Scuttlebutt: Old Score Space Leased in Columbia Heights Plaza – Non Profit Coming

“Dear PoP,

The former Score space at Park Triangle has been leased to a non-profit group called “826 DC”. They teach creative writing and learning to children.”

Sounds like a great group.

Ed. Note: This info comes from the same source who told us about Fro Zen Yo coming to Columbia Heights Plaza so it’s very likely to be accurate.

26 Comment

  • Boooooring. I was hoping for a Chop’t.

  • there is enough food already. CH needs more diversity of uses to bring more daytime traffic. w/o more daytime traffic, CH will never be able to attract bigger and better retailers.

  • let me retract “bigger” retailers. I really mean better, more exciting retailers that continue to lease elsewhere in the city but wont come to CH b/c there is not enough daytime customers.

  • are you kidding? I feel like we are down to so few options for decent sit down in the neigbhorhood given our population. How does barracks row with so much less population get a new (and usually very good) restaurant every 4 months…Cava, Matchbox, Zest, Teds Bulletin etc…all in the last 12 months? and we just get fro-yo?
    I think its time the CM graham looks into lifting the Minority set asides for space in DC USA. that may the only way to fill that ugly building.

  • It’s a little disconcerting that there seems to be a lot of turnover in those stores already. Add that to the turnover experienced across the street at the Tivoli and it makes me a little nervous. I’m not sure if it’s the economy of if the location isn’t very viable for retail.

  • “How does barracks row with so much less population get a new (and usually very good) restaurant every 4 months”

    I think it’s because there are a lot of high-income jobs nearby, so people stop in for lunch, and more expensive houses nearby, so there’s a built-in dinner crowd. Columbia Heights doesn’t have this (yet?)

    • also, the have CHAMPS, and a great main streets committee.

      and it took a loooong time after the metro opened for anything good to happen there.

  • Ahhh it’d be so awesome if 826 DC opened here! These stores/tutoring/creative writing shops were started by Dave Eggers- there’s 826 Valencia, 826 Seattle, 826 Chicago, etc. They’re really creative, and just radiate goodness!

  • I really really hope that they have a pirate store, in the style of 826 Valencia.

    • Or the Superhero Store like the Brooklyn outpost!

    • yeah their pirate store in san fran is awesome. as i understand it they had to have some sort of commercial entity in the space so in true eggers style they opted for a store that sells peg legs, lard, eye patches, etc, with a huge workshop room in the back. when i was there the clerk asked if i wanted to barter for the items i was purchasing.

  • Very, very, very cool. And the Eggers connection is cool as well (if you haven’t read What is the What, you should). Agreed: re daytime traffic. There are NO shortage of retail spaces in CH, and I think for a more balanced neighborhood we need more people working here in the day / weekday daytime activities.

    As for the turnover, that doesn’t worry me. Each place that has left (other than Rita’s, which I don’t really get) had serious problems in marketing, concept, food quality, or all three. And the crappy national economy and all the construction hasn’t helped either. Once the public realm is done in a few months, and with the slow but steady economic recovery continuing, I think more retailers will seize upon the vacant spaces in the next year or so. But I do hope that some of them attract daytime workers to the area, which in turn will help restaurants become more viable.

  • That would be ideal! 826 Valencia is an amazing organization doing great work – a DC location would be phenomenal. Check out the TED talk that Eggers has done about 826 – it’s pretty inspirational.

  • I am not so sure it’s a good idea to welcome an education center that encourages our youth to lead a life of piracy. Software and music and sports apparel piracy in this 21st century, but piracy nonetheless.

  • My 1st grade daughter loves to write and this looks very interesting. Cool!

  • I’m certainly in favor of literacy etc. but wonder how any non-profit can afford what should be prime retail space – fronting a plaza. Any room any where can easily be a writing center (i.e. garrets, school rooms, church halls etc.)

    As for the pirate issue – I checked the website and it just isn’t clear what that means. I doubt it refers to stolen artistic production, but it would be helpful for them to clarify.

    • All the 826’s have store fronts so “any room any where” would not fit the 826 model and therefore could not partake in the 826 money or use it’s name.

  • Here’s a Washington Post (sigh, front page in Stlye too, I guess no one reads the deadwood paper anymore) article on 826 DC. Sorry to disappoint, but it won’t be a pirate shop. It will stick with the nerdy side of D.C. and be a Museum of Unnatural History store…

  • I’m surprised to see so many people disappointed to see 826DC coming to that location. As much as people complain about the youth, crime, etc. I would think people would welcome a creative organization like this. I think this is great. I hope they stay for a while.

  • Considering many of the students in DC need as much educational support as they can get, I’m thrilled to see that 826 is finally opening a location in DC. Any news on how to get involved?

  • From that Post article, check out the excerpt below about the store … awesome awesome awesome awesome. Not only will this totally fit into the cool artsy vibe of Columbia Heights (I could imagine some serious synergy with Bloom Bars, for example), not only will this really be a boon for community kids, it will also sell really cool stuff not seen anywhere else in DC, let alone Columbia Heights. Sort of the anti-Target. I can’t image a better use for this space. I am super, super pumped!

    After jettisoning the lumberjack theme that Eggers suggested — “I’ve had the same idea for eight years,” he says, disappointed — 826DC settled on a theme that was appropriately Washington: a Museum of Unnatural History. It will open in August or September in a Columbia Heights space and will celebrate, according to the concept narrative, “the collective knowledge of plants and animals that has yet to be verified by scientific research, but is substantiated by haphazard observation, unchecked speculation, and creative inquiry.”

    The transformation of the space has been accomplished mostly through donation of time and skills. The design team is spearheaded by volunteers Minh Le, who works in education policy, and Oliver Uberti, a design editor for National Geographic magazine. “We’re thinking of doing something about precious stones,” says Uberti, who spent several afternoons wandering around the National Museum of Natural History with Minh as research for the store. “Instead of ‘precious stones,’ we might have ‘worthless stones’ or maybe ‘stones that are precious only to Frank — like the things he collected on a vacation.’ ”

    Other potential hits: Evolutionary vitamins (“Take two a day for seven hundred epochs as directed by divinity or in order to evolve”) and cans of Primordial Soup.

    The storefront — along with being an income generator — is a way to draw in students by suggesting that this writing experience will not involve diagramming sentences.

    “I want them to come away with a feeling of wonder,” Le says. But more than that, “I like the idea of tying the idea of history to the science of creative writing. Archaeologists finds little bits of evidence — a bone here, a fragment there — and then try to build a narrative off of it. That’s what the act of creating looks like.”

  • As an 826DC volunteer, I urge you to embrace this asset to your neighborhood, and to volunteer. Working with kids is great fun, they deserve more than a garrett, and you can eat anywhere.

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