The new mixed use development called Rhode Island Row had its grand opening yesterday (Thursday, June 21) and the neighborhood turned out to enjoy some great food from Carolina Kitchen, great locally brewed beer from DC Brau, and even greater company (the Friends of RIA were well represented in their t-shirts). The new development, already with an open CVS, will also include a Carolina Kitchen, a Chipotle, and many other retailers. Residents are already living in the residential units above the retail spaces and many could be seen enjoying the live music of the grand opening party from their balconies all around the pool area.
Below are some pictures from the event that we found on Twitter…if you attended and have more, send them to the Insider so we can include them!
17 thoughts on “Rhode Island Row Grand Opening”
I couldn’t attend. But here are a few modifications/additions I’d like to see at RIR:
1) Replace the fountain at the entrance with splash fountains, so that kids can use it. There’s an excellent example of this at the Rockville Metro Station Town Center in front of their gorgeous libary. It’s a blast! The kids love it! And, since the pool in one of those pictures is only accessible on a private basis, the multiple splash fountains would make the whole area community friendly.
2) Add some trees on this same street leading from the fountain to the CVS. It’s too hot and dry without any trees there.
3) When are we getting the bikeshare at RIR?
Hi Woodie, We’re sorry you couldn’t make it to the event. While we also love the idea of a splash fountain at RIR, there really isn’t sufficient space at this location for a safe splash fountain and the pedestrian clearances we need on all sides of it. However, as retailers begin to open at RIR, we plan to have outdoor seating added around the fountain, which we hope will make the fountain more of a focal point and hangout spot.
As for your comment about the trees, we agree that it would be great, but those trees were intentionally left out because the primary retail signage board for the development will be located on the brick wall immediately adjacent to this area. Adding trees would block the signage, restricting the public’s ability to see which retail tenants we have.
We also agree about that bringing a Bikeshare to RIR would be awsome; we would love to work with the city and Metro to get a bikeshare at the Metro platform, where there’s plenty of space for it! Thanks for your great feedback!
I didn’t see where I could park publicly easily. Is the parking garage there going to be 100% permit only? Is the parking lot behind CVS going to be for everyone?
Hi, Dee! We will be opening the parking garage behind CVS to the public as soon as the parking controls are installed – stay tuned and thanks for asking!
I didn’t see any kids in the photos. Is RIR an adult only, mostly singles development? If so, sad use of Transit Oriented Development. It should be liveable and accessible to all age groups.
There were some kids there but just because people didn’t bring kids to the event didn’t mean it isn’t kid-friendly. Sometimes you need to assume people just didn’t bring their kids or people who took photos didn’t take any of kids. Don’t assume the worst.
While I can’t speak for the whole building (as the complex is fairly large), as a resident I can confirm that there are plenty of kids in the building, in addition to several expecting monthers that I see around the building on a regular basis. There is a very wide age range as well, which I think works best. I’d prefer not to live in a mostly younger crowd, as they make too much noise.
I’ve seen a few kids on balconies as I’ve passed by, but only a few. I really haven’t seen any seniors living at RIR at all. So, I don’t think RIR accomodates everybody. Need to see the stats for age distribution of residents. I’m sure this is the case with all new developments including the Mint at 4th & RIA
Art Enables exhibited artwork at the event (and sold a piece to a really nice resident who likes abstracts, so win-win for being there), and it was a really nice evening. I got to meet the FORIA folks, meet some new folks, and see one of the apartments on the patio and pool level, which was quite nice. There was a mix of people, including families w/kids as well as grownups. A lot of people kept cool by dipping their legs in the pool (the heat was pretty brutal), and the pool area had bar setup with fruit smoothies from Windows. The food from Carolina Kitchen was really good, but I was too hot to eat much – hanging the artwork left me a sweaty mess, so I probably detracted from the atmosphere, hah. I appreciated being invited to show our artists there and for meeting our new neighbors, and on behalf of Art Enables I’d like to thank the Rhode Island Row people for including local businesses and nonprofits in the event.
Hi Mary, Congrats on selling a piece of art at the opening! We’re really glad that you were able to be a part of the celebration and are more than happy to be able to support Art Enables and all the wonderful work you do for local art in our community.
