Still more retail potential at City Vista

During the frenzy of Safeway Grand Opening day I hinted at the additional space that is available for lease at City Vista.

With a little help from friends I’ve tracked down more details. There is just shy of 12000 square feet of retail space available for lease divided among 8 “bays”.

Bay C: 1500 sf
Bay G: 2178 sf
Bay H: 727 sf
Bay I: 697 sf
Bay J: 1672 sf
Bay K: 1653 sf
Bay L: 1732 sf
Bay M: 1728 sf

Some potential retailers may be able to work within the confine of one bay. Others may need to combine two or more adjacent bays to create a larger footprint. I believe that Bay C is the City Vista Sales office on 5th Street with the others on K Street. The entrance to the condominiums (475 K Street NW) creates a physical divide between several of the K Street bays – my guess is between bays H & I. If these assumptions are correct, then the maximum clustering of these bays would be 1500 sf, 2905 sf, and 7482 sf. For frame of reference, Nando’s Peri Peri on 7th Street NW is 3100 sf while more upscale downtown restaurants often hover around 8000 sf.

Downtown new construction is often linked at the hip with corporate chains that can afford high rents. This holds especially true of new construction retail spaces that have large footprints. Most small business owners needed to start small before they can sustain enough business to afford a large space.

Lowe Enterprises has shown commitment to filling retail on this project with locally grown businesses like 5th Street Hardware, Results Gym, and Busboys and Poets. I’ve heard they’d like to continue to follow that path. If so it’s less likely that more than two bays will be leased together to one tenant.

Tomorrow I’ll speculate on the types of tenants that would fit well.

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Views from 455 Mass

Recently I participated in the Mount Vernon Triangle Development tour sponsored by WalkingTownDC. The Triangle tour includes a stop at 455 Mass to visit the 10th floor which through it’s glassy facade has great views.

Click on the thumbnail image or this link to visit the photos.

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Busboys is open

Busboys and Poets at 1025 5th St NW is now open. The MVSNA dropped by Busboys soft opening on Tuesday night. The official press release is now on the MVT CID website.


Busboys and Poets is known as a restaurant with broad appeal because of its modest prices, creative décor, diverse clientele, and wide variety of events. Entrees vary from meatloaf to crab cakes and range from $8 to $21. Events will include art openings, poetry readings, lectures, book signings, fundraisers, and receptions – serving as a gathering place for the area. The space will take on the unique character of the neighborhood that is Mount Vernon Triangle.

I’ll visit Busboys this weekend for pictures and to confirm the operating hours. The website is now under construction, but I lifted the hours for the other two locations from the website a couple weeks back – I’d imagine the 5th & K St hours will be similar.

14th & V Streets:
Sunday 9 AM – 12 Midnight
Monday – Thursday 8 AM – Midnight
Friday 8 AM – 2 AM
Saturday 9 AM – 2 AM

Sunday 9 AM – 11 PM
Monday – Thursday 9 AM – Midnight
Friday – Saturday 9 AM – 1 AM

Columbo from PQLiving also has a brief Busboys posting this morning.

UPDATE (9/27/2008 8:45 AM): After a brief chat with Shallal during our visit to Busboys last night I believe the hours will eventually be:

Sunday 9 AM – 12 Midnight
Monday – Thursday 7 AM – Midnight
Friday 7 AM – 2 AM
Saturday 9 AM – 2 AM

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BID Smackdown: Capitol Riverfront

Over the weekend I participated in three development tours as part of WalkingtownDC. I decided to analyze how the Mount Vernon Triangle stacked up against other two “young” BIDs in the city. I’ve outlined my impressions of the Capitol Riverfront below.

Capitol Riverfront BID map; click to enlarge

Overview: The Capitol Riverfront is 500 acres along the Anacostia located in Near Southeast and Buzzards Point. At full build out the BID estimates 15 million s.f. of office space, 9,000 housing units, 800,000-900,000 s.f. of retail space, and 1,200 hotel rooms with four new parks and the Riverwalk Trail. The area is walkable to Barracks Row and the Southwest Waterfront.

Transit: The Capitol Riverfront is served by the Navy Yard metro station with an entrance for the ballpark on Half Street NE and another at the intersection of New Jersey Ave and M Street SE. This station is serviced by the Green Line.

Key Attraction: The National Stadium presently draws tens of thousands of fans into neighborhood 81 nights a year. Although the Lerners stiffing the city on rent is making more news than the team. Down the line The Yards, from Forest City Washington, will feature shops and a Waterfront park.

Anchor Tenant
: While NAVSEA is the predominant employer they The U.S. DOT HQ represents the anchor tenant among development delivered since the BID formed. The DOT building has wide plaza sidewalks along M Street with extensive landscaping and extensive public art. The site hosts a farmer’s market between it’s two buildings and during the summer months a concert series and outdoor movies on the Plaza to the rear. I found it quite impressive how the DOT HQ engaged the Public Realm. Contrast this will some government buildings downtown and all you get are brutalist buildings with sidewalks made narrow by concrete barriers.

plaza sidewalks on M Street SE along DOT buildings

Public Realm: The streetscapes featured tree boxes triple the size of others in the city. Canal Park is planned 1.8 acre park that span 3 blocks from Eye to M Streets SE. Both are designed to collect and filter storm water. The Canal Park will reuse the collected runoff in two water features. The Yards project will also have a 5.8 acre waterfront park. It’s clear that the environmental considerations that proximity to the waterfront present have contributed to planning green space rather than focusing solely on “the highest economic use”. A riverwalk bike trail is planned.

Office: This area presently has 36,000 daytime workers and at buildout the number should push 100,000. M Street has the highest concentration of planned office development due to it’s proximity to the metro and higher visibility. Presently government employees and contractors represent the majority of workers. BID director Michael Stevens stated that the present lack of sit down dining and perception of metro’s Green Line (he suggests “Employers are afraid to get off the Red Line) are concerns that law firms have over the location. They are actively trying to recruit restaurants. The Green line stigma will take time to change but the Capitol Riverfront is estimated a 20 year project.

Neighborhood Retail
: I didn’t see much retail yet. That which is present, such as Starbucks and Five Guys, is geared towards serving the office worker lunch crowd. More is planned of course but tenants are TBD.

Residential: The Yards will feature several residential projects near the waterfront. Redevelopment of the Capper/Carrollsburg housing projects will be mixed income. Several residential projects north of M Street have delivered this year and are leasing.

Architecture: The Yards has some exciting adaptive reuse projects including old Navy Yard buildings such as The Pattern Shop Lofts, the Boilermaker Shop, and the Broadside Mount Shop. The WASA pumping station is an amazing 1905 Beaux Arts building nestled next to the Yard development – it will continue to be a pumping station (and eye candy).

Inside the Boilermaker Shop

Safety: I can’t really gauge much from a visit at 11am on a Saturday and a few ballpark visits. But FWIW there was a striking lack of homeless compared to downtown and MVT.

Miscellaneous: Ample parking for high density development near the waterfront may present a challenge due to the high water table. The Pattern Shop Lofts needed to allocate the first floor of it’s building as a garage. Questions were asked during the tour where the post office and schools will be. Stevens said plans are TBD and cited some charter schools at the Blue Castle (but Google searches suggest even those are endangered by development).

The investment in the public realm is extremely impressive. I also liked how the area had a wide boulevard-esque street (M Street SE) bisecting it’s territory. MVT has that with K Street NW which will have wide 40 foot plaza sidewalks like you see at CityVista. NoMA seems to lack such a street to provide a focal point corridor – perhaps because it’s territory is only 3 blocks wide east to west at most points.

Next up: NoMA

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