Wanna Rent the Old Design Within Reach Storefront?

It’s yours for $18,000 a month… Damn! What do you think, realistically, can go into that space and afford an $18,000 a month lease? Interesting that it already has a liquor license. I’m still thinking legit country bar. But that’s a lot of Budweisers to sell…

Design within Reach closed back in Aug. 10 and was located at 1838 Columbia Road, NW.

67 Comment

  • no way! but yoga district needs a new home in bloomingdale. email me if you know of a property or want to join in on forming an llc to buy a spot.

  • this begs for something approaching a fine dining restaurant. it’s not fair that cashion’s is the only truly decent sitdown meal in adams morgan.

    • agree rooty tooty. Hopefully with the recent openings on 18th, Adams Morgan can muture enough to draw the kind of croud that could support such a restaurant. No reason why a neighborhood (Kalorama) with one of the highest real estate prices in the city couldn’t support such a restaurant.

    • does Little Fountain Cafe or Grill from Ipanema not count? or even Mama Ayesha’s or Pasta Mia?

    • I haven’t eaten dinner there, but I always thought Napoleon was a fairly upscale place. It is called Napoleon *cafe* though.

  • Actually 180,00 a month for that space with use of a a liquor license sounds cheap, like dirt cheap. Like so cheap something is wrong. I wonder if the owner has a typical lease agreement where they get a bonus in rent based on the restaurants gross receipts.

  • The Liquor License is key here. I would think it would be a great spot for upscale dining. And that is probably what it would have to be given the rent… The wide sidewalks would make for some great outdoor seating and that strip is home to other quality restaurants with Cashions, Grill from Impenema, Perrys, and Napoleons. I think an accessible bistro would do well in Adams Morgan too though. Something like Chef Geoffs or Logan Tavern.

    • you had me until you mentioned Logan Tavern. That whole restaurant group (Logan, commisary (I think?) and The Heights (maybe I am missing some) is pretty much Applebee’s with better bloody marys.

      • You are wrong, and you should feel bad.

      • I have to say, I tried Logan Tavern a couple weeks ago for lunch, and it was totally on point – perfectly cooked, fresh bread, good flavors/textures. Very pleasantly surprised.

        People rip on The Heights all the time, but I think their brunch is pretty good. I got hooked on the eggs Benedict when it first opened.

        • I too like Commissary/Logan Tavern. That kind of restaurant is what Adams Morgan really needs. Something better than the Diner but not with the Cashion’s price tag.

      • Right on. That group of restaurants is awful. I don’t know what I hate more, the boring overpriced food or the fact that they act like it’s fine dining.

  • I wonder which will rent first, this space or the former Blockbuster? I wish nothing but the best for whatever tenant goes in here. But seriously, it’s gotta be the ugliest, cheesiest building on this stretch of Columbia Road.

  • Panera?

    Used book store?


  • saf

    That license must be from the old Mr Henry’s (they were here before the building was torn down and this one went up.)

  • I wouldn’t say the rent is “dirt cheap” but I was struck by how low it was. That location, that size with a liquor lic thrown in?

  • That’s not cheap. That’s a higher price per square foot than many strips in Gtown and certainly downtown, where you can get space for $50-55 psf. This is about $64 psf. It won’t rent at this price, even with the (strong) value of the liquor license taken into account. I do think it is a nice space though, and perfect for a restaurant use.

    • for a storefront location in Adams Morgan including a liquor license, this seems very reasonable to me.
      Seeing that an office space in a Class A building on K Street will run you around 50 psf., 64 seems like a bargain.

    • Seriously, nobody who thinks this is cheap has ever rented retail space in this town.

    • Seriously people, connect the dots. Look at today’s earlier posting about a local retailer closing… Rents Are Too Damn High. This is a total rip off and businesses who bite risk huge losses. As for the rest of us, get ready for a chain.

      Who is renting this for this price? Name? Who rents the property at 1515 U?

      Where is the yelp directory for such property owners?

  • My vote is for MatchBox to open a location here. They would have no problem making the rent if they went in there cause I would be there all the time getting a Fire and Smoke pizza.

    • Matchbox would certainly kill it in Adams Morgan. I’d accept that in place of a fine dining spot.

      • Doubt it would happen as they just opened a 3rd in rockville not too long ago.

