Alba Osteria: A Neighborhood Gem in the Making

Tucked away in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood, Alba Osteria (website | facebook | twitter) can be found on the corner of 4th and Eye St. NW. They open December 30th, and have a New Year’s Eve promotion planned (flyer below), but we benefited from a sneak preview during the recent soft opening.

The entryway is enclosed in glass, keeping diners away from cold drafts and street noise. The dining room and bar are sectioned into different areas giving it a cozy feel, when in fact there is room for 226 people. The restaurant is decorated using reclaimed glass from a crayon factory, bright orange accents with an industrial feel. A wood burning pizza oven sits in the corner with dazzling orange and red tile surrounded by artfully stacked fire wood.

We were seated at a table for two along the banquet seating that separated our section of the restaurant from the bar and were quickly asked if we would like sparkling or tap water. Next came the bread basket with three types of bread; a traditional bread stick, crispy rosemary and sea salt flat bread and a more traditional wheat as well as olive oil for dipping.

Our server was absolutely delightful and knowledgeable which made the whole experience enjoyable.

The wine we ordered wasn’t in stock, so the general manager suggested a 2011 Giorgio Cichero Dolcetto di Ovada, which was a versatile wine that worked well with everything we tasted.

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5th and I Public Meeting recap – UPDATED

Updated at 2:46PM on 12/20/2013 to insert renderings.

Last night Ivan Matthews of the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development hosted a meeting to showcase the four finalists for the 5th & I development RFP. Below is my quick and dirty recap of the proposals.

The common themes of the four development proposals was that community engagement and park improvements were necessary components. So was adhering to LEED Silver standards. The district also requires that some contribution to the city’s affordable housing pool be made, whether that be on-site, off-site or a sizable financial contribution. I also believe that DMPED wants the winning proposal to be able to break ground and deliver as quickly as possible as to avoid a redux of when Donohoe/Holland was awarded this parcel in 2008 and then proceeded to accomplish nothing for half a decade. To that affect none of these developers is seeking to pair this parcel with an assemblage of properties. Waiting for neighboring parcels to sell takes too much precious time.

Each development group had met with the ANC to discuss expectations and concerns. One major expectation is that the two triangle parks at 5th and I be dramatically enhanced to have programmed uses rather than the simple neglected tiny lawns they are today. This will require transferring the parks, apparently named Seaton and Milian, from the National Park Service to the district to be managed by either DPR, the MVT CID or a public private partnership. Each group seemed highly committed to fulfilling this requirement and dramatically upgrading these parks.

5th & I Development site with Seaton and Milian Parks

With those basics common elements of the way, here are the distinct highlights from each development team’s proposal:

Akridge/Jefferson Apartment Group: Mixed-use residential with 187 market rate units and 21 affordable housing units on-site. 8,000 SF of retail including 3000SF daycare and 1000 SF of community space. Architecture from Escoff associates will essentially be in the same vein as 400 Mass and 401/425 Mass down the block. This bid also pledges to provide $200,000 to redesign Milian and Seaton Parks, and $100,000 set aside for local civic and nonprofit groups.

Akridge/JAG rendering on 12/19/2013; design by Escoff Associates

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WBJ: Video of Lyric 440 Hard Hat Tour

The Washington Business Journal recently shared a video of the guided hard hat tour they experienced at the new Lyric 440 apartments. While I do not seem to be able to successfully embed the video, you may click on the screen capture below and that will take you to the WBJ page to watch the video. Amy Dolan of Quadrangle leads the tour through the lobby, 1 BR model unit and rooftop space.

Screen capture of WBJ's Lyric 440 video; click to visit video

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Public Presentations from Potential 5th & I Development Groups

The potential developers for the 5th and I St. NW RFP will be presenting plans to the community on Thursday, December 19th at 6:30pm. The meeting will be held at the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District office at 901 4th St. NW. The meeting will be videotaped.

The following developers were selected as finalists for the project:

  • Akridge, Jefferson Apartment Group, Jarvis Company, Escoff and Associates
  • JBG, Moddie Turay Company, Morris Adjmi Architects, Eric Colbert and Associates
  • Trammell Crow, CSG Urban Partners, Leo A Daly
  • Peebles Corporation, Walker Group, WDG Architects
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SILO Hopes to Open to the Public Shortly after Christmas

One year ago we learned that Reza Akhavan, a former GM at Shaw’s Tavern, had plans to open a restaurant in the former Fun Fair Video space on 5th Street NW.

These last few weeks, as the opening approaches, we’ve learned the restaurant will be named Silo, to represent its raw and industrial interior as well as the fresh ingredients and grains used in its cuisine. It will accommodate 20 people at the bar and 50 people in the dining room. Working alongside Akhavan as Restaurant Manager will be Charlotte Devilliers, most recently with Northside Social Coffee Shop and Wine Bar. Silo’s kitchen will be helmed by Executive Chef George Vetsch From 2009-2013, Chef Vetsch was Executive Chef (American Classic cuisine) at C.F. Folks. During his tenure there, the restaurant was awarded the 2013 James Beard Award, Classic American Restaurant and the 2013 RAMMY Award, Casual Restaurant of the Year.

Silo interior; image by Reza Mohaddes via Lisa Amore PR

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Santa Celebration on Dec 12

The fourth annual Santa Celebration in the Triangle at 5th & K Streets NW on Thursday December 12th from 4:30-7:30PM promises to satisfy children of all ages. The event organized by the Mount Vernon Triangle CID (MVTCID) will offer free treats, photo opps with Santa (for kids and dogs!), delicious mulled cider from KUSHI, a popcorn machine courtesy 5th Street Ace Hardware, and scrumptious desserts from Le Pain Quotidien!

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