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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What Would You Build at 1351 H Street?

popularise photo courtesy of Ben Miller of https://www.popularise.com
Photo courtesy of Ben Miller


The site Popularise officially launched Friday night. It's a crowdsourcing experiment from the guys at Westmill Capital. They recently acquired the autozone lot and 1351 H Street. Their hands are somewhat tied on the Autozone space (existing lease and all), but they are ready to move on 1351 H Street. The event itself was pretty damn cool. They gutted the building, but brought in couches, houseplants, and food and drink. The barebones space looked amazing. They also set up some computers, and a stage with a display screen. The computers were for attendees to suggest uses for the space through Popularise. The stage provided a setting for a sleek presentation on how the team wants to engage the community in the choice of future occupant. The existing list features some merchants who have already expressed interest. One potential candidate is a flagship store for the men's clothing line DURKL. Another option is Red Rocks Pizzeria. You can also suggest your own idea, or vote on the ideas of others.

So, what would you guys like to see at 1351? Please do submit your suggestions to Popularise. But also, what would you like to see all along the H Street Corridor (including Bladensburg Road, Benning Road, or even Florida Avenue). Special instructions for the comments on this one: Please specify if the suggestion is specifically for 1351 H Street. If it isn't, please specify the area in which you would like to see this particular business type. Bonus points if you can elaborate a bit on your proposed business, and why you think it might do well around here.

62 comments:

roxanneismyalterego said...

I've said this before on similar threads, so pardon the repetition. I would LOVE to see a mid-range resale/consign place go in somewhere in DC. It seems like there's almost nothing between Salvation Army on one end of the spectrum and much more high-end places (Current on 14th St NW comes to mind) selling the likes of Betsy Johnson and Michael Kors. I'm not a business expert, but I do know that retail is a pretty low-margin endeavor and it would definitely take some serious foot traffic in the area. But Plato's Closet and Buffalo Exchange have done the resale thing successfully for years. Wicker Park in Chicago is chock full of those places and they're packed every time I've been on a Saturday or Sunday.

inked said...

Roxanne,
Have you checked out the C.A.T. Walk Boutique (1404 H Street)?Glam Soup has some info.

Eric said...

We desperately need a viable gym. Nothing huge, but I'll bet a well-run gym would really be attractive as s walking distance option.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the burned out tire shop on the 1200 block of Florida turned into a hands on modern art and sculpture studio.

LoLo said...

I'd love to see a hardware store (like Fragers -- w/out the sea of parking lots) anywhere along the corridor. Maybe Benning would work better for loading and unloading. A plant nursery could also do well at 1351. We have so many urban gardeners over here.

Anonymous said...

A gym.

NiggaPlz said...

"...selling the likes of Betsy Johnson and Michael Kors..."

This ain't that sort of neighborhood, ifyouknowwhatimean.

oboe said...

like Fragers -- w/out the sea of parking lots

Frager's has a sea of parking lots?

NiggaPlz said...

"...I'd like to see the burned out tire shop on the 1200 block of Florida..."

...turned back into a burned out tire shop. Where will all the raccoons sleep?

NiggaPlz said...

Frager's has a sea of parking lots?

I think she/he meant getting rid of the auto garages. ..er..."parking lots" that are present

Anonymous said...

storefront church preaching the evils of drink

Anonymous said...

nice to see such a diverse turnout

Anonymous said...

lol @ anon 9:43

Anonymous said...

There already is a Fragers on H St.: Park's Hardware.

Anonymous said...

Gimme a break. Parks is like Fragers superlite.

RPW said...

A gym would be great somewhere on H or Florida. You already have the infrastructure at 1005 H. I think there is enough interest in the area to make it happen.

At 1351 I'd rather see retail like DURKL than another bar or restaurant on a block that's already crowded. Save the restaurants/bars for further west to kick start development on another block. Specifically I'd like to see a good Thai place.

Dave B said...

A store like Frager's is a pipe dream. Stores like them are being killed by Home Depot, etc. I don't know how Frager's does it. Perhaps some combination of good service, carrying exactly what people want, customer loyalty, convenience, and maybe they own their property.

