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Tuesday Tidbits: Very Late Wednesday Edition
Apr 2, 2014 10:46 PM
* CSX I: Eleanor Holmes Norton tells USDOT to get moving: "I ask that you help ensure the prompt release of the Final EIS for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project so that the surrounding community is aware of the preferred alternative, any impacts this project may have on them, and any mitigation and benefits to the surrounding community."
* CSX II: ANC 6B writes to Mayor Gray: "We have serious concerns about the VAT project proposed in the draft environmental impact statement, and we urge you to ensure those concerns are adequately addressed before the District issues the requisite approvals for the project."
* POCKET CHANGE: The Wall Street Journal reports that "Investors who own the storied Hawk ā€˜nā€™ Dove bar and other Capitol Hill eating spots owe more than $9 million to D.C. restaurateur Xavier Cervera and his partners who sold the restaurants to them in late 2012." An earlier WSJ piece gives a wider view of the mess of financing this all appears to be.
* FOR THE RECORD: In Precinct 131 (Near Southeast), Muriel Bowser received 40 percent of the vote, Tommy Wells 30 percent, and Vince Gray 24 percent. And in the Ward 6 council race, Charles Allen beat Darrel Thompson 57-43. A grand total of 444 people cast ballots out of the 2,085 registered voters in the precinct. So, yay to 21.29 percent of you!
* BLUEJACKET AND BASEBALL: It seems like the brewery has already been here forever, but Bluejacket is about to embark on its first season of providing refreshments to Nats fans. They've announced that they will be "tailgating" on their patio at 10 am Friday for the season opener, and that their new outdoor grill will be open for business "weather permitting, all season long Thursdays through Sundays from 11 am until 10 pm and on all game days beginning two hours before the first pitch."
* SWEET!: Sweetgreen has gotten its tenant layout permit to begin the buildout of its space in Twelve12, on 4th Street across from Bluejacket.
* THROWBACK THURSDAY: I did a bit of purging in my office over the weekend, and found at least two museum-worthy items (here and here). That's in addition to the Canal Park groundbreaking shovel I still trip over on a regular basis.

Park Tavern, Willie's, Other Cervera Restaurants Declare Bankruptcy
Mar 29, 2014 8:32 AM
The DC Twitterverse lit up Friday night when the Wall Street Journal (?) reported the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Barracks Row Entertainment, the company behind the slew of neighborhood restaurants opened by Xavier Cervera, including the revamped Hawk & Dove, Lola's, Molly Malone's, Boxcar, Senart's, The Chesapeake Room, and Pacifico Cantina.
Barracks Row Entertainment is also behind the Park Tavern at Canal Park, and the will-it-ever-open Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards, and those two entities are part of the bankruptcy as well. The filing says that the company has "between $1 million and $10 million in debt."
What does it all mean? I guess we will just have to see....

Tuesday Tidbits: Mmm, Mmm, Good Edition
Mar 11, 2014 3:58 PM
Goodness, these piled up all of a sudden. Let's start with the food and drink-related items:
* Strolling by the long-in-the-works Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops over the weekend, I saw that flat screen TVs are now up on the walls. I imagine they are dreaming of being open by Opening Day.
* Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed now has its tenant layout permit approved, so work should be underway there.
* PoPville reports that Hill Country's attempts to open a temporary location on Tingey Plaza behind USDOT haven't worked out.
And, on the non-digestible front:
* SWill reports on ANC 6D's newest commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, who is filling the 6D02 vacancy left by Ed Kaminski. A resident of Southwest, Stacy will also be representing areas east of South Capitol, including Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower, and Nats Park (and River Parc, before long).
* DDOT has released its draft Request for Proposals to the short-list finalists for the first two phases of the South Capitol Street project, which include building the new bridge and also rebuilding the interchange of I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
* The new owners of the lot at South Capitol and N just north of Nats Park have withdrawn the pending zoning case for the site, which predated the property's recent sale. The previous ownership group had long been working on an office project, but in its withdrawal letter 1244 South Capitol Residential LLC says it is "studying development of the property for residential uses," and that it plans "to submit a new application for Capitol Gateway review in the near future."
* Outside the boundaries, but Near Southeast residents may still be interested in the looming start of the huge Wharf project on the Southwest Waterfront, with a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for March 19. Here's the Post's story on the new development, along with a photo gallery (which might seem to have a somewhat familiar style) of the current waterfront, before it's gone.

Willie's Gets a Building Permit; Other Permits of Note
Mar 26, 2013 12:07 PM
Now that the Park Tavern looks just about ready to open (and the grapevine tells me it got its liquor license on Monday morning), it looks like Xavier Cervera is turning his attention to the project we have known as Willie's Brew and Que at the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards.
According the latest batch of approved building permits, a building permit has been issued (to Williams Willies Sports, technically), for a restaurant with 109 seats and 156 occupancy load.
So now everyone can start keeping an eye out for any work in the space on the Boilermaker Shops' western end, on Tingey at 3rd Street. (The photo above is from a visit I made to the Willie's spot back in September.)
Other items worth noting in the latest permitting blitz:
* The Park Tavern has gotten its permit for a 75-seat summer garden.
* Gordon Biersch's outdoor seating has been reduced from a 94-seat area to a 60-seat summer garden.
Then there's this additional tidbit, which needs to have a glaring "CONJECTURE!" label attached to it. But a few weeks ago EYA got a soil boring permit for 908 2nd Street, SE, which is the empty parking lot owned by the Housing Authority between I and K and between Canal Park and EYA's now-completed Capitol Quarter townhouse project. I have heard rumors for a while now that there's been talk of another deal between EYA and DCHA, though not for townhouses this time around. The empty lot where the soil borings took place is part of the Capper Hope VI footprint, and the plans have always been for a six-story, 147-unit mixed-income building on that site. Is something in the works? All together now: We shall see!

