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Unconventional Diner, Union Kitchen Grocery, Smoked & Stacked, Morris (a craft cocktail bar) and more coming to the Convention Center Retail

by Prince Of Petworth November 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm 37 Comments


Holy smokes I guess the marketing strategy worked…

From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans joined Events DC – the convention and sports authority for the District – to announce six new retail and restaurant tenants that will soon occupy spaces that have been vacant for years at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. These businesses will bring highly anticipated economic activity and jobs to Washington, DC, and more community services to the Shaw Corridor.

By filling 100% of the available space at the Convention Center’s street-facing retail establishments, Events DC is demonstrating its dedication to the Shaw community, while contributing to the continued economic vitality of the District. Collectively, the leases with these businesses represent a 10-year revenue of $7 million.

Future tenants coming to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, include the following establishments:

· Unconventional Diner, a locally owned and operated high-end diner concept and brainchild of two DC residents/business owners.

· Union Kitchen Grocery, a locally inspired corner market that will be expanding the brand’s footprint to the Shaw neighborhood. Union Kitchen Grocery has an existing location in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

· Smoked & Stacked, a fast-casual sandwich shop that will showcase in-house brined and smoked pastrami.

· Morris, a craft cocktail bar, featuring notable DC-based chef and restauranteur, Spike Mendelsohn. This cocktail bar will be an expansion from their Sheppard concept which had its original location in Dupont Circle.

· Urban Athletic Club and Composition ID, a motivating and inspiring fitness marketplace and health diagnostic center. Urban Athletic Club has previously existing locations in both Georgetown and Glover Park.

· A Barbershop Concept that will relocate their pre-existing location in the Shaw neighborhood.”

  • Boomer

    Wow. That’s unexpectedly great news. Props to the politicians.

    • Anonymous

      Props? Props. No way. They’ve had 12 years to lease these spaces and they haven’t been able to do it. Now all of a sudden they announce their intentions to sign below-market rate leases and we give them props? Not a chance (the Post reported this as ” close to market rates” and some of the leases “were close”

      Management of these retail bays should have been stripped from Events DC a loooooong time ago.

      • Anonomnom

        While I don’t disagree with the outrage regarding the time that these sat vacant, it seems a bit odd to complain about spaces being vacant for 12 years and, in the same comment, complaining that the leases that were finally signed only “were close” to market rate. Given the vacancy times, I would have been beyond shocked if they were signed at or above market.

        • Anonymous

          I get that. I really do. But retail leasing isn’t something that just happens. It takes a lot of work and I think the convention center just expected the leasing to happen without any work.
          So, yes, you’re. We should give props to EventsDC for finally recognizing their failures and hiring StreetSense to deal their retail leasing. So props there, but it’s just difficult for me to let go of the bitterness from 12 years of failure from EventsDC/WCCA.

    • Lisa

      Props to StreetSense. Amazing work.

  • Dupont Resident

    Urban Athletic Club is awesome! I really hope it does well here. Graham the owner is awesome and the classes are great. I may switch from the Georgetown location over to here once it’s open.

    • LoganRes

      Can you explain their pricing model? If it’s capped at $148 (8 sessions) and once you hit 13 sessions it goes down to $100… what would you pay if you took between 9-12 classes?

      • Dupont Resident

        I am on a different pricing model because I have been a member for a couple of years so it may be best to contact them but I would guess that over 8 classes (9-12) it’s $18 per class. I think the incentive is to make it to 13 classes to significantly lower the price per class. $100 for 13 classes is a crazy deal in the city.

        • anon

          eh, when class pass is 115 for unlimited of every type of class you can think of, I don’t feel like 13 for 100 is that great of a deal.

          • Anon

            Depends on how often you go.

          • $100 for 13 classes is a super deal. We cap classes at 15 people, so you’re getting a lot of attention from the instructor.

            And if a pint of a fancy beer is $11, then $13 for a qualified instructor to create a unique class, set up a cool playlist, motivate you, and correct form is a bargain.

            Or you can just buy P90X.

          • Dupont Resident

            I switched from classpass to Urban Athletic Club. In my opinion, classpass because most studios offer only their off peak times and maybe a few spots in their peak classes (I know this, I used to work for Flywheel), there’s a ton of unpredictability of not getting in to the class you want, and you can only go three times a month to each studio. Personally, and from my interactions with others in the fitness community, most people want to know they can get into the classes they want and aren’t restricted. And I don’t think you can say because of solely classpass $115 a month is EXPECTED for unlimited. That’s absurd.