Maybe Frager's could replicate their business model up here, but then you have to add in acquiring/renting expensive space, costs that I suspect are non existent at their current location and I think it becomes impossible

Anonymous said...

Don't know if space is right size but I think an REI would be successful on H.

fragers fan said...

Fragers survives because they have excellent customer service unlike Home Depot which is more chaotic than a bag of Jelly beans. Fragers in spite of small space are able to carry everything that one needs. Home depot off Brookland is the worst store in terms of customer service. You have to wait eons before you find someone to answer any question and 9 out of 10 they have no clue.

Trinidader said...

Would love a butcher shop or cheese place like Meat on the Avenue or Cheesetique in Del Ray (without turning our area into Del Ray).

lizzie said...

a dog park, please. if not then

Kenny G said...

or a habitrail park so I can get my gerbil out of the house once in a while...

Anonymous said...

KITE STORE! I am in the market for a custom, locally-sewn kite, but can't seem to find one. Please, please, please!

emo said...

Ditto on the habitrail

dt said...

A neighborhood hardware store (like the Ace on 5th St NW by the Safeway, or the True Value on 17th NW) would be great - unlike Home Depot, the employees are actually very knowledgeable. Unlike Park, they are actually open in the evenings and on weekends (Sunday too). Honestly I lived in the area for nearly 2 years before I even knew Park existed, and have still never been inside - because they are only open while I am at work.

Frager's succeeds because their hours are good, they have everything, their employees are helpful AND knowledgeable, and they provide services that Home Depot doesn't (like custom glass cutting). Ace/True Value is a chain, but is similar enough to be successful, and chain-y enough to open a new store with relatively little difficulty.

On another note, am I the only one who finds it odd that these guys bought so much property with (apparently) very little idea what to do with it? That sounds like a terrible business strategy - but then again, I'm not a real estate mogul.

Anonymous said...

as someone who goes to home depot, pretty much every week .. recently (last two months or so) the service has gotten a lot better. the shelf stocking is more a bit more organized / full as well.

a bit more on topic .. i'd double down on a thai place.. and i love redrocks!

emo said...

Also a jerk store a la costanza

HAHAHA!

Chris said...

As have said here before, I'd like to see the riot damage remedied: I'd like to see Chuck Levin's return to H Street. Moving into a building on the Autozone parking lot would be poetic, since that's where Chuck Levin's used to be before fleeing DC after the riots.

pamelaNeko said...

I would like to see small specialty retail shops, boutiques. A destination shop, like a hat store(i.e. Goorin Bros), kitchen store, record store, book store, designer/retro eyewear, accessories/jewelry by local artists, or geez a good shoe store would awesome.

Yeah, it's not something that current residents might NEED RIGHT NOW, however it seems like residents just keeping asking for things we already have (hardware store) instead of patronizing existing stores, giving them the revenue they need to be open longer hours or whatever. A small shop that offers unique goods that will attract people to come here specifically to shop, the foot traffic we need to support the retail opportunities on the street. Interestingly, those types of stores I mentioned were the boutiques that got Chicago's Wicker Park started, which can now support a half dozen consignment shops.

Or how about a specialty grocery store? Would love to see a deli, meat or cheese shop. A bakery, ice cream shop, candy store, etc would all be cool too.

poo poo 2 cents said...

I good strategy would be to have something for which the majority of residents in the area have to make a trek to go to other parts of the town. A gym is a good example, the nearest being Results and WSC both in SE. Rather than focusing on the "nice to have" options one should focus on establishments that will render it convenient for residents to just walk a few blocks away to get to.

Anonymous said...

Upscale hair salon or a doctor's office

Trinidaddy said...

I'd love to see a good country western bar complete with a mechanical bull, cheap drinks, girls in cowboy hats and drunken karaoke.

Anonymous said...

Something C&W but all boys..call it Rustlers.

Anonymous said...

or something that rhymes with it.

Ess said...

