Flagship REI Store coming to Uline Arena!!!

Rendering via Douglas Development

Everyone time we talk about dream retail tenants – REI always comes up. Huge news tweeted by @20002ist last night:

“Big news for NoMa: @douglasdevdc stated tonight at @6c_pze they will soon sign deal to bring flagship REI store to Uline Arena on M St NE.”

Douglas Development’s website says:

“Uline Arena is an exciting office/retail re-development in the burgeoning NoMa neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The 2.5 acre site is located at the intersections of Delaware Avenue NE, M Street NE and 3rd Street NE, with Congress Street NE dying into the property. The property is currently occupied by the Arena building (historic), the Ice House building (historic), and two other commercial buildings, most used as parking structures. The Arena building, best known for being the venue for the first American concert given by The Beatles, is also architecturally significant due to its concrete barrel vault roof and structural concrete arches. The Ice House building is the original ice manufacturing facility which provided ice for the skating rink within the Arena building. It was there where Mr. Uline created his patented equipment which became so successful that the Arena building became necessary.

The currently single-story Arena building will be converted to a single level of retail below three levels of office space. The Ice House building will have additional ground level retail space with a portion of the first level being dedicated to office. Above this will be two additional levels of office space. This will require additional space added to the Ice House building, which will occur in a sleek new glass structure extending above the original roof line of the Icehouse. Additionally, a new 168-space, 4-level parking garage will be constructed on the southeast corner of the site.”

56 Comment

  • pcat

    This is great. I took ice skating lessons at Uline Arena when I was a child so it’s really nice to see the place put to a good use. I hope they sell ice skates and those really cute skating dresses.

  • andy

    For anyone who’s from WA now living in DC, this is a dream come true.

    • Because the three others in the are aren’t enough.

      • The College Park store will surely close in due time. I don’t want to have to trek out to parts unknown to buy a pair of wool socks. This is great news and a great asset for many who enjoy more in life than staring at an LCD screen.

        • Agreed – the College Park store is a bit of a disappointment. I went there last January to exchange a gift and it’s not nearly up-to-par with their stores elsewhere.

        • you couldn’t have gone to Hudson Trail Outfitters by metro?

          i mean, i also prefer REI. but the option was there.

          • Or head to the EMS in NoVa, or the Pattagucci store in Georgetown, or simply have it delivered to my door. Sure, I could have. We’re not talking basic necessities here, but (mostly) luxury goods. But that’s the great thing about capitalism and having a plethora of options and such, right?

          • absolutely. im just saying there is and was a store in DC, near a metro that fulfilled the specialty wool sock fix. you never had to trek to the burbs for it.
            well… tenleytown is a bit like the burbs….

          • Okay, that’s fair. I’ll readily admit that this makes me happy because it’d be 10 minute from my house. 🙂

          • College Park doesn’t do the volume it once did. EMS has a limited selection. HTO is not what it once was. I any of its locations I know of. This is great news and will draw people into the area.

      • If you don’t drive, no, they aren’t.
        Also, three cheers for WA.

      • All the others are located in the suburban past. Even with car it is a three hour commitment to visit such places, should the need arise.

      • The other stores are tiny and this one is going to be a larger flagship store that will carry things that the others can’t because they are tiny.

    • Agreed! It will be great not having to trek out to College Park or Rockville.

    • Andy – but now we’ll have to pay sales tax when we order from REI.com….
      But the garage sales at this place will more than make up for it – woo hoo!

      p.s. where have you been lately?

  • Awesome, awesome, awesome news.

  • I Dont Get It

    Is anyone else concerned that Congress St NE is “dying”?

    • It’s more an alley than a street–it doesn’t go anywhere.

      • (That was a joke at the poor PR copy: “The 2.5 acre site is located at the intersections of Delaware Avenue NE, M Street NE and 3rd Street NE, with Congress Street NE dying into the property.”)

  • One of the renderings showed what looked to be residential units directly facing the rail yard. Office space definitely makes more sense here. And even then, it’s gonna be noisy.

    • Not as noisy as you might think – I lived in one of the apartment buildings nearby that looks directly onto the rail yard. When the windows were closed, we couldn’t hear a single train.

      • this is correct. I work on the other side of the tracks with a window that looks at the Uline and am rarely disturbed by the trains. Of course I grew up not far from the track (the wrong side) out in the Midwest, so I may just be used to it.

      • jim_ed

        I think this also has to do with the fact that all the trains here are electrified, so no diesel engines shaking the earth as they rumble past. You still get the clickity-clack of the rails, but its far less noisy than a 5,000 hp engine chugging along.

