What do you want here?

CORRECTION: The delivery of the retail units will go to their chosen tenants by this summer for them to build out for their needs. I have been told that it may take the tenants/retailers 6-9 months to complete their build outs after they take possession of the units/spaces.

UPDATE: Some have asked what the layout will entail for the retail. Here it is (keep in mind that these layouts for the parcels can change if they decide to build to suit a retailer):


The Rhode Island Station development seems to be moving along on a steady and concerted effort…and that is good news!

Rhode Island Station development progress. Picture was taken on 02/07/11.

According to the developer, Urban Atlantic, several parts of the station are on track to open this summer to the public. The WMATA garage is on schedule to open by the end of June. Starting in May, they will being taking pre-leases for the first of the residential units to be delivered by the end of summer. Urban Atlantic has chosen Bozzuto Management Company to handle the residential leasing for the apartment community.

And the retail?

The developer informed us that the first of the retail build outs will be delivered by this summer as well. They were tight-lipped on who the proposed tenants are but said that they have a “very strong retail interest” in the RIA Station project. In fact, they are discussing Letters of Intent with at least 15 retailers already and still have room for more.

Urban Atlantic is interested in what the readers of this blog would like to see at the station. They want to hear from you on what kind of retailers, both national and local, that you would really like to see in the development.

The developer also stressed that they are interested in temporary concepts as well (i.e. arts events, food trucks, etc). The developer has asked to have the requests on what you would like to see in the comments on this blog!

99 thoughts on “What do you want here?

  1. I’d like to see a coffee shop, another Busboys and Poets, a takeout restaurant that’s not another fast food chain, but serves good food fast, like a Freshie. Space that is conducive for parents with small children would be ideal as well.

    1. I’d like to second Busboys and Poets. That seems to me like the ideal local business solution for the need for decent coffee – and community space – in this neighborhood.

  2. Please, please, please a locally-owned coffee shop with regular hours. Pie-in-the-sky list includes a clean bar with good drafts and, dare I say, a gym. And I think food trucks should be treated as a permanent feature – not a temporary solution. They add to sense of place and make great food more accessible.

  3. Second what everyone above said. Would love a red rocks pizza or even homemade pizza co. Must have a good coffee spot (I’d settle for starbucks) and a bar with good beer would be great!

  4. I’d like to see a few locally owned restaurants (think the Argonaut and Pho Viet) a coffee/tea house, a brew pub, a book shop, a gym and a bike shop . SO glad that this development is moving so quickly!

    1. I strongly agree that need a local bike shop; this proximity to Metropolitan Branch Trail would help support one.

      Also at least two sit-down restaurants, like a pub and a Mexican restaurant.

      We need food options other than Chinese and pizza in the neighborhood.

  5. I’d love to see some fast food options other than burgers/sandwiches, like Chipoltes, Sweet Green, or pizza/Italian food. Definitely hope to see a coffee shop, and would love to see a local or national gym chain come in.

  6. Something like Franklin’s Restaurant in Hyattsville. Love the ideas about an independent coffee shop and locally-owned restaurants, but I’d also settle for Caribou’s or Panera’s if need be. A Trader Joe’s would be awesome, or maybe a slightly cheaper Yes!Organic Market?
    A bakery would be great!

      1. Good point on Glut– maybe Glut could open a Glut #2 at RIA Station so it could benefit from Metro riders. I know a lot of people that would go there if it were more Metro accessible.

  7. Chipotle, Cake Love, Matchbox Pizza, Pete’s Apizza, Ledo, Ethiopian restaurant, Whole Foods, Color Me Mine or Fired Up pottery painting etc.

  8. Here are my top 10:
    1) A Cleaners (I’m sure the apartment dwellers would want this too)
    2) A Florist
    3) Jewelery/Watch Shop with repair
    4) A Sweets Shop with Ice Cream, Sorbet, Frozen Yogurt, and Smoothies
    5) Johnny Rockets/IHOP
    6) Fedex/UPS store
    7) Apple Store (even Harry Thomas owns an iPad!)
    8) Free Wifi Zone
    9) Walgreens (which has already signed on)
    10) Bank/ATM
    And lastly, please provide Public Restrooms and be sure to replace all those trees you removed!

    1. I heartily second an Apple store, but they tend to go for glitzier locales. Still, I’d love to skip the trips to Bethesda.

  9. Local coffeshop & Mexican restaurant, Trader Joes, Washington Sports Club, movie theater, used book store, zipcars, bikeshare, outdoor fountain/picnic spot, street musicians. Please, no more liquor shops, Chinese takeout and dollar stores.

