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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Aug 23, 2010
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2 Blog Posts

Today was the day that the city's Alcohol Beverage Control board was to have had its hearing on a liquor license for Harry's, the new "upscale wine and spirits" store looking to open on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, SE, in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey. However, there were no protests filed, so all systems would appear to be "go" for this store to open. I talked with one of the owners, and she told me that they are looking toward somewhere in October-November time frame to open, and that construction work should start to be visible within a few weeks, and some "Coming Soon" banners should appear before long as well.
I wrote in detail about their plans for the store a few months ago--the owners are the same people who currently own Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE, and previously they ran the Harry's liquor store that was in Waterside Mall until about five years ago. The hours would be 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday (or possibly 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays), and closed on Sunday. They would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, and are very much wanting to emphasize that this is going to be a "community" store, with higher-end products, wine tastings, and other offerings beyond what people normally think of when they hear "liquor store." This is a similar path to that being taken by the owner of the soon-to-be Parkway Wine and Spirits at Second and K (on the site of the late lamented Little Red Building), which is also looking to open by the end of the year.
Whether the neighborhood in its current incarnation (and size) can support both stores plus Cornercopia remains to be seen, although each store's location could be said to have its own "sphere": Harry's will be positioned to serve the foot traffic to and from Capitol Hill/Capitol South along New Jersey Avenue as well as the residents from the three I Street apartment buildings; Parkway will have the Courtyard guests, nearby office workers, and Canal Park visitors; and Cornercopia will have its existing loyal clientele as well as the ever-growing Capitol Quarter population (and also Capitol Hill foot traffic and Canal Park-goers).
 

Here's a news item that people have been waiting on for a good long while--the official Canal Park groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Monday, August 30 Tuesday, August 31, at 10:45 am, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. Construction on the three-block publicly funded park is expected to take 12 to 14 months, so look for it to be finished in probably late 2011--just in time to get a lot of use out of the ice skating rink.
[Here's a slightly edited version of a description I wrote a few months ago] For those who haven't been following along, Canal Park will stretch from I to M streets SE along the two parts of Second Street--some people may know this location as the open field across from Subway and Five Guys, about three blocks northeast of Nationals Park. The southern block, across from the US Department of Transportation headquarters, will have a large plaza, a "significant water feature" that will transform into an ice skating rink in winter, and a large two-level pavilion that will be home to a cafe and observation area. The middle block has a rain garden, a children's play area, a small performance stage, and an open lawn. The northern block, the "most pastoral of the three," will have a large open lawn, and the slight grade of the block as it slopes upward toward I Street has allowed the designers to envision this as an informal amphitheater, for events like summer movie nights and whatnot. There is also a "linear rain garden" that runs along the eastern edge of the park's three blocks. (Note that K and L streets will still be open to traffic, though there will be well-marked crosswalks.)
If you want to know more, visit the park's official web site. Or my page, if you want to see lots of photos of schoolbuses from the old days. And this report from the National Capital Planning Commission goes deep into the design, if you want to know *still* more. And you can read all my old Canal Park blog posts, back to the beginning, to relive the long road to this groundbreaking.
This groundbreaking will be just a week before the opening of the neighborhood's other new signature open space, the Yards Park, just a few blocks to the south, along the Anacostia River.
UPDATED: The groundbreaking has shifted by one day, to Tuesday, August 31.
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