        • not to mention, weren’t there rumors of that magic mushroom pizza place coming (I’m guessing into the former 18th & Red / Anzu spot).

    • That’s the perfect idea. Although something along the lines of Matchbox is probably a better possibility.

  • It was somewhat ironic that the prices at design within reach were so completely out of reach.

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…


    I think that this would be a perfect spot for the finest in upscale convenience foods! Bring on the beef n’ cheddar!

  • at that price, I think they’re just trying to price out somebody who would want to go bar, masquerading as a restaurant. still, not sure it even has a kitchen, so while a restaurant would be amazing at this location, it would require a large investment during time that you pay rent and don’t generate any revenues.

    • also, I want to say that I think this strategy may backfire. the only people who can afford to rent this place are well heeled investors/restaurant groups… not the people necessarily taking the risks in the kitchen that I’d like to see come.

      I think word to the wise: they should be more interested in a good FIT for the space than try to attract higher end tenants through rent discrimination. it would increase the overall value of the building if they get a long-term tenant that makes a name for itself, rather than fold after a year or two.

  • Isn’t that the building with something in Greek carved into the front near the roofline? Anybody know what that translates to in English?

    • saf

      I used to. It’s in “in memory of..” and now I have forgotten the gentleman’s name. He was the patriarch of the family company that built the building, and died while it was being built.

    • This retail and apartment building at 1836, 1838, 1840 Columbia Road, NW was built by the late Anastasio Hiotis. His name is inscribed in Greek letters across the top of the front facade of the building.


This six story building above ground has an additional three levels of underground parking and an excellent common full length and full width roof top terrace for The Kalorama Park Apartment Building, 1840 Columbia Road.

      Despite this, many of the high priced rented apartments remain vacant. Look at night, most of the windows never have any lights on at night since built.

      The widow lives in the building managed by the two sons.

      Forty five years ago there was a finely decorated, white table cloth, high end restaurant called the Latin Q where the furniture store was when the property was a single story commercial building.


In 1974, Paul S. Tauber started Columbia Station Restaurant and Bar (presently around the corner at 2325 18th Street, NW). Later it was Mr. Henry’s until the old single story building was torn down by Hiotis who completely rebuilt as The Kalorama in 2004.

  • another question: this building is next door to granja de oro. did anybody else notice that they put up what looks like chicken wire around their patio? is security there that horrible? the place looks awful now (not that it looked that stellar before).

  • Mayor Grey’s re-election campaign HQ.

  • I vote for the Proof and Estadio guys to come out with another hot spot. Maybe something French? Or Greek? Everything they touch turns into culinary gold. Yum yum 😀

  • no.more.restaurants!!!

    • You’re swimming upstream with that sentiment around these parts.

      • mark.my.words …just watch

        • Watch for what? A backlash from other people commenting here?

          For what it’s worth, I’m all for more retail.

          • then we’re in agreement.

            if the price is negotiated, a restaurant might make it here, while the restauranteurs are working like feudal slaves to pay that rent… but they would be entering that restaurant-saturated neighborhood where many neighbors desire simply more retail (so i also give that restaurant two years)… but then look what happens to stores who even sell high-end goods… connect the dots again… maybe design within reach was out of reach because the rent is also out of reach!!

          • you’re right Plumpy. they should make it into the world’s smallest Ikea.

          • except the only retail that could afford that is like urban outfitters

    • no.more.crap.bars.

  • I wonder if it’s Triple Net on top of the rent.

  • the theories about this landlord’s pricing strategies on this thread are seriously out there.

  • Aside from a well managed crackhouse, I don’t know any retail business model that could sustainably pay $18k per month lease over any lengthy period of time for this location.

  • Isn’t it time Adams Morgan had a high-end bordello?

    • Old timey wild west bordello, please, complete with tinny piano, swinging doors, and drinks that burn your throat.

  • Have to agree with Anon and Lester, $64psf/yr is high, even with a liquour license. The thing about AdMo is that the area is zone restricted re. liquour licenses, so this artificially jacks-up the costs of acquiring a license. If the lease is typical triple net, an entrepreneur would be looking at $$$ in operating expenses. The folks who think this is cheap have never prepared a break-even analysis.

  • out of curiosity what does 3400 square feet compare with restaurant wise?

Comments are closed.