  10. 1. Gym – either local or national chain
    2. Brew Pub
    3. Local Restaurant – Small, Local Pizza/Italian, Thai, American (no fast food)
    4. Order/Eat-in Chain Restaurant – Panera/Cosi/Corner Bakery
    5. Coffee – Local preferred, then Caribou/Starbucks
    6. Higher end wine/microbrew store (we do not need another plastic bottle liquor store)

    What we do not need:
    – Another liquor store
    – Another Foot Locker
    – Another Radio Shack
    – Another Subway
    – Another Mega Pizza (Dominos, Bolis, etc.)
    – More fast food…

  11. Trader Joes would be a dream come true.
    Other smaller ideas: Chipotle, Panera, Pho, a proper Italian deli (maybe Litteri will relocate here?), Teaism/TeaVana type place, Noodles and company, Baja Fresh, California Tortilla, Brew pub (not just a bar)

    Please SAY NO to: Subway or sub shops that serve more fried chicken and french fries than subs, typical Chinese/ carryout places (the kind with the plexiglass windows, any chain pizza place (Dominos, PapaJohns, etc),

  12. All great ideas! I’m thrilled to see so many people on the same track. Busboys and Poets, a good gym, HomeMade Pizza Company, and coffee top my personal list. Of course Trader Joe’s and a decent, clean bar would also be great! Police substation is also a great idea. And, with the biking/walking trail so close by, a bike/running/fitness store would also be great. A public library branch?

  13. I agree with what everyone said here as well. Busboys and Poets would be awesome or something along those lines. I would also love to see options for sit down restaraunts that serve ethnic foods (i.e. thai, mexican, indian, etc) A cofee shop, sandwich shop like Panera, and better quality fast food like would be great too. If there is retail added, please NOT another sneaker store. Target would be great.

  14. A bagel shop, a restaurant that sells healthful “fast food” — like Middle Eastern stuff, a consignment shop or thrift store (Can we get a nonprofit Unique store, like the one on New Hampshire in Maryland?).

  15. Several of these ideas are great. My first thought was a nice non-chain restaurant….or small local chain….which serves good food, not just bar food, and not another big-box chain. Along the line of Franklins would be ideal. And yes good beers would draw me more than anything. There is no place to just hang out with friends for a good beer in ne DC. And something someone mentioned…a gym. There isn’t a good one in ne DC or PG county inside the beltway. If you could get the dc Golds chain in there I would look at them as a long term gym. Someone else came in I might switch memberships.

  16. Permanent art (mosaics, decorated bricks, etc.), by DC-area artists, built in, as well as temporary exhibits, with school participation as well.

    A quality independent bread bakery; ideally, one that also makes sandwiches (think Breadline).

    Banh mi shop.

    Good ethnic street food (think pupusas & empanadas, spring rolls).

    Good, safe facilities for leaving bicycles.

  17. A gym. Preferably Washington Sports Clubs. A lot of the national chains just aren’t nice. A bar / restaurant with decent wine and beer selections. Having somewhere to go in the area to have a good meal and a glass of wine would be fantastic. Love the Trader Joe’s idea. Maybe some kind of pet store – with grooming. There are a lot of dogs living around here, and it seems more are moving in.

  18. Both Bethesda Row (Woodmont Avenue) a few blocks from its Metro and the new shops near the Rockville Metro have done a good job of attracting a nice variety of shops which many have mentioned on this blog. When this RIA project was first established, it wanted to establish a Main Street look and feel. You might want to see which are the best local Mainstreets in the area and try to replicate that effect. I think Manasssas even has a MainStreet that has won national awards, but I haven’t been to that one.

    I’d also like to see a weekly Farmer’s Market. I particularly like the one surrounding the Dupont Circle Metro.

    The RIA Metro station is a true melting pot. Just seeing the diversity of people from all ethnic and economic backgrounds is truly amazing. So shops, that can meet those needs would be great. In Bethesda, I’ve noticed despite all the upscale restaurants, they have started to introduce more on the lower end, fast foods, etc. So, I think they are realizing the need to diversify. My one complaint with Rockville, is that it’s hard to tell what shops and restaurants are there. The store signs/banners are not very visible. About how much retail space is available for RIA in terms of number of shops that can open?

  19. I am dying for a thai restaurant! Thaiphoon is my FAVORITE!! A bakery and any other type of ethnic food (indian, middle eastern) would also be great. Busboys and Poets would be great.

  20. *A coffeeshop like Busboys or Starbuck’s
    *Dry Cleaners with a tailor, cobbler
    *Small Pan-Asian resturaunt with sushi, thai, etc.

  21. I’d like to see a Borders, Chipotle, maybe something like Cafe Steam in Dupont, and definitely a coffee shop.

  22. A bike shop! There are a grand total of zero bike shops in NE DC, and this would be a great location for our first because it is so close to the Metropolitan Branch Trail! NW shouldn’t get all the fun…

    I also second that a Trader Joe’s would be like a dream come true.

