1711 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

“Today, the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington approved the decision to enter into a purchase agreement for the YMCA National Capital facility, located at 1711 Rhode Island Avenue, NW. As part of the Y’s longtime mission to support families, kids and its community, the nonprofit’s volunteer board and staff leadership are reallocating its limited resources and restructuring operations to meet changing needs and emerging gaps. The Y will continue to have a strong presence in the District, and its primary focus is transitioning its staff, members and services, as well as maintaining community outreach programs.

“This was not an easy decision, but as a nonprofit organization with limited resources, the YMCA must continually evaluate community needs against available resources to strike the right balance in fulfilling our mission,” said Keith Smith, Chair of the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. “Our buildings may house us, but they do not define us. We have a tremendous opportunity to grow and broaden our reach, but in order to do so, we have to establish more appropriate and efficient models for service delivery.”

While the YMCA National Capital facility has served the downtown business district for 37 years, the needs of the community require that the Y evolve its approach to a community/ neighborhood-based model where it can serve more children and families. With more than 30 like-service providers within walking distance, membership at the YMCA National Capital has declined from a peak of 11,000 to today’s 3,400. As a result, the facility operates at an increasing financial deficit. The Y has invested more than $1.5 million in capital improvements in the building, but because the investments necessarily addressed inefficiencies of the facility and not aesthetics, they did not spur membership growth. After reviewing several proposals, the YMCA has selected a developer with which to move forward. The facility will close as a YMCA as of December 31, 2015. (more…)

1837 1st Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

A friend of mine and I went out in Bloomingdale yesterday excited to check out Costa Brava. Unfortunately, when we got there we were surprised to see it was closed (around 8:30 pm) and had no signs of life. There were still chairs and tables inside, but most telling is there was no menu posted anywhere, which is always a telltale sign. Was that just a one day thing? Or has it bit the dust. Wondering if you heard anything…”

I hear they’ve closed. Word on the street is that the space has already is or is close to being leased to new folks who plan on opening a burger joint with cocktails – more details when more is known. Costa Brava opened back in November 2014. In July one of the co-owners, Doug Brown, died in a tragic drowning in the Chesapeake Bay.

el latino
3314 11th St, NW

A reader reports:

“Every few years, readers would write you and ask “where is that great smell coming from on 11th and Lamont Street in Columbia Heights?” The answer of course was El Latino Bakery.

It saddens me to report that El Latino Bakery is no more. My source from the block said that rent was raised and so they decided it was a good time to move to a bigger space in Maryland. They even had to cut the bars and wall in the front to move the ovens out.”

This is incredibly sad, and inevitable news… It follows news of the closing of Arthur’s across the street. I look forward to learning who will take over the space and I believe there is a strong likelihood it will be something cool – but now is time to grieve. RIP that sweet, sweet smell.

1711 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I learned to my dismay that the YMCA National Capital branch will be put up for sale (or is it already up for sale?). This was told to me by a reasonably strong source who was communicated this last week by management officially. They are seeking the big bucks for the location and trying to get over losses they had at the new Antony Bowen location (14th and V). They will let go eventually all of the hourly employee and move around the permanent staff.

This is quite shocking news since this is the only somewhat affordable community gym facility in downtown Washington, not to mention one of the very few swimming pool of a decent size… plus it offers the community some activities such as kids summer camp, and so on which will likely not be easily replaced…Also very weird since they closed the Potomac Branch on June 1. Seems that the Board is completely careless about community needs and instead of replacing the incompetent management and manage the place once and for all professionally, they’d rather cash in. I can’t believe it!”

Ed. Note: The 17th and Rhode Island Ave YMCA location were having a membership drive this weekend. When asked about a possible sale of the building – they said they hadn’t heard this news. Updates when/if more info becomes available.

UPDATE from the Board of Directors & staff leadership of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington:

“As part of our ongoing strategic planning process, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington has been reviewing its operations, services and resources including a comprehensive assessment of YMCA National Capital’s long-term feasibility and impact. We are in the process of reviewing proposals from multiple local real-estate developers interested in the redevelopment of this property.

As a non-profit organization with limited resources, the YMCA must continually evaluate community demographics and needs to strike the right balance in fulfilling our mission. Our buildings may house us, but they do not define us. We have a tremendous opportunity to grow and broaden our reach, but in order to do so, we have to establish more appropriate and efficient models for service delivery. To that end, we are actively looking for new sites in the District to open a family-centered YMCA. Our goal is to serve more people and to be a positive force in the District and beyond. The YMCA takes great pride in being a vital part of the community for 163 years.”


8th and Upshur St, NW

Transformation of the 800 block of Upshur Street, NW continues – big time:

From the Petworth listserv:

“I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Justin Logan, and my wife Jessica and I have signed a lease to open a Latin American wine bar in the space at 800-802 Upshur, which includes the space now occupied by the Riyad Market.”

The Washington City Paper reported:

“they do have a name: Ruta del Vino, Spanish for “the Wine Trail.” The restaurant will feature dishes from multiple countries, including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. It’ll also serve about 20 regional wines in addition to liquors like tequila, ancho-chile, singani, and pisco. Ruta del Vino could open by next spring, at 800 Upshur St. NW.”

Godspeed Justin, Godspeed.

1129 20th Street, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending:

“There is some neat new signage up at 1129 20th St. NW for The Green Bee Cafe. I did a quick google search and found out that it is being opened by the folks from Bread and Brew. This was previously the site of Newton’s Noodles.”

You can see The Green Bee Cafe’s facebook page here. Updates as they get closer to opening.

marine layer

Thanks to Craig Chester for sending this Craigslist ad for Logan Circle:

“Oh. Hey DC.

The Company:
Marine Layer is a San Francisco-based premium casual apparel brand. We sell through our website and our retail stores in San Francisco, LA, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NY and Miami (and expanding). We are a fast-growing company whose success has been built on a small, passionate team that works hard and has a lot of fun.”

1633 P Street, NW

Finally word on what’s happening at the former Heritage India (Cafe Mirasol, and previously Cafe Luna and Skewers spaces) on P Street. Some details from the owner:

“NAZCA MOCHICA it’s our new peruvian concept, we are gonna have a cebiche bar, tapas bar, Pisco bar and a beautiful open kitchen.”

Could be awesome – stay tuned for updates as they get closer to opening!