports that coffee and pastries will come soon, while the Gelato portion of the venture will arrive in the spring. I hope they are ready for the lunchtime rush that will greet them today, especially with the weather so beautiful.
(Great. Now I'm hungry.)
A few other items:
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE: WUSA reports on the first of last week's public meetings about the new Douglass Bridge. DDOT's program manager says that they are already about 25 percent done with the project already. "He added in the next six months, locals should expect to see work begin on the construction of two new traffic ovals that will be placed at the base of each side of the new bridge. After that, the formation of the bridge's new arches should begin to form."
* STEADFAST MOVE: Local goods offerer Steadfast Supply is moving this week from its Boilermaker Shops location on Tingey Street to the old EVO Furniture space in the Foundry Lofts building on Water Street, across from Ice Cream Jubilee. It is closed for the move and is expected to open in the new space on Oct. 5.
* CHEESESTEAKS: Washingtonian reports that the mystery fast-casual restaurant inside Whole Foods is going to be Philly Wing Fry, from chef Kwame Onwuachi. Cheesesteaks, crispy chicken, waffle fries, and whatnot. "Unlike Kaz Okochi, who’ll have a quick-grab sushi counter in the prepared foods section of the new shop, Onwuachi’s eatery is more like a full-blown restaurant with its own space and seating. Customers can order the full menu inside the store’s SoCap Wine Bar & Pub, which will pour 16 wines by the glass and a dozen draft beers (the shop itself will have seasonal teas and lemonades)."
And yes, I took a boatload of photos this weekend. They are already up on the site if you want to go hunting, but I'll be posting a status survey soon.
 

While waiting for further news about Wednesday afternoon's serious fire at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE, I thought I'd post this item, which people may not find of much interest:
"Whole Foods Market will open its new 35,000 square-foot South Capitol Hill store, located at 101 H St. SE Washington DC, at 9 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 18. The opening day festivities will include sampling and fun for all ages."
{Can I just say that I love that it's called the South Capitol Hill store?}
One interesting tidbit in the press release is the news that the store will be the "second location of DC-based Kaz Sushi Bistro." There's also plans for a "yet-to-be unveiled dining venue with mouthwatering selections from a DC local chef." That's alongside the "SoCap Wine Bar and Pub," which will offer "offer 16 wines by the glass and 12 beers on tap, with the ability to sip & shop."
There will also be a "full-service Allegro Espresso Bar with smoothies and self-serve draft cold-pressed juice, nitro coffee, tea on tap and build-your-own acai bowls." Not to mention prepared foods, expert butchers and fishmongers, a pasta bar and olive/antipasti bar, lots of beer and wine selections, and offerings from more than 100 local suppliers, including Ice Cream Jubilee.
The store will be open from 7 am to 10 pm daily.
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More posts: Agora/Whole Foods, Retail, wholefoods
 

With thanks to reader I.F. for the photo, may I present visual confirmation that Whole Foods is indeed still coming to the ground floor of WC Smith's Agora apartment building at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and H Street, SE.
I don't know a timetable, I know nothing more than this sign, but at least this should settle people's worries a bit.
We now return to our holiday weekend, already in progress.
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More posts: Agora/Whole Foods, Retail, wholefoods
 

FLASH
EXCLUSIVE
MUST CREDIT JDLAND
I would not want anyone to think I am not providing the news that is of utmost interest and importance, so please study the photo at right (click to enlarge) to confirm with your own lying eyes that work is now underway on the concrete slab at the bottom of the 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods hole. In other words, there's nowhere to go but up now.
You'll still have to wait until at least 2017 to get your quinoa, but this summer the view into the neighborhood from the freeway should be changing yet again.
This has been a JDLand Special Report. We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.
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More posts: Agora/Whole Foods, wholefoods
 