  23. A sit-down restaurant/bar with decent wine and vegetarian options. The area has so few options for dinner that isn’t ordered through a drive-through speaker or piece of plexiglass.

  24. As a metro commuter, I’m focused on things that would work out conveniently for me during my daily passage from bus to metro (in the AM) and then back from metro to bus (in the PM.)

    Trucks selling quick and inexpensive Salvadoran, Mexican, Thai, or Vietnamese foods, located right near the metro/bus area, would be amazing. I’d frequently stop there to pick up dinner.

    In the morning, I think a coffee/tea cart with muffins and pastries could do very well. It would be important that it be right in the line of foot traffic from the bus area to the entrance to the metro station.

  25. Dream List:
    – a yoga or spinning studio (a gym would be great too, but I’m guessing there’s not enough square footage for a big-box gym)
    – Taylor Gourmet 🙂
    – Red Rocks pizza
    – Busboys & Poets
    – independent coffee shop (like Mayorga)
    – book store (ideal: Kramer, Politics & Prose)
    – a bar (ChurchKey, Brickskeller, Argonaut, Meridian Pint)
    – wine & cheese gourmet (like Calvert Woodley in Van Ness)
    – quality sit-down restaurants: thai, sushi, italian, indian
    – a bakery
    – a bike shop
    – pottery painting
    – Trader Joe’s (would be amazing, but, again, is there enough square footage?)

    Cool Add-Ons:
    – a weekend farmer’s market
    – a bikeshare station
    – art exhibitions in the summer

    Please, NO:
    – fast food (chinese, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, wings, jumbo slice pizza, etc.)
    – liquor stores
    – anything selling auto parts, tires, rims, etc.
    – storefront chuches

  26. Coffee/Loungy Place- Cosi, Mayorga Coffee, Taylor Gourmet, Tynan Tea & Coffee, Panera
    1-2 Good Fast Food places- Potbellys, Chipotle, Five Guys, Cheeburger Cheeburger
    Bar/Wine Bar- Adega Wine Bar, Meridian Pint
    Convenience Store- Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid

    I’m also all for a Trader Joe’s, a gym, a Thai restaurant (not Sala Thai though)

    As you can see, I like food. We also need other retailers though like a dry cleaners and/or a small bookshop

  27. My interest is in green spaces. I find all the business districts along route 1 are a concrete jungle. I would love to see lot of green space with trees and benches to counter-act the giant parking lot that is adjacent and above the RI Metro. I dont think it would be difficult to plan a well thought-out landscaped area with nice bushes and planters; possibly grassy areas for people to sit in the summer……hey and it would create a jobs because the flora would need to be maintained!

    Hey! and how about a florist!!!!!

  28. -Kinkos/FedEX or UPS store
    -Fast-casual restaurant(s): Potbelly, Cosi, Chipotle, Panera, etc.
    -Hair Cuttery or similar family-friendly place to get a haircut
    -Coffee shop and/or bagel shop
    -A quality ethnic restaurant (good Mexican or Thai place would be awesome)
    -Dry cleaner
    -Small sporting goods store
    -Pub (preferably with a pool table or two)

  29. If anyone’s interested, Trader Joe’s allows customers to submit “Location Requests” through an online form. I submitted one this morning asking that they consider Rhode Island Station and mentioned Urban Atlantic as the developer. Here’s the link – http://www.traderjoes.com/about/location-requests-form.asp

    I echo all of the sentiments expressed here – a coffee/bagel shop would be a simple pleasure and a few sit-down restaurants, maybe a smoothie place, a bike shop, a pub or bar, etc.

    Looking forward to following this progress!

  30. – local bakery (firehook?)
    – local coffee shop (tryst/open city?)
    – local restaurants (politics and prose?)
    – local shops (greater goods?)
    – responsible national retail chains (10,000 villages?)
    – healthy fast food chain (chipotle, chop’t, Panera?) [there is a McDonald’s and Popeye’s across the street, so we don’t need anything else fried!]
    – trader joe’s or yes organic market or another small organic food store

    it would also be great if there were a little open area with picnic benches, with parking around it reserved for food trucks (maybe in the median, with a few spots reserved for food trucks from 10-2pm?)

    just as importantly, please pay attention to the pedestrian connectsion to the Metro station, Rhode Island Avenue and the other shops (e.g. HD). Currently, the pedestrian connections are poor, stark and feel unsafe, and is a key element to making this parcel feel like part of the neighborhood!

  31. It would be great to have a RIA shuttle from Rhode Island Station up to S. Dakota Ave. I think it would really bridge the community and help bring businesses up the Avenue.

    I also hope that a gym and some good restaurants move in. Red Rocks Pizza was a pioneer in Petworth and could also do well over here.