Why is the pool so small???!!?!??!??!! I frequent RIA station, and have seen the development since its inception, and I think they dropped the ball on this. The complex is large, yet the pool can hold what 20 ppl comfortably? Anyway, I don’t live there, so it does not matter, but I found it really odd. People want a space to spread out and chill and this is very cramped–yes, i understand it is in the city, and real estate is not cheap. Anyway, they could use more green space…wonder if Buzzoto and the builders thought about that. All of the renderings were colorful, but all buildings. This station, like most Metro stations, is drab as heck, but i like the shrubs, small plants, etc that have been planted.
Just my personal experience, but I have lived in a few large apartment complexes in my life, and visit friends who live in large buildings with pools regularly – they really aren’t used as much as you would think. The huge building I lived in in Silver Spring when I first moved here might have 20 or 30 people at the pool on the hottest of days, and there were many evenings we went down to the pool later in the evening (it closed at 10, so it wasn’t THAT late), and we were the only people there. My friend who I visit the most lives in one of those HUMONGOUS buildings in Crystal City, and even this HOT HOT HOT weekend, there were maybe 40 people, including the 10 of us, using the pool area, and few enough were swimming for a small group of guys to get a full-on polo game on without disturbing anyone. So, I guess, I think it’s a wise use of space to keep the pool small, given these experiences.
It’s my understand that the building also has a green roof, for some green space. What the development REALLY needs is better connections with the surrounding community. Every morning while walking to the Metro, I see several people walking their dogs on the main street, and it makes me think that there’s just not enough space there to get a good dog walk in, and the connections to more residential neighborhoods where walking the dog, or even yourself, would be more pleasant and productive are few and poor. The bridge to the MBT will help, but it really needs to be easier and more pleasant to get out of the development and into the surrounding neighborhood (for instance, easier and safer to access and cross RIA).
I agree with needing a place to walk dogs and a larger place for swimming, indoors and out. That’s why I suggested the splash fountains outside the gated area so the public with their kids can cool off in that area, too. So far, the development is too restricted. I suggested patterning it after the splash fountains at the Rockville Metro Town Center. Also the advertising at RIR has no kids in any of its photos. It would should be a kid and family friendly place, not just for young singles. The dogs could also enjoy the splash fountain. RIR might consider putting up a rooftop dog park, if there is room. I really like the rooftop basketball court at Great Mountain Calvary. You can see it from the RIA Metro Rail platform. As more development goes up in the area, they should include better use of rooftops.
Just speaking practically, a splash fountain seems to me like it would take up that whole corner, therefore, anyone needing to walk around the corner would get wet doing so, whether they wanted to or not. That corner also has no barrier from the busy road right next to it, so I’m not entirely sure it’s the best place for kids to be running around (even if well supervised, if excited by playing a kid could dart into the street). Most of the splash fountains I’ve seen take up a good bit of space, which isn’t really available in that particular location. It’s a good idea as an asset to the community, but there might be better-suited locations for it nearby. Perhaps there’d even be enough room for one along the MBT right by the future bridge? That’s the only place I can think of right now, but I’m sure there are lots of other great potential locations with the space and safety features that corner lacks.
It’s illegal to refuse to rent to someone based on family status. Of course, DC is chock-full of young professionals, and they are often the ones willing and able to pay the rents like RIR charges. So I’m not terribly surprised that the vast majority of residents are younger singles/couples. That said, the larger buildings I’ve lived in and visited did/do have some families living in them, without really providing any kid-specific amenities. We’re fortunate to have a killer park right up RIA, several nearby rec centers, and access to the MBT, which provide many more family-friendly amenities than many neighborhoods have. I’d rather have the building become more intertwined with the larger community, and its residents more interconnected with their neighbors, than try to make it even more of a one-stop shop for the residents, possibly at the expense of the density that pays for the build, amenities that can serve a broader swath of neighborhood residents, or the quality of amenities provided (when you try to have it all, each item is often lower-quality than providing a few amenities and doing them right).
Thanks for the breakdown, Ms D. You are right..even today, in this sweltering heat, only saw about three people on the pool deck–no one was in the water, granted it was just too uncomfortable even if you wanted to just sit around and dip your toes in.