Pulp. There used to be by Eastern Market. Now, there is only one at U St. Yes, I could go over to U st and patronize them (which I do) but I would love for them to be back in my neighborhood again. I love you, Pulp! In case people don't know what I'm talking about...

http://www.pulpdc.com/

grr said...

and turn autozone into a busboys and poets already, damnit

Anonymous said...

I would love a bakery!

Brandon said...

There are a lot of great ideas on this list, who doesn't love a good country western bar? We definitely would encourage anyone who has an idea about what they think would add the to H Street community to suggest it on Popularise.com

Some of these ideas have already been posted (hardware store, gym, diner) but we haven't seen much support for them...

Let us know what you think.

- Brandon, Popularise Team

Derek said...

What I would like to know is, now that there is a new owner for the Autozone will they prevent the typical dumping that has been going one in the lot?

dgh said...

A bakery, a bike shop or something like Fragers would be great...Parks is not up to date on what they carry and do not seem to be keeping up with the demographics of this changing area...

inked said...

derek,
While the Autozone lot has a new owner, it will still be operated and maintained by Autozone.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a good German/Austrian Konditerei/bakery. I used to go out to the Rolling Pin in Bladensburg for my bread and pastries but they just closed after ~50 yrs.

H Street Landlord said...

Um, I like Park's.

As for what I would put at 1351 H - honestly, something entertaining. A small grocery (which sells beer) coupled with a bar which is themed - not quite sure. Certainly should utilize the prime storefront.

Anonymous said...

A Gold's or WSC would serve the community well.

NiggaPlz said...

Stores like them are being killed by Home Depot, etc. I don't know how Frager's does it...

Clue: Frager's ain't hurtin'.

Anonymous said...

We need more pay toilets.

oboe said...

We need more pay toilets.

You mean like toilets that pay you a small amount for actually using them? That's sheer genius! Throw in some "pay garbage cans" and we could truly revolutionize the area!

Anonymous said...

I barely use the free trash cans. If I had to pay I would never use them (well at least west of 8th street, because that's the gross part of H where I don't live).

Adina said...

I kind of skimmed through the comments, so someone may have already suggested this, but we need somewhere to purchase good wine! I saw a comment about meat and cheese. There should be a small gourmet grocer where you can get produce, cheese, wine, and flowers set out of the sidewalk (like in Paris and New York).

inked said...

5:09,
Sounds suspiciously like Remington's.

Anonymous said...

wig shop please.

Anonymous said...

@inked said...

Sounds like but does it rhyme with Rustlers?

Anonymous said...

gym! gourmet cheese, meat & wine! diner type spot for breakfast!

Anonymous said...

@anon 7:20 - there is a real diner 3 blocks away from there on Bladensburg. The Cap City Diner.

Anonymous said...

There is also a Denny's now! Which strangely enough I like better than the dinner.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this exact location would be appropriate, but I would LOVE to have a Trader Joe's anywhere within the NE/SE DC area.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and it is my understanding that Trader Joe's needs sufficient parking to open another location in the District, so this location would be PERFECT !

Anonymous said...

Retail! Shoes, or consignment, or funky hip clothing.

Anonymous said...

Bakery!

Anonymous said...

It would be great if A Literi moved to H st --- maybe not in this spot but somewhere close.

tarisdaddy said...

How about a used book store that also sells records, cd's, and men and womens apparel new and used. Plus a coffee shop with alcohol.

Sort of Krammers/Urban Outfitters meets second story book store. I think H Street is ready to support a used book store. Every hip neighborhood in the country has a used book store and used record store. Can't we support one?

Hell, throw in consignment used furniture as well... .. i mean better stuff than the salvation army.

I'd be happy with any combination of the above as long as there is good beer and cocktails.

Rhi said...

Recommendation for 1351 H Street: I know of an incredible yoga studio (very unique workout experience: incredible facilities, good hip music, very community oriented, hot/vinyasa but also have toning and spinning classes, etc) that has become a craze in every city they've been able to establish themselves in: CorePower Yoga. They're INCREDIBLE and looking for space in DC...they're first east coast location. I'D LOVE TO SEE COREPOWER THERE! Just looked up their contact info:(p) 866.441.9642, tim@corepoweryoga.com