    1. More than anything, I like this idea. Councilmember Thomas should request that the developer and WMATA pay for a shuttle bus service that will help bring residents to the Station and back to the residential areas. This would only be temporary given that RIA is due to have a Street Car installed in the future. This would also encourage more people to leave their cars at home and not clog our streets.

    2. This is a BRILLIANT idea. If I could not take the bus and hop on a shuttle from SDA straight to RIA, I’d be there all the time. And please let Red Rocks happen.

  32. Some good ideas above.

    *Quick-service restaurants are probably going to happen regardless, I’d just hope that they were of good quality (Potbelly’s, Cosi, etc.) as opposed to the Subways and Popeyes we have in the area already.
    *A coffee shop would be great, even if it was Dunkin Donuts. I actually like Dunkin Donuts much more than Starbucks…of course something local or at least “else” would be better.
    *A DRY CLEANERS. It’s inexcusable that I have to go several blocks out of my way to find a dry cleaners! OXXO would be fantastic! Nothing like those quick-service, cheap places in the burbs, though…they ruin your clothes, make the neighborhood feel trashy, and are impossible to get in and out of if you work normal hours.
    *Yes, yes, yes to a pub or wine bar. Hopefully the ANCs can keep their noses out of any liquor licenses needed for that and…dare I ask…a nice liquor store.
    *SALON…PLEASE. Something reasonable but upscale…on the order of Bubbles or Bang. An independent shop would do too so long as it’s full-service and a real “salon”…not a haircutting or acrylic nails factory.
    *Shoe store (or a Steve Madden or Nine West)? Yeah, I have a problem…and the first step to conquering that problem is another pair of shoes.

    I also like the idea of the food trucks, so long as it’s regulated so that it doesn’t become a nightly carnival down there (I’ve seen things like that in college towns, and it’s not pretty when the street vendors cause lots of noise (generators), trash, people blocking up the sidewalk in line, drunk people passed out around them, etc.). Street vendors in general are a good idea, though, as I think they make it a truly vibrant and urban environment. I’m a big fan of the flower peddlers. Not so much the guys who show up at the Metros at rush hour (though they are convenient), but the guys who stake out a bit of sidewalk in some of the more residential neighborhoods. I think they just add so much life and color to the street. Not sure there’s much of a market for hot dog stands in this area, but could we possibly channel a little bit of New York and have newstands and the like? Big yes to street life!

    Yes to a farmer’s market, too. Would it be possible to block off half the main street for a weekly farmer’s market?

    Yes to things that will draw people in from the MBT. Any word on when they’ll build the bridge from the RIA Metro over to the trail? I haven’t heard a peep about that since the concept was first announced. That’s a big link between “us” and the rest of the city.

  33. I’d love to have a cafe (Starbucks or other), a drugstore/pharmacy, a dry cleaners, and some restaurants (not fast food or carry out). Some professional services would also be great, like dentist offices..

  34. I would love to see the following stores or types of stores and I have a strong preference for locally owned businesses over national chain operators:
    -a coffee shop with WiFi, such as Panera, or a locally owned similar establishment
    -a bookstore/cafe/bar/performance venue, like Kramer’s in DuPont Circle or Busboys & Poets
    -a restaurant with a variety of healthy/organic dishes at a family-friendly price and a neighborhood feel, such as Mark’s Kitchen, in Takoma Park.
    -a bike shop
    -a women’s clothing store for professional wear, such as Ann Taylor
    -a discount women’s clothing store, such as Ross.
    -a variety of locally owned ethnic sit-down restaurants, such as Indian, Thai, Japanese, Ethiopian, Mexi/Salvadoran, tapas, French bistro, Italian
    -an office supply store
    -a computer geek store, like Micro Center, in Rockville
    -A copy store, like Kinko’s
    -a craft supply store, like Michael’s
    -a shoe store
    -a hair stylist for all types of hair
    -a pet supply store (that does not sell dogs or cats–no puppy mills!)
    -a Verison store
    -a funky shop like Miss Pixie’s on 14th ST. NW
    -a yoga studio that offers reasonable rates, such as the non-profit, Yoga District
    -lots of bike parking and security!

  35. I must second Busboys & Poets and Trader Joes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Would love a coffee shop, local or local chain restaurants (Indian would be wonderful!)

    Good quick service restaurants like Moe’s, Potbelly, Panera, Cosi, Noodles and Comp, etc instead of Fast Food (Ms Donald’s, Burger King etc).

  36. Well, one thing is clear…we all want more than can fit in this small-ish space. You hear that retailers? Lots of open space on RIA to place the businesses that don’t make the cut for the actual station into the neighborhood! And lots of people clearly want you here.

