Friday, November 9, 2007

New Restaurant Rumor

Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be at the Washington National Cathedral several times in the next few days. You probably don't have tickets to the sold-out gala tonight, but you can see him for free on Sunday morning in the nave from 10 to 11 at the forum entitled "Can We Forgive Our Enemies." This is not a service, but rather an interview-style conversation with Dean Lloyd. Tutu will also be lecturing on the spirituality of reconciliation on Tuesday evening at 7:30

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On to the restaurant rumor . . .

I will not disclose the source except to say that the information came to me third-hand. I really am just spreading a rumor here. It's exciting, so I hope it's true.

There may be plans for a restaurant called Policy at the corner 14th and T Streets. Further rumors are that it will have quite a pedigree the same architect as Brasserie Beck (Core) and a Michelin-starred chef from L'Auberge in VA. (I've heard that L'Auberge was formerly located in McLean, but due to fire now exists in Great Falls.)

Evidence that at least some type or restaurant is coming to the space is that there is a posted liquor license application for a three-story restaurant to include rooftop seating. I've been told that the application does not give a restaurant name, which caused some to fear a chain moving into the neighborhood and thus a license protest based on the usual "peace and quiet" concerns. Then again, there is still a large "for lease" sign up; I don't know if the space owner could be slow to take it down, if there is additional space to rent, or if the rumor is simply untrue.

Anyone been by to look closely at the liquor license? I can't make it today before heading outta town. Have you ANC 1B folks heard anything at the monthly meeting? In my experience, ANC's pounce on protesting licenses.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The rumor is correct...the restaurant at 14th & T will be called Policy.

Also, there is a massive residential/retail development in the planning stages for the entire SW corner of 14th & U (all the way down 14th St to the Policy site).

Kelly Mahoney said...

Interesting post and responses.

IMGoph said...

kelly,

there's one response. how is that interesting post and responses?

aside from that, mr. anonymouse...are you saying that this will be something that entails tearing down the mcdonalds and other chains there (as well as the seafood place) and building a new, taller building?

because if that's the case....bravo. that's too valuable a corner to have a cheap, one story stripmall-type building there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all of the small retail spaces on the SW corner of 14th & U will be gone. The project travels down 14th St to include the parking lot closer to T St.

It also wraps the corner on U and connects to the storage company. However, some of the retail on U will be worked into the design of the new building.
The residential component will be apartments.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is true. However, I heard this deal is contingent on a deal with Apple Computer to open up a store there.

IMGoph said...

i'm skeptical about the apple bit. there have been rumors about apple opening in the union row building 2 blocks up the street flying about for years, and i'll believe anything about apple only when i can buy one there.

there are some good places that i would hate to see the neighborhood lose though, like the salvadoran place on 14th and 24/7 up on u street!

Anonymous said...

I doubt the thing about Apple; they bought the french connection store in Georgetown and will build there; I cant imagine them opening two stores in DC so close to each other.
What Im wondering is...what deal is contingent on the apple store? the deal where Policy will move in or the entire PUD planned for the corner?
wont' Mcdonalds put up a fight for their corner? Though I guess they lease so they cant fight eviction forever.

Anonymous said...

Meant to add Apple article:
http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2007/10/08/tidbits1.html

Anonymous said...

What do y'all think about naming a restaurant Policy? Maybe I'm being kind of grumpy, but that just seems really lame and annoying. But maybe it's not the name itself but fear that with a name like that the restaurant will be a beacon for all kinds of uptight political types.

Mr. 14th & You said...

I'm not a fan of the "Policy" name either. Also, color me skeptical re: the Apple Store, particularly with the aformentioned opening of the store in Georgetown.

Anonymous said...

The for lease sign is for the gray building which is only 800 square feet of space. The L shape building going up around it is Policy. Check out Policydc.com for details and there yummy menu!

Anonymous said...

Builder floats 10-story plan for 14th and U

By Katie Pearce
Current Staff Writer
November 14, 2007

If a local developer's plans move forward, a 10-story
residential building could land on the busy
intersection of 14th and U streets across from the
Reeves Municipal Center.

In the corner where a McDonald's now anchors a
disparate mix of shops and restaurants, developer
Georgetown Strategic Capital, working with architects
Eric Colbert and Associates, has proposed a 75- to
100-foot-tall residential building that would include
ground-floor retail, an affordable-housing component
and parking spaces.

