Dear PoP – What’s Going on with 9th Street Retail?

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“Dear PoP,

I’m trying to find out if anyone knows what’s been done with the building that was formerly The Space at 903 N Street. It closed a while back and now that EFN Lounge is also closing on 9th Street I’m sad to see these local businesses go. I was hoping perhaps these spaces might be available for lease or sale. Anyone know anything?”

Anyone know of any plans for these spaces? I couldn’t help but note that the old Vegetate space at 1414 9th St, NW also sits vacant. Do you think this section is regressing? Ed. Note: By regressing I mean a return to vacant storefronts. No more no less.

13 Comment

  • It does seem as though its regressing, as you describe.
    Anything that opens there right now is kind of by itself. There’s not a really strong cluster of restaurants and businesses that would attract more and make it a destination. YET. I know there is a lot of stuff right down by the convention center and I think that area will only get better and will probably really take off once the hotel gets built.

    Has the O Street Market actually broken ground like they were supposed to? I drove by recently and didn’t see anything. I think that as this project moves forward there will be more storefronts on 9th. But until then, it seems like a riskier place to open up a business than other developing areas like 11th St in CH and the east end of U St/Florida Ave, where there are already a solid number of businesses drawing customers. Any by “risky” I just mean that your customer base is likely only to be the people in the neighborhood, whereas in the other areas you get a wider range of people because they are more established as destinations.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      O St Market is supposed to break ground on Wed. Sept. 1

    • Also, Mandalay (Burmese restaurant and several stories of residential above) has technically already broken ground on the NE corner of 9th and P. They’re reportedly waiting for permits to get straightened out before going forward.

      One of the big problem here is landlords sitting on these places and holding out/pushing for higher rents. That’s what did Vegetate in. All of the hype around ‘what could be’ has translated into potential dollar signs in their heads. So rents are outrageous and everything sits empty for the time being.


  • O Street Market (9th and O) groundbreaking (whatever that really means) is in early September. And the convention center hotel (9th and L) is supposed to be breaking ground any day now. They swear.

    I think that if/when those two projects actually get underway, good things will happen with 9th Street retail. Until then…

  • I agree with the other commenters. But I also think the convention center kind of kills the prospects for night life business around it unless there is a mass effort to create an attractive cluster of restaurants, bars, etc. in order to attract more foot traffic away from the nearby Chinatown.

  • Losing businesses certainly stinks, and we lost a great one in Vegetate. Its former location has not been held out for lease, and it is rumored that a sports bar will be opening in the space soon.

    The Space seemed poorly run and a thorn in the side of neighbors (at least toward the end), so I don’t think its closing is an indictment on the area. The rumor I’ve heard is that there’s a dispute among the owners of the building, which is preventing it from being held out for lease.

    I don’t foresee the EFN/Motley/Be Bar space sitting vacant for long.

    I really think 9th Street will be booming in no time.

  • Sad to see any businesses leave the area but the area is about to explode with new retail. (The Space and EFn Lounge closed due to dysfunctional management (hearsay has it that the Space folks skipped the country to avoid creditors related to other real estate issues. Owner at Vegetate apparently raised the rent to a level the Vegetate folks were unwilling to pay.)

    Huge celebratory groundbreaking for the O street market between 7th and 9th and O is next week. At a price of approximately $400 million will include 90,000 square feet of retail, including a brand new Giant, a hotel, and 600 residential units.

    According to the City Paper the former chef at Vidalia will be opening a restaurant in Blagden Alley off 9th and N to be called Rogue 24.

    Groundbreaking already occured in June at 9th and P for a new mixed use development that will include Silver Spring restaurant Mandalay.

    There is a new Fenty construction sign up at the corner of 9th and Mass/L that hopefully means the 550 million dollar Convention Center Hotel/retail groundbreaking will finally occur with a pair of smaller hotels to follow just north of 9th and L.

  • Walked by the site of the old O St Market (7th and O) this morning, a couple of guys were there moving bricks around and (it seeemed) sprucing things up a bit for the official groundbreaking photo-op.

  • Maybe too much competition from 14th, Logan Circle and new stuff on 11th, Veranda, Duffy’s, Room 11 etc? Rogue 24 sounds very promising! Definitely strange that there is not more going on in that area besides the laundromat, minimart on M, not-half-bad sandwich place west of the Metro, sports bar by the convention center…

  • Miss Vegetate so much. They’ve put up giant “This project brought to you by Fenty” signs at the Giant on 9th and O, and also on the corner of 9th and Mass for the new hotel. I’ve been hearing the same chatter – they’ll be breaking ground in Sept. I’ll believe that when I see it. Seems to me they’re there only for the election.

    Rumors also abound that the District will be selling the Archives building in Naylor Ct. to a private developer. Presumably to open 6-8 $500k condos.

    Frankly, EFN lounge didn’t bring much to the neighborhood other than loud drunks. I’d rather see a deli or other type of food place there.

  • The Space broke the law and was run poorly, and yes, the managers fled the country. Some of the later biz partners tried to ramp it up again, but that fell apart, thankfully. Owner is apparently sitting on the property.

    9th St businesses are doing really well. Old City Green is always bustling, Wag Time just did a gorgeous reno, Queen of Sheba just reinvented itself and is great. Then there are Nelly’s and 1905. And the Marriott development will be starting soon, which I’m sure will help even further. Shaw is like a different world from when I moved here 3 years ago.

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