  37. Agree with everything above… especially places that have good things for pets! One thing – while I’m also in agreement with the “no more Chinese carryouts” – as well as the other “NO MORE” items everyone else already listed – I do have to say that I am tired of having to go to Chinatown, the Virginia ‘burbs or Rockville or Wheaton to get decent Chinese food. I don’t know why NE DC and bordering PG can’t get it together to even have one good sit down Chinese restaurant that you’d feel good eating at. So as far as sit-down restaurants, if one was a local Chinese-owned restaurant that had good food – as someone above said, no plexiglass, no fried wings and mambo sauce, no cold cut sandwiches on the menu, but real Chinese food (or at least New York style Chinese food), that I could get behind.

  38. Ooh! Know what I just thought of! How about a road race or fun run? Neighborhood establishments (once established) could help sponsor, etc. It could take people through the ‘hood and wind around. It doesn’t even have to be that long – look at the Cupid’s Undie Run this weekend in DC, just a mile and a half, but it’s got a good gimmick to attract people.

    1. There is a 5K being held on the Met Branch Trail, I believe it’s scheduled for May. It’d be great if this becomes an annual tradition with local involvement. There’s a Yahoo group for the MBT, if you search for it. They also frequently post to the Brookland listserve, I believe.

  39. it’s amazing that the first metro station in the system is the last to see metro station oriented development. there still needs to be an increase in residential for all these dreams to come true.

    i would like to see places that will bring in daily customers. a sandwich shop. a restaurant. a bar. a gym. can we persuade Bank of america to move in a destroy their car oriented far too inadequate branch?, a police substation, an art center.

    i also love the notion of a shuttle bus to the RIA commercial corridor. i am less optimistic about the street car.

    1. Agreed. None of the business suggested hear can maintain themselves if there are no customers during the working hours of the week. Ward 5 doesnt have enough industry and daily workers to support all this retail. Even the resients propsed at this development are going to leave M-F 9-5 to work in other Wards. To get better retail, you have to focus on keeing jobs in Ward 5 so those employees are empowered to eat, shop, play and work near more retail/commerical spaces.
      Love all the great ideas though!

  40. A gym, a gym, a gym! Preferably Fitness First, as they are smallish and affordable, and they’d fit the space best. I’d love to see a bookstore and (I know I’m reaching here) a DSW. As far as food goes, I think a Pho place would be fantastic!

  41. – Brew-pub
    – Dunkin Donuts
    – Washington Sports Club
    – Guapo’s Tex-Mex Restaurant
    – Trader Joe’s
    – Pet store
    – Cosi
    – PF Chang’s

  42. I would love the following:
    *Gym (agrees with D on the Fitness First)
    *Coffee Shop with loungeability, like a Cosi)
    *Dry Cleaner with tailor
    *Day Care facility
    *Bar (perhaps talk to Big Joe the owner of Pour House, Argonaut, 18th Amendment etc)
    *Sit down restaurant, while ethnic would be excellent, judging by the demographics of the neighborhood I would leave towards surf/turf
    *Small mexican place (like tortilla Cafe on the Hill)
    *UPS store
    *small branch bank (I love the idea of getting BoA to scrap their little drive through and move into this area, a small one like over in ColMar Manor woudl be good)
    *book store, in a perfect world a straight-up book store, but probably more books and magazines
    *Petstore (I would be ok with even a chain like petsmart especially with grooming, I could stop going and spending my $$ in Greenbelt)
    *A Community space like the pace at Eastern Market that would be used for art showings and theatrical performances, used as a weekly yoga facility, has a removable stage.
    *a play ground in a central space, so that parents could watch their kid splay while they drank a coffee
    *a diner-ish spot
    * to those people asking for a police station, I believe there is one across the street.
    *wi-fi throughout, make the whole station a hot spot, that will foster community.
    *Pizza (wood fired brick oven)

    The worst thing we can do is what they did over in PG Plaza, the only thing worth going to over there is the five-guys and the movie theater, I’ve eaten at all their restaurants and have been VERY underwhelmed for the price.

    No liquor stores!

    I am very excited.

  43. It would be lovely to have a nice coffee shop that is child-friendly…a good bookstore would be convenient and desirable, also.

  44. This is great to see so many enthusiastic responses on this blog. It makes me think that our corridor can really support whatever businesses come to our neighborhood.