The week begins with the news that WC Smith is officially beginning construction this week on 800 New Jersey, the 336-unit apartment building just south of the Southeast Freeway and just north of the topped-out Park Chelsea.
And, in case you don't believe me, I have proof! Witness dirt being dug! A press release from WC Smith officially announcing the start of the $87 million construction project says that pile driving operations will be getting underway this week.
But of course the excitement in the neighborhood surrounding this project isn't for the arrival of still more residential units--it's for the building's 35,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, which will be home to a long-sought Whole Foods after the building is completed in late 2016.
And, just like with its sibling to the south, 800 NJ's construction will include the construction and opening of a "new" street between 2nd and New Jersey--this time it will be H Street, running from just north of 200 I over to New Jersey just south of the freeway.
This is the second of three residential buildings on the block, with a third, 393-unit building fronting 2nd Street to follow. Residents in all three buildings will be able to use the facilities in every building, giving them "unparalleled access" to club rooms, game rooms, rooftop pools, an indoor lap pool, exercise facilities, dog walk areas, a demonstration kitchen and the 15,000 square foot courtyard.
As for the Park Chelsea, having been topped out a few weeks ago, work continues, with the bricking of the exterior being the next obvious milestone now underway.
My camera got a tour of the Park Chelsea this afternoon, and everyone better appreciate the 12 flights of stairs I walked up to get some of these pictures. (I do and I do and I do for you people.) It is expected to open in Spring 2015.
 

* TEETER AND VIDA: At last week's BID meeting, Michael Stevens said that Forest City would soon be "handing the keys" to Harris Teeter to begin their build out at the north end of Twelve12. And apparently the Vida Fitness space on the south end of the block will be turned over very soon to its tenants as well. Vida is looking at a summer opening, and Teeter in the fall. And leasing for the apartments themselves should start this spring.
* WHOLE FOODS: Meanwhile, at that other grocery store/residential site, I'm told that some initial infrastructure work is already underway (probably hard to really differentiate it with all the work going on at the Park Chelsea next door). The plan is still for 800 New Jersey/Whole Foods to officially get underway this spring, probably in March (which so often is the month that a developer's thoughts turn to excavation).
* A VIEW OF THE PARK: And, speaking of the Park Chelsea, I can now offer this high-speed photo of the construction from a different vantage point from usual (and no, I didn't walk up onto the freeway):
Of course, this view of the Park Chelsea will only last until 800 New Jersey starts sprouting in the spot in between this construction and the freeway.
* FREEWAY VISTAS: It's been a while since I've updated my skyline-from-the-freeway images, but I did get them this weekend. I would suggest taking a look at the whole lot, but this is probably the best comparison, of January 2005 to the present:
At center of the new image is the River Parc residential building speeding along next to Velocity. But these two don't even tell the entire story of the eight years that passed between them--check out the complete lineup of images from this angle to see the other buildings that went up since 2005 but are now obscured.
But really, check out all the before-and-afters I've taken from the freeway at South Capitol over the past 14 years, and click on the See All Photos of This Angle icons to see the progressions.
* THE CRAZY AUNT AND HER SLIDES: Sunday was the 11th anniversary of that fateful drive around the neighborhood that resulted in some photos on my web site, and then yadda yadda, here we are. So of course I have to point you to those pictures. (Though yes, technically I took my first photos of the area in fall 2000, but those were on bad film and I didn't even rediscover them until 2004.)
***UPDATE***: Adding on to this post with the news that Bluejacket and its much-touted head brewer Megan Parisi have parted ways, according to the Post.
 