The project is still in its conceptual stages and
would potentially impact a complex mix of properties,
retailers and landlords on the 1900 block of 14th
Street and the 1400 block of U Street, including a
group of historic buildings. The proposed boundaries
of the project, sources said, extend from the Ruff &
Ready Furnishings store at the corner of 14th and T
streets to the Extra Space Storage warehouse at 1420
U St.

"It's huge," Rob Halligan, president of the Dupont
Circle Citizens Association, said of plans he saw for
the building.

The architect, Colbert, unveiled early designs last
week at a meeting of the Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood
Association and will meet with Dupont Circle groups
this week. A November notice shows the concept filed
with the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Phil Spalding, a U Street-Columbia Heights advisory
neighborhood commissioner who saw the plans at last
week's meeting, said "the room seemed about 50/50 on
the general idea of the development." Spalding said
"some very telling comments" from the community
revealed concern over increasing population density at
an already bustling corner and the project's
synchronicity with the Greater U Street Historic
District.

The entire project area falls within the historic
district, according to Richard Busch, president of the
Dupont Circle Conservancy. "The conservancy is going
to be looking at how this fits in the neighborhood,"
he said.

Some of the buildings on the corner, including the row
houses on U Street that house restaurants like Coppi's
and Utopia are considered contributing structures to
the historic district and are subject to stringent
preservation laws. Halligan said the early plans work
around facades that are historic.

Meanwhile, the project could potentially absorb the
buildings considered non-contributing, such as those
housing retailers like Taco Bell and Foot Locker on
14th Street. Sources said the project would not
include the Salvadorian restaurant El Paraiso at 1916
14th St. Bobby Srour, who with his father owns the
Domino's building at 1926 14th St., as well as a
nearby parking lot, said he has been in discussions
with the developer. "I think it's a great idea," he
said of the concept, which could coherently organize
a now-random cluster of retail within walking distance
to the Metro.

He confirmed that the developer has proposed buying
100-year leases of available properties. But Srour
predicted complications: There are a lot of
landowners involved,and it could be difficult to get a
unanimous agreement, he said.

One D.C. company, the Jenco Group, owns a bulk of the
corner properties, from the Foot Locker building on
14th Street over to the Utopia building on U Street.
Reports have linked Georgetown Strategic Capital and
the Jenco Group for a potential redevelopment project
in Arlington. Marvin Jawer, president of the Jenco
Group, declined to comment on the proposed
development.

Scott Pomeroy, head of the Midtown Association, said
this is the only major development proposal he has
seen recently for the prominent corner, although he
recalled an early 1990s plan from the D.C. Commission
on the Arts and Humanities that suggested a 75-foot
building for the site. "When you look at the
intersection of 14th and U and the massing you have
around there, it makes reasonable sense," he said.

Sources said the developer, with some minor
exceptions, plans to work within the existing zoning
laws for the block. "They're asking for very little
zoning relief," said Halligan.

Halligan noted that the quick forward momentum of the
plans surprised him. "Frankly, I was a little
disturbed when I found out that [Colbert]was calling
this a ˜conceptual pitch", he said. "They're already
in front of HPRB. That's not a conceptual pitch,
that's a ramp-up." Phyllis Klein, who lives in an
alley row house that sits directly behind the
project's proposed area, wrote in an e-mail to The
Current that she and her family support improving
conditions on the block. But, she continued, they
have early concerns about vehicular flow and safety
issues and preserving light and air" for the nearby
residents.

Bob Meehan, a Dupont Circle advisory neighborhood
commissioner, also addressed the potential impact of
parking and traffic. Plans show that the building
could use the residential, one-way T Street for
access to its parking garage.

If I were living on T Street, I would oppose having
this 100-foot building use parking access on T
Street, Meehan said, suggesting 14th Street as a more
viable parking entrance.

Colbert, the project's architect, declined to be
quoted for the article, and he said his client, Bob
Moore of Georgetown Strategic Capital, is now out of
the country. The architect presented plans to the
Dupont Circle Conservancy last night and will meet
with the Dupont Circle advisory neighborhood
commission tonight.

Catty-cornered from the massive proposed project,
another corner of 14th and U streets is also ripe for
redevelopment. The existing vacant historic building
at 2001 14th St. will be completely redone, according
to Spalding, while a three-story modern addition next
door will increase commercial space.

The joined buildings will lease at an average price
of $55 per square foot, according to the propertyĆ¢€™s
broker, Ken Noroozi. He said the buildings are
designed to house a restaurant and lounge with an
outdoor terrace spot.

We're negotiating, but nothing has been signed yet,
Noroozi said.