    Trader Joe’s would be a great anchor store, especially because it’s cheaper than Giant on many items. Other than that, I’d love to see local businesses thrive. Here are some of my favorites: City Bikes, Results Gym, El Tamarindo, Big Bear Cafe, City Lights of China, Vegetable Garden, Kramer Books/Afterwords Cafe, Politics and Prose, and Franklin’s Restaurant. Also, every time I pass by Jimmy Muscatello’s Uniform store across from the metro, I think that it would be a nice spot for a future restaurant with patio seating. Maybe one day…

  45. 1. Coffee shop
    2. Restaurant like Pete’s Pizza or Red Rocks
    3. Restaurant like the Diner or Open City or Busboys and Poets
    4. Dry Cleaners
    5. Drug Store
    6. Fro Yo
    7. Chipotle
    8. Book Store
    9. Bakery

  46. -chipotle or other “classy” fast food
    -my organic market (MOM) or trader joe’s
    -nice sit-down restaurants with vegetarian options; a good indian restaurant would be nice

  47. So I know this is slightly off topic, though I support many of the ideas mentioned above – a coffeeshop, a pub, another higher-scale bar/restaurant, cleaners, pet place.

    But I want to throw out an idea – what about pushing for a gym and bike shop at the other shopping center? I’ve seen Gold’s Gym fill in spaces even bigger than the former Safeway, and they were even able to offer a half-pool. Due to the easy access from the MBT, I think a bike shop would make a little more sense in this location. Finally, I think that back end of the Safeway parking lot, where they were holding the arts/crafts market, would make a great combo with a farmer’s market. Maybe the arts and crafts on Saturday and a farmer’s market during the week (less competition)?

    I know this comment thread was meant for the RIA development, but I think some of this speaks to a need for coordination and planning for the corridor as a whole, rather than each development on its own. Of course, I’m a heathen who supports the idea of a Wal-Mart at the former Safeway, so I’m probably very wrong. 🙂

    1. I know it might be a rub to some, but I’d like to see that plaza demolished and re-done from the ground up. It’s ugly and suburban. It would, IMO, be more appropriate in the long-run to build another multi-story, possibly multiple-building, mixed-use development there. There’s lots of space for it, but the massive under-used parking lot (if you can rent spaces for $50/month across the street from a Metro within the city limits, you’ve got too much parking), uninviting entry points, single-story layout, and ugly red roof need to go. It will be even better located once the bridge from the MBT to the Metro is complete, because new residents wouldn’t even have to walk on or cross a car-use street to get to the Metro! I’m not at all opposed to a gym/bike shop, but would prefer them in a new development…I’m thinking as rents rise the owner of the plaza might see the light. Looking at that plaza as it is now makes me sad.

      1. All good points – and in my mental image, Wal-Mart has the money to redevelop the plaza, including, I think, adding a parking deck instead of the massive hill/parking lot structure, and creating that more inviting entry. Then that could be the “family friendly” shopping center, while the RIA one is the “yuppy” development. But tearing it down for something sleek, vertical, and awesome architecturally would also get my vote.

  48. I know that in the end you’re going to choose the retail based on what pays the highest rent (I love all the people asking for a book store…ha, good luck with that!), but please, please please please, include as many food carts as you can in there!

  49. I agree with Ms. D….there are so many great ideas and not enough space in this one development. Hopefully it will be so successful that other developments will sprout up in the other 24 blocks of RIA. This will truly make RIA NE a “Great Street”.

  50. I would like to see:
    * a gym – Bally Total Fitness/Washington Sports/Gold’s Gym
    * a good sit-down restaurant with American fare – Sweetwater Tavern/Mike’s American
    Grill/Jackson’s/Ted’s Bulletin
    * a bookstore!!
    * a cofeeshop with longer hours – Starbucks/Caribou
    * a good Mexican restaurant
    * a Chop’t or Sweetgreen restaurant
    * an Apple store
    * a Whole Foods
    * a Rita’s (custard & italian ice)
    * a Sephora
    * and, yep I’m gonna say it – a Target

  51. Dream List:
    – Gym
    – Trader Joes
    – Independent coffee shop (will settle for Starbuck or Caribou)
    – Bar (ChurchKey, Brickskeller, Argonaut, Meridian Pint)
    – quality sit-down restaurant (local preferred, but will settle for a chain)
    – Bakery/cupcake/bagel shop
    – decent fast food (El Pollo Rico,Chipotle,Vipiano, Panera)
    – small local bank
    – Kinkos
    – Cigar shop (I know, I know)
    – 7 Eleven (Yes. We need a corner store) We don’t have a cornerstore in the entire area.It would be nice to have one that was open 24hrs/365.

    -A multi-use community space is a must. This could serve as a place to eat, art gallery, community meeting space. It would be nice if it had a moveable storefront to allow for larger crowds during the warmer months and maybe a place for families to meet with their children for play dates during the cold months.

    -A weekend Farmers market is a must. Close off the front portion of the street parking for one of the weekend days.

    -Free Wi-Fi access is a must.

    -I really like the idea of a shuttle to help the businesses further up the RIA corridor. Especially if we can getthe Greats Streets thing working for us. If you’ve ever walked the RIA, you probably noticed that there is absolutely nothing there worth walking too. These businesses should and would become viable if they had a steady flow of customers. BUT, a shake up in the types of business being offered is also in order along the RIA corridor.

