6 Responses to “NoMa Awakening”


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  1. mr

    This is all very exciting. I’m glad to see it, and to have it so close. But as I read the article I started to ask why we have so much retail and commercial spaces vacant in the first floors of a number of buildings in the Triangle? What’s the delay? The new activity in terms of restaurants and the like appear to be centered around City Vista. What’s going on in the Triangle? Any news?

  2. FourthandEye

    I’m going to have to disagree with the sentiments in the comments above. I think for the most part the Triangle is right on schedule with retail. All of the “trophy” retail space, which has high ceilings/venting/visibility/etc, in our neighborhood has been leased or is spoken for. City Vista is entirely leased out save for Chipotle not actually signing the dotted line yet. 455 Mass brought us Buddha Bar plus two other retailers and the firehouse at 400 Mass is spoken for by Sixth Engine.

    The only space I’d classify as trophy space that remains unspoken for is the retail space in the 401/425 Apartments at 4th & Mass. But you have to remember that the whole building was in foreclosure limbo when it was the DuMont condos so Equity residential hasn’t had THAT much time to lease it compared to other property holders.

    The flurry of activity in NoMA is mostly based on Constitution Square completing its construction cycle. That project is basically their City Vista with all the ground floor being trophy retail space with a great location 1 block from a Metro Station.

    What the Triangle does have sitting vacant for retail is primarily in the recently renovated 425 Eye Street office building. That ground floor space has lower ceiling heights than retailers ideally like. I think it will lease eventually but it’s going to take more time than trophy caliber space. It’s definitely not comparable space with the NoMA space that just leased.

    Lastly, Jemal allowed District Crossfit, Miller Copying, Fringe Festival, and Vince Gray’s Mayoral HQ to move into his older vacant properties in the Triangle that were in habitable condition. Since these sites were slated to be redeveloped into hi-rises Douglas Development needed tenants to be willing to accept some sort of out clause. A more dynamic tenant like Tackle Box Restaurant, Merzi, Roti or a Gillian Clark eatery isn’t going to want to sign that type of lease. All in all I think it’s worked out reasonably with Jemal’s properties as they were positioned well to take advantage of 2011 real estate uptick.

  3. Dan Maceda

    Good question mr. especially when we read the piece on NOMA awakening.
    I guess that’s the difference between Douglas Jemal and effective developers.

  4. Dan Maceda

    I guess we can agree to disagree . This is admittedly a press release but if accurate it still supports my view more so than the above I think

  5. mr

    I do see the wonderful additions around us at MVT. But as a person who lives in the Triangle, seeing the trophy locations snatched up and developed is only one measure of improvement. As a local resident, I would rather see a local coffee shop, another sandwich shop, a bookstore, a competing grocery shop, affordable eateries, etc., than just the fancy places. Sure, I feel a sense of pride that we have these places just blocks away, but I wouldn’t patronize those places every day or every night. I just don’t have the money. How many places do we have to get coffee or sit around watching folks go by? How many places can we shop within the Triangle other than nearby Chinatown? I just want to see a larger diversity of types of stores and retail. That is my measure of real quality-of-life improvement

  6. FourthandEye

    @mr – bookstores are declining businesses. Several Olsson’s and Borders locations in the city have closed. We may have a dearth of coffee shops but I expect either the space at the old DuMont or Mass Court to eventually sign a coffee shop. Hopefully in the next 12 months.

    Re: affordable dining
    While I don’t personally find Buddha or Kushi affordable it is very possible to eat at other Triangle busineses for either under $10 (Taylor, Subway, Henry’s) or around $18-20 (Busboys, Mandu). When Ray’ Hellburger opens up you’ll be able to eat there for $10-15.

    Walmart at 1st & H NW will bring your grocery competition