          • anon

            i wouldn’t say its expected, but as someone who likes to do a variety of things, it is definitely a really good deal compared to a single studio. unlimited yoga+unlimited hiit+unlimited cycling for less than the price of any one of those things alone? For someone like me, who has had a membership at a dedicated studio, it just works. Of course, I bike around town and don’t mind hitting up gyms all over, plus there is enough stuff between home (logan/dupont) and work (downtown) to fulfill my needs.

      • Maybe I can help:

        Class Pricing Model: $40/month for 2 classes. Each add’tl class is $18, but capped at $148 (that’s 8 classes.) Make it to 13 and your cost drops to $100. It’s a hybrid between a class package and an unlimited membership, with a financial incentive to help get you out of bed. Or you can pay $290 for 3 months.

        The UAC Convention Center will be a trainer marketplace where the best of the best can provide fitness services. We’re going to offer innovative fitness with innovative pricing. And we’re going to keep pushing the envelope to give customers the best fitness options for their buck.

        -Graham King
        Urban Athletic Club

  • “high-end diner concept”

    • GPDC

      I was just cringing at that – ugh. Oxymoronic.

      • monkeyrotica

        Looking forward to the whimsical re-imaginings of classic diner fare, like the seared ahi tuna scrapple and creamed chipped wagyu. I just hope their wine parings are very unique and not uninspired.

    • jim_ed

      What do you have against $35 meatloaf from dry aged kobe beef and omelettes made of locally sourced dodo eggs, Justin?

      • AmyM

        If you have no interest in $35 dry aged kobe meatloaf and locally (and ethically!!!) sourced dodo egg omelettes, I have no interest in being your neighbor.

        • samanda_bynes

          in house smoked pastrami tho….HOO BOY

        • jim_ed

          No argument here. In fact I only eat meat if its verified that the animal was killed only by its heart literally exploding from being hugged and loved so much on the farm.

          • AmyM

            That sounds like such an authentic experience. I smell a pop-up exploding heart diner in 3…2…

    • AnonV2

      It’s no worse than “barbershop concept” (I’m assuming this is Hell’s Bottom).

      • True. You’re either a barbershop or you aren’t, no need to conceptualize it.

        • monkeyrotica

          Unless they’re offering artisanal bloodletting and locally curated leeches.

        • AmyM

          Menu Item #1: “Deconstructed Undercut”
          Menu Item #2: “Man Bun Blowout”
          Menu Item #3: “Hot Stone Temple Massage”

          • MAB

            “Man Bun Blowout” LOVE THIS!

      • Paul H

        I’m going to bet that it isn’t Hells Bottom, find it hard to believe they put that much into that space without signing a much longer lease – or that they wouldn’t identify themselves as all of the others have. Instead, I’d put my money on it being Cuttin-up (across the street from the Center at the corner of 9th and M) or the place just north or the corner of 7th and P that seems to be holding up a redevelopment project at that corner. Good news on both of those is that they’re real DC barbershops. I bet the “concept” word was added by the real estate marketing people.

        • Lisa

          I agree on all counts.

  • J Street

    A Barbershop Concept?? Facepalm.

  • chasscott

    Smoked & Stacked…oh, please, please, please, let this be Montreal smoked meat like Schwartz’s. I still have sporadic withdrawal from that!

    • Anon23

      No, this is from Marjorie Meek-Bradley (of Ripple and Roofer’s Union, formerly of Graffiato).

  • I Dont Get It

    Okay…I get the snark but happy that FINALLY retail is coming here. If only a Arby’s was joining. ..

  • The Dude

    Wish someone would add a bagel shop – conceptual or otherwise. This town needs more good bagels.

  • Planner

    I want to start a barbershop concept quartet.

  • AERzondzinska

    Back to basics, I’m still wondering how Rappaport managed to take years to fail to rent out the retail spaces at the convention center, and why EventsDC was content with their nonperformance.

    • Lisa

      Well the odds are we’ll never know the details, nor are they any of our business. There may have been a completely different vision or intention on the part of Events DC when Rappaport was at the helm and thus I would find it amiss to blame Rappaport.


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