    -Food trucks and a limited number of street vendors sounds like a good idea to me too.

    -I agree with asking BOA to move into a the development. I feel the bank would serve the community better by doing this. Lack of parking/Traffic/saftey concerns with the drive through are real issues with this branch. It feels like it should be a KFC/Taco bell/BK or some other fast food joint there if you ask me. (I know…you didn’t!)


    Liquor stores, Nail Shops, Realtor storefronts, Barber Shops, Shoe stores or dollar stores.

  52. Piling on with everyone elses comments, but I assume the more the developer sees the better.

    — Thai or Indian or both!!
    — Gym (Washington Sports Club would be AWESOME!!)
    — Trader Joe’s
    — Drug store that is NOT CVS
    — UPS Store
    — Coffee shop (Starbucks or independent)
    — Some local shops…jewelry/stationary, bakery, anything owned/operated by NE residents

    And just in case its relevant, please, please, please do not put in a liquor store, Chinese/Subs/Seafood takeout, or Pay-day loan store. We have enough of those already.

  53. I understand the opposition to liquor stores given the plethora of low-rent, crime and disturbance magnet eyesores we have around here, but I think something on the order of Schneider’s/Calvert Woodley/the wine shop in Kenyon Square in Columbia Heights would be a great benefit to the community. Right now, if I want a bottle of wine, I go to Giant because the stores we have don’t carry nice wines (for the most part) and I don’t want to support problems. But Giant has a fairly limited (and expensive) inventory of good, mid-priced wines. They’re not going to special order something for you. If I want a bottle of liquor, I have to travel. Surprisingly, some of the liquor stores around here do stock “the good stuff,” but I don’t like to support the problems (to reiterate), and I ALWAYS get harassed around these stores. I would love to be able to pick up a nice bottle of something from an attractive store in my own neighborhood. I mean, when I lived on the Hill, people would brag about how close they were to Schneider’s. Something like THAT would be amazing.

    1. Ms. D. I love the guys at Ole Reliable, go there, they don’t allow for rif-raf and they are slowing warming to the fact of the slow gentrification of the neighborhood, the added a ton of decent beers recently.

  54. Second schneiders. I still go there for most of my alcohol purchases even though it’s a hike. It would be great to have an upscale liquor store in the area.

  55. Wish list, of places I would actually patronize if they existed:

    1. Top priority:
    Ethnic restaurants, from carts to sit down places with a bit of charm,
    good burritos–I’d far prefer the small burrito shop or cart to a Chipotle type place

    a sit-down Latin American food place with some ambiance,

    any decent Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Ethiopian, or Vietnamese food–or a variety of these.

    or an Asian-fusion or a Teaism like place (a bit of calm beauty in the Northeast outside of the monastery would be great)

    The following are random, not in order of priority:

    2. a sit-down, hang out coffee house/ tea house cum used bookstore, or anything like that.

    3. an antique or thrift store with furniture and art–not too pricey, catering in part to the crowd of people fixing up their homes and drawn in to shop in the “far Northeast” by the presence of the Home Depot;

    4. a small branch of a good nursery like Merrifield’s would be great so as not to have to go Virginia to get plants

    5. a bike shop next to an REI type of place, both of which people in my family would patronize;

    6. a pet store that carries high quality pet would be a twice-weekly stop for me (I currently go to Takoma Park); small, local type preferred to a Petco. We would be a captive market for this–no such place exists anywhere nearby!

    7. Trader Joes and Whole Foods both rank high, and if they were closer, we would shop there more (but would still also go to Yes, Glut and Farmers’ Markets–we do not go to the Giant at all.)

    8. Clothing stores–we are about to get a T J Max there, that space should be able to support at least one other place, Ann Taylor’s might be right, or a even an upscale retro/ consignment clothing place.

    9. I badly need an art supply store–more of a Utrecht, not really a Michael’s. One cannot make RI Avenue into an arts corridor without an art supply store. One has to go to Baltimore currently; the one on 12th is very interesting and sweet, but limited.

    10. A bookstore/ newsstand.

    11. A cleaners with an “organic” dry cleaning option, and tailoring.

    12. A jeweler’s/ watch repair/ clock repair shop.

    OK, and I must add that I strongly second a Busboys and Poets–that would be hugely influential. One is opening soon in Hyattsville, but if there were one closer, I’d patronize it.

    I also second a shuttle, although there are plentiful buses on RIA.

    Retail works best, of course, when it plays off of and compliments the other nearby retail; a string of antique shops fare better than does just one, and a string of good restaurants will make a place into an eating destination–witness H street (examples abound in other urban areas).
    One anchor store to play off of and to compliment is Home Depot in that location. Another theme could be good, authentic ethnic food–that could even draw people down from Hyattsville and College Park.