        • They are not all electrified. There are still plenty of diesel-powered freight trains passing through here every 45 minutes or so.

  • Getting an REI is great. Converting the awesome historic arena into an office building is lame.

    Couldn’t this be something cooler? What about:
    – An indoor sports venue for the smaller DC pro sports teams
    – A rock climbing gym
    – A nightclub / concert venue
    – A children’s museum (like SF’s exploratorium)
    – A streetcar depot
    – Or just about anything other than office space

    • you can’t really put a rock climbing gym into a single story building… you need at least 3-4 stories minimum for it to be worth while.

      • The problem with all those ideas is that they won’t generate enough money/profit for the developer to justify the high costs of redevelopment. We have enough nightclubs/concert venues nearby, museums abound, streetcar depots don’t need to be so centrally located, etc. I agree with you in that I have no need for office space at this location, so most of your suggestions sound great to me personally, but the land value here is just too high for the developer to build anything truly “cool”.
        As an aside: Uline itself is more than tall enough to house a rock climbing gym. Though if REI is indeed building a “flagship” store, you can be sure they’ll have a ~30ft climbing wall on site.

        • So how do we decrease land value so that cooler things come here? haha.

          • Build more buildings, and taller, and fight back against the NIMBYs who say otherwise. Simple supply & demand does work, even if the particulars are rather more detailed.
            (Also, the Children’s Museum is coming back to DC, although not here.)

  • BEST NEWS EVER! I won’t have to sit on the metro for an hour each way to get to the one in twinbrook anymore!


  • jim_ed

    BREAKING: Major US City runs gamut from shockingly poor to incredibly wealthy, all WITHIN BLOCKS OF THE WHITE HOUSE. More at 11.

  • maxwell smart

    If there’s one thing to take away from these comments is that this REI better stock up on backpacks, survival food and camping supplies because if you live in the city center of DC and need to venture out more then 5 minutes from a metro station (within DC, because god forbid one venture into VA or MD… or really upper NW DC, Georgetown….) then clearly you must pack all of your survival equipment and say your last goodbyes to friends and loved ones because trekking from Metro Center to Rockville is an epic quest akin to solo hiking the Appalachian Trail. Clif Bar sales will be through the roof.

    • +1 LOL. Anything beyond Rock Creek is like venturing north of the Wall.

    • have you ever actually taken the metro from DC to the Rockville REI? I live in Shaw, which means I live on the green/yellow lines. In order to get to Rockville, I have to take the metro downtown, switch to the red line, and then take it to the 3rd to last stop — this takes about an hour EACH WAY if I make my transfer easily and there no metro delays. Factor in at least a half hour to get my shopping done, and I am usually really efficient because I know exactly what I need, and an hour to get back home and that’s a nearly 3 hour trip.
      if you ever actually set foot outdoors, you would know that patagucci and REI are not substitutes, and i can’t just ride my bike over to georgetown for everything I need. tenacious tape to repair my puffy jacket? Tent pole repair kit? ISO for my reactor? alpine draws to replace the one my partner bailed on in the cascades? #5 BD stopper because I got my bf’s stuck in the adirondacks and need to buy him a new one? not things that any store in DC stocks. And the last time I went to HTO to buy the materials I needed to build a 3:1 chonco ratchet for the big wall I was going to climb it took an hour to explain what I wanted, even though I had called ahead to verify that they had everything in stock, and then i turned out they didn’t have any microtraxions so I left without all the parts after spending 45 minutes riding my bike over there and an hour playing scavenger hunt to track down all the parts they supposedly had.
      so yeah, another option in DC is very welcome.

    • I hated the trek to Rockville. It took an entire evening just to return a bike helmet that didn’t fit that I bought from REI online. More stores in the city is a good thing – it’s not like there’s some societal, aesthetic, or cultural benefit to trekking out to the burbs to run an errand.

  • This is awesome and LONG overdue. I always though DC USA was a missed opportunity for them. Sure some stores in the burbs are metro accessible but if we can keep our tax dollars in DC then we should try to do that when possible. I predict this is going to be one of their most successful stores in the COuntry. Kind of like the Target in Columbia Heights. We have long been underserved by retail and major retailers are finally waking up to an untapped urban market with tailored urban footprints of their stores.

  • Also, very cool that this store will be right off the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Now, if only there the MBT trail had a branch to more easily connect it to NW. I have been fantasizing about a bike trail through the Old Soldiers home on little known and unused Scale Gate Road.

  • This is great! No more long drives out to College Park (although that little pizza place next door is not half bad.)

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