Some New Details on Park Tavern, Willie's Brew and Que
Jan 31, 2012 10:03 PM
At a meeting of ANC 6D's ABC committee on Tuesday night, we got some new details on two restaurants coming to Near Southeast in 2012, the Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew and Que in the Boilermaker Shops at the Yards. Both are from Xavier Cervera of Lola's/Molly Malone's/Boxcar/Hawk n Dove/etc. fame, and Cervera was in attendance to answer questions from the committee. Let's go to the bullet points, shall we?
Park Tavern - This casual restaurant in the pavilion on the south block of Canal Park near M Street is aiming to be the city's first LEED Gold restaurant, thanks to a green roof, solar panels, and the various stormwater management aspects built into the park itself. And:
* There will be fewer than 100 seats inside the glass-and-steel structure, but outside Cervera expects another 75-125 seats, both in a private "summer garden" area by the park's skating rink/water feature and in a sidewalk cafe on the eastern side, along 2nd Place. Because the building is long and narrow, Cervera said that all of the inside tables will be along the windows. There will be additional space on the roof, where visitors can go to look out over the park or walk through the big light cube, but Cervera isn't planning service up there except for private functions.
* The menu will include Neopolitan pizzas and flatbread offerings along with seafood, steaks, and more, along with full liquor service; Cervera is asking for a CR license, with hours until 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 3 am Friday-Saturday.
* The restaurant is planning to offer breakfast service beginning at 8 am, though Cervera sounded a little skeptical of whether there will be enough business to support it. (Maybe via Congressional-type breakfast business meetings?)
* June 15 is the target opening date for both the park and the Tavern.
Willie's Brew and Que - A few blocks to the south, Cervera is waiting for Forest City to finish construction on the Boilermaker Shops renovation so that he (and other tenants) can then begin their build-outs. It will occupy the western end of the building, at 3rd Street (seen at right), where the full two-story space to the roof will be open. Details:
* There will be 230 seats inside the restaurant, with another 125 or so at outdoor tables in front of the building at 3rd Street.
* It will have "live" barbeque: Cervera said that he has put a lot of money into the kitchen, with charbroilers and custom-made smokers to churn out authentic North Carolina barbeque.
* And there will be plenty of booze to go with the food, as Cervera will be requesting a CT ("tavern") liquor license, mainly, he says, because with 81 home Nats games a year two blocks away at the ballpark, he can't envision being able to meet the requirements of a CR license where 47 percent of sales must be food. (Tavern licenses don't usually go over very well with ANCs, so this will be interesting to watch.) Full operating hours until 2 am Sunday-Thursday and 3 am Friday-Saturday will be requested on the license, along with an "entertainment endorsement" to allow live music inside until 11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 1 am Friday-Saturday and recorded music on the patio. (The entertainment endorsement discussion for both locations sidetracked into whether dancing will be part of the endorsement, with Cervera bemused at the notion of having to make people stop dancing if the music has moved them: "This isn't 'Footloose.' ")
* Cervera has no opening date for Willie's, but he says he expects Forest City to release the space to him for build-out within 2-3 months.
The discussion surrounding Willie's showed the committee members being a bit hesitant to make decisions for this restaurant that then will set the standard for the other Boilermaker Shops tenants who aren't yet applying for their liquor licenses, such the brewery from the Churchkey team. The issue of noise, especially from the outdoor seating space, and how it will effect residents of the Foundry Lofts across the street was brought up, though 6D commissioner David Garber said that no one is moving into this area without knowing that it's going to be an entertainment destination of sorts. Cervera, in arguing his cause, said that he fully expects himself and the Churchkey operation to be "good stewards" of the new nightlife in the neighborhood. The first three years of operations will be "painful fiscally," he said, but they want to be here first and be good tenants.
In the end, for both operations, the committee voted to recommend approval of the license applications to the full ANC, subject to the successful negotiation of a voluntary agreement between the commission and Cervera. (Note that neither liquor license application has actually been filed yet, but Cervera says he expects all paperwork to be completed by early next week.) The full ANC could take these applications up at its Feb. 13 business meeting, if papers have been appropriately shuffled by then.

More Beer News! License Process Starting for Two Eateries
Jan 25, 2012 3:38 PM
If yesterday's news about the brewery coming to the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards wasn't enough, today I can pass along that the liquor licensing process looks to be getting started for Xavier Cervera's two upcoming locations in Near Southeast, the Canal Park Tavern planned for the pavilion at Canal Park and the Willie's Brew and Que sports bar also at the Boilermaker Shops.
Both have been added to the agenda for ANC 6D's ABC Committee next meeting, on Jan. 31 at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Rec Center. Hopefully at this meeting there will be some details on both places (seating capacity, hours, when they expect to open, general menu concepts, etc.).
With the Tavern expected to open along with Canal Park sometime this summer and WBQ probably not until late fall or beyond, this is a pretty early start to the ABC process, so don't get your taste buds primed just yet. But all evidence of forward progress is worth noting.



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