    Thank you so much for asking us about what we want, and for providing a forum for this. Wow… to imagine a beautiful, clean, alluring Rhode Island Avenue, with those sweet storefronts housing viable, desirable retail, as I am told it used to be. It could start with the metro station, then spread in both directions, with help from the city.

  56. Independently owned pub / coffee house / great take out/ real deli with awesome sandwiches. NO CHAINS! Something Asian like Thai or Sushi would be wonderful. Make whatever it is family friendly.

  57. Posted for a friend:

    there’s a lot of disposable income in this community that would welcome table cloth restaurants on the order of Bus-Boys and Poets, or a Thai restaurant or southern Italian (Carrabus – sp.) — no soul food or fast food except maybe a Dunkin Donuts; coffee shops with terrace or patio seating in the spring and summer and early fall like Caribou or Starbucks; gyms like Results or Golds Gym; quality dry-cleaners for drop-off before the metro ride and pick-up on the way home; specialty markets like Trader-Joes; higher end butcher and deli shops that are eat-in and take-out; a branch of Chevy Chase or credit union; a post office with FedEx drop. Even a quality, moderately priced, spa — not just nail salon. I would love to see you develop a quality retail center.

    But please, don’t add a check cashing place or government services building.

    Our Woodridge is quietly changing to moderate and upper incomes. Rhode Island Avenue development could be the “bell of the ball”, and give stuffy Brookland a run for its money. Even rival U Street.

    By the way, a museum of the beginnings and history of zip codes 20017 and 20018 would be very educational. Traced back far enough, and you’d find that a portion of Woodridge was given to the Washington, DC to expand the District of Columbia’s seven square mile radius and this portion of NE. Just an idea.

    Affordable parking would be very nice as well.

  58. LOCAL BAR!!!! I am so tired of drinking on H ST or in Columbia Heights. I would love to walk home from my bar too!

  59. My list.

    Needs and wants:
    1. Coffee House
    2. Tap Room
    3. Small locally owned restaurants

    Don’t need:

    1. Rite Aid
    2. Bank
    3. Liquor Store
    4. Church
    5. DTLR/Foot locker type stores.

  60. I don’t really have any new ideas, but wanted to add my voice to the requests so far, in case the developers really are interested in what the readership of this blog would like to see in the space.

    I would love –

    *an independent coffee shop like tryst or bus boys and poets
    * a nice brew-pub with good beers or a wine bar
    * a wood fired pizza place or other nice sit-down restaurants
    * a good wine store
    * a bike shop
    * Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s

    Finally – a weekend farmer’s market would be fantastic!

    I’m excited to see what businesses come into this development. I think this could be a really great thing for the neighborhood!

  61. My list is similar to what’s already been suggested:

    – locally-owned non-chain
    – coffee shop
    – bakery or chocalatier
    – sit-down non-fastfood restaurant

    bookstore/paper products store
    – fitness center
    – bike shop
    – dry cleaner

    – chain/bigbox anything
    – liquor store
    – gas station

  62. A variety of retail would be great, such as:
    Some quick food options -Chipotle, Sweet Green, Z Burger, Surfside, Tangy Sweet or Rita’s
    an organic/specialty market
    a wine store/bar
    a casual bar – perhaps with entertainment like pool tables, darts and shuffleboard
    a few family friendly sit-down restaurants/bistro
    a drugstore – Rite Aid or Walgreens
    a coffee shop/bakery
    a gym
    a nail salon/spa

    1. There’s currently a Giant Food, McDonald’s, Papa John’s, Popeyes, Subway, CVS, Rite Aid and at least 3 Chinese carry outs within a 1-4 block radius of this site. What this area lack’s and need is;

      Trader Joe’s

      an area for local farms to have their produce sold

      a nice sit down family style restaurant offering a moderately priced menu

      an exercise facility

      COFFEE Shop

      a sandwich shop

      and as few chain places as possible

  63. I would like to see a ZIPs. The only one is on the other side of the city! It would amazing to have a clean, affordable dry cleaners. All the ones in the neighborhood are either DIRTY or OVER PRICED!
    Other things:
    Wine bar
    local owned coffee shop
    Small water fountain area with communal seating

  64. Is there an update to this post?? The last I heard retailers might be finalized by the summer, but it’s October and there hasn’t been any further news on this blog, or others. If any additional info is available from the developer, that would be great!

  65. I would like to see a Zaxby’s (southern fast food chain), Chipotle, Qudoba, Chik-fil-a, a Aleros, Au Bon Pan Elevation Burger,etc…. Please no more carry-outs. Good food, with some outdoor seating for the summertime. A wine/spirits store, Walgreens, ColdStone Creamery, a gym, and a HomeGoods or Bed Bath & Beyond would be perfect.

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