I guess Whole Foods figured that waiting another month for an official announcement after yesterday's flurry of news was a little unnecessary, because this morning there is an official release--and a new rendering, with all the appropriate signage (click to embiggen). The under-construction Park Chelsea is visible to the right, so this view is of the corner of New Jersey and H.
The William C. Smith release:
"Washington, DC - Developer WC Smith has signed Whole Foods Market to anchor the retail portion of its $443 million development in the District’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The 36,000 square foot store will be located on the first floor of the second of three residential buildings the company has in development on New Jersey Avenue SE, two blocks from the Navy Yard Metro station.
"'We are delighted to welcome Whole Foods to the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood,' said Chris Smith, chairman and CEO of WC Smith. 'Their dedication to healthy living and commitment to community dovetails with our mission of creating green, sustainable communities for residents of the District of Columbia.'
"The first component of the new development, a 432-unit luxury apartment building known as Park Chelsea, is currently under construction with a projected fall 2014 delivery date. Construction on the second building is scheduled to begin early in 2014, with a 2017 opening of the Whole Foods Market and delivery of 336 residential units. The residential units will offer 10 foot ceilings and a commanding view of the Capitol and the monumental skyline. Completion of the third Class A residential building will bring the unit total to over 1,100 for the development.
"All of the buildings will provide on-site parking and will be highly amenitized with club rooms, rooftop pools, and exercise facilities. Additionally, each site will offer a unique amenity space for use by residents of all three buildings. Those amenities include an indoor lap pool, an all-purpose gymnasium, a demonstration kitchen, and a 15,000 square foot courtyard. The development is within walking distance of both the Navy Yard and Capitol South Metro stations and adjacent to newly created Canal Park with water features, ice skating rink, public art, programmed activities, and Park Tavern restaurant."
UPDATE: The separate joint release with Whole Foods is a little long to cut-and-paste, but there's this quote:
"'Washingtonians asked and we listened,” said Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic regional president. “People who live and work in Southeast have been requesting a Whole Foods Market for some time. We are thrilled about finding the right fit given the combination of factors that go into deciding on a new location.'"
 

A mere 11 years after the notion was first floated, there is apparently finally a signed contract to bring a Whole Foods grocery store to 800 New Jersey Avenue SE. Though the chain isn't expected to make an official announcement until next month, a representative of WC Smith told Monday night's ANC 6D meeting of the news.
Note that the store won't be at the Park Chelsea, WC Smith's apartment building currently under construction at 880 New Jersey. This will be a new apartment building just to the north, running along the to-be-rebuilt H Street between New Jersey and 2nd, immediately south of the freeway. It's expected to have 330ish units and all the usual amenities. But with construction not currently expected to start until spring 2014, and the timeline of the buildouts of both the building and the interior work for the store, you probably won't be buying your quinoa there before 2017.
This is a deal that has started and stopped more than once, the last time around in 2011 when Smith looked for an $8 million tax break for the project, an idea which died a few months later.
The neighborhood's other grocery store, Harris Teeter, is currently under construction at the Twelve12 apartment project in the Yards, and is now expected to open in the fall of 2014.
 

The Washington Post is reporting that developer William C. Smith is "no longer seeking" a proposed $8 million tax abatement to bring Whole Foods to a planned 375-unit apartment building at 800 New Jersey Ave., SE, and that in fact the news coverage of the proposal may have killed the deal altogether.
The article quotes a statement from Whole Foods saying that the company "was not involved in any tax break or lease agreement negotiations" with WC Smith, and Michael Stevens of the BID is quoted as saying "I used to know that Whole Foods wanted to be in the neighborhood. After that article, I don't know anymore."
Whether the entire Whole Foods deal is truly dead or there's just some steam being let off is not 100 percent clear in the article, though it quotes an anonymous source as saying that Whole Foods could still end up somewhere in the area and is "fielding entreaties from other developers."
This is/was not the only grocery store planned for Near Southeast, with Forest City including supermarket space in the apartment building that it has planned for 401 M St., SE at the Yards, which could be getting underway late this year or early in 2012. (Standard statement whenever mentioning this: it's long been reported that Harris Teeter will be occupying that space, but neither Forest City nor the grocery chain have ever publicly announced a deal.)
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More posts: Retail, WC Smith/Square 737, wholefoods
 
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