Tag Archives: Restaurant Retail Mix

ANC Planning and Zoning Committee Clears Way for Chipotle Mexican Grill on Barracks Row – Vote by Full ANC Scheduled for July 12

The Ayes Have It As All Ten ANC6B Commissioners Vote for Chipotle

ANC Planning and Zoning Committee Clears Way for Chipotle Mexican Grill on Barracks Row – Vote by Full ANC Scheduled for July 12

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee, chaired by Commissioner Francis Campbell, voted 10 – 0 for a special exception to the ban on fast food restaurants on Barracks Row for Chipotle Mexican Grill.  Chipotle will open an outlet at 413 8th Street, SE, in the space currently occupied by Dollar + Continental.  The building’s owner, StreetSense Development, has given Chipotle a 20 year lease on the building.  The development company’s representative announced that China Wall, which occupies adjoining space, also part of the StreetSense property, is not expected to stay.  As part of the deal, StreetSense pledged – should they seek to place a fast food restaurant in the China Wall space – to apply for a separate special exception for that location rather that utilize the fast food license that transferred with the property.

The Committee vote came on the motion to approve the special exception, but with a request that the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment limit the exception specifically to Chipotle.  This restriction is apparently unprecedented, but not prohibited by the regulations.  The ANC made clear that their support was not contingent on the proposed BZA limitation.  .

In ANC6B, all commissioners are members of the standing committees, taskforces, and the executive committee.  Tonight, all ten commissioners were present for a show of hands in support of Chipotle.  The vote forwards the issue to the full ANC meeting for a vote on July 12.  It is likely that the vote by the full commission will be the same as tonight’s vote.

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Pitango Gelato Is Open

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Barracks Row Blockbuster to Close in August

Barracks Row Blockbuster to Close

Barracks Row Blockbuster to Close in August

Opening for National Retail?

by Larry Janezich

The Barracks Row Blockbuster will close in August, according to Martin Smith, Executive Director, Barracks Row Main Street.  The move will open up a 4,100 square foot retail space – slightly over the standard 4,000 square foot minimum for a national retail outlet.  The space has an additional 650 square feet on the second floor.   According to Smith, the typical retail space on Barracks Row is 1200 – 1800 square feet because many of the buildings are former row houses.

Smith said that it’s not certain that a national retailer will become the next tenant.  It would be easy to cut the larger space into smaller ones, and a lot of independent businesses, reluctant to take on the overhead of a large space, can be accommodated in the smaller ones.

Still, the opening up of one of the only spaces on Barracks Row large enough for a corporate tenant makes it likely that such an outlet would be among the first choices for the property owner.

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Chipotle Stumbles on First Hurdle – ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee – Vote to Oppose Application Sends Issue to Full ANC

Proposed Chipotle and Adjacent Restaurant Space on Barracks Row

Chipotle Stumbles on First Hurdle – ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee

Vote to Oppose Application Sends Issue to Full ANC

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted to oppose a Chipotle Mexican Grill on Barracks Row Tuesday night, but left the door open for further consideration by the full ANC6B next week.

The architect of record appeared before the Committee prepared to discuss architectural plans and historic preservation.  But the Committee wanted to hear a rational from corporate officials for their request for a special exception to zoning regulations prohibiting businesses from opening fast food restaurants in the commercial corridor as “a matter of right.”

Since corporate representatives who could speak to the question were not present, the Committee voted 4 – 3 to oppose the request pending receipt of information supporting the rational for granting the exception.  Chipotle representatives will have the opportunity to make their case before the full ANC6B at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 14.

Committee members stressed that they want to hear the same presentation that Chipotle representatives will make to the Board of Zoning Adjustment to justify the exception, and expressed a preference to hear from the franchise operator.   It emerged during the discussion that Chipotle’s plan is to establish the restaurant and later place an operator.  In lieu of the operator, Committee members said they wanted to hear from corporate representatives and from the building owner, Streetsense.

A secondary but related issue was the question of how good a corporate neighbor Chipotle would be.  Commissioner Ivan Frishberg noted his efforts to effect redress regarding community concerns about corporate retailers in the community were too often frustrated by a distant corporate bureaucracy with no understanding or appreciation of neighborhood or community problems.

He said he was not comfortable in hearing from corporate representatives about what the policy of future franchise holders toward participation in community civic efforts would be.   He stated flatly, “the track record of corporate chains is abysmal” in this area and “I’m not sure we can trust a corporate regional representative to be a good neighbor.”

Neighborhood activist Yoonmee Chang agreed with Frishberg, and addressed the adverse effects that a fast food restaurant would have on the immediate neighbors of Barrack’s Row, including litter, traffic, contribution to a transient atmosphere, and setting of precedent.  Chang asked, “Why not Burger King next year?”  Asked if she preferred the current tenant over Chipotle, Chang replied that it was comparing apples and oranges, and she preferred not to think of it as a tradeoff.

Frishberg made the motion to oppose the application for zoning adjustment pending receipt of information supporting the rational for granting an exception.  The motion was agreed to by a vote of four to three.  Commissioners voting for the motion:  Frishberg, Oldenburg, Metzger, and Green.  Those opposed:  Flahaven, Pate, and Glick.

The building owner, Streetsense, is a brokerage, design and development company specializing in retail and real estate.  Their clients include Chipotle, Starbucks, Matchbox, and Le Pain Quotidian.  Chipotle has been a client since 2007 when they engaged Streetsense to handle architecture, interior design, brokerage and market analysis.  Chipotle has more than 65 restaurants open in the DC metropolitan market.

Streetsense announced their acquisition of the Barracks Row property on May 11, 2011.  The two-level, 8,700 square foot building is actually two separate spaces, currently occupied by China Wall and Dollar + Continental.

According to the Streetsense website, Streetsense Architecture has been engaged to reconstruct the two street-front retail spaces (1,399sf and 1,544sf respectively) into ADA compliant, clean shells, with all utilities required by restaurants stubbed to the premises. Streetsense Retail Advisors brokered a deal with Chipotle to occupy the 1,544sf space; the restaurant plans to open in early 2012. The remaining 1,399 square feet will soon be made available for lease.

The full ANC6B will meet at Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th Street, SE, Tuesday, June 14, 2011 – 7:00pm.

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Greenworks Departs. Pitango Gelato Arrives. Coffee Competition Gets Tougher.

Greenworks Departs.  Pitango Gelato Arrives.  Coffee Competition Gets Tougher.

by Larry Janezich

Passersby will notice the papered over windows and desolate emptiness of the space in front of Greenworks, the florist outlet, which until recently, occupied the space on 7th Street, SE, next to Peregrine Espresso.

Pitango Gelato, the popular confectionary with outlets in Penn Quarter and Logan Circle will shortly begin work to convert the space into their own gelato/coffee venue.

According to Pitango’s website, in addition to espresso, cappuccino and caffe latte, they serve Italian hot chocolate, choro-latte (just what you’d expect), marocchino (equal parts expresso and hot chocolate), and affogato (espresso with hazel nut or chocolate gelato).

With the recent opening of Pound, in the 600 block of Pennsylvania, competition is getting a little tougher in the retail coffee market.

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