I am thrilled to tell you about the latest local venture from HR-57 owner Tony Puesan. He's going to bring a pop-up form of HR-57 to a space he dubs the Gallaudet Pavilion. The Pavilion will be located on the fenced grassy area behind Union Market. That site had the old market sheds that were erected for vendor use before construction was complete on the original Union Terminal Market (AKA the Florida Avenue Market), but after vendors had to relocate from the old Central Market to make way for the National Archives building.
Puesan aims to create a space in the community where people can gather in the evenings and on weekends to relax and unwind. He plans to incorporate local food and merchandise vendors who are just starting out, transforming the weedy lot into a sort of business incubator connecting potential customers and those with entrepreneurial dreams.
The space will host concerts several times a week, and the offerings won't be confined to jazz performances. Puesan has talked in the past about his wishes to open a blues bar, and this is perhaps an extension of that concept. Listeners will be able to enjoy jazz, blues, blue grass, country, and other genres of music. You'll also still be able to catch the lively jam sessions HR-57 hosted regularly.
Many of these concerts will be offered free of charge, but some will require tickets. That means the fences will stay up, but Puesan plans to perform the necessary repairs and enhance the fences with art work from a community artist. Puesan says he has no plans to erect any permanent structures on the site. He expects to use the site only over the span of the the next 2-3 years before the developer who owns the lot is ready to break ground.
Puesan is also interested in partnering with local festivals. He specifically mentioned the Capital Fringe Festival (Capital Fringe recently relocated their headquarters to 1358 Florida Avenue in Trinidad) and the Capital Pride Festival. He also hopes to work with other local community groups and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions that might have an interest in hosting public events. Most regular and community events will be open to all ages. On weeknights shows would run from early evening until about midnight, and on weekends that window stretches from mornings until 1am (aside from on the Gallaudet campus side there is very little housing near the light industrial zoned Florida Avenue Market).
An old photo shows one of the sheds behind Union Market that once hosted vendors
There will be food. DCity Smokehouse (bar-b-que) will be the permanent food vendor on-site (available at least six days a week), but they'll have a bunch of other food vendors who will rotate through (for some events they will have several food vendors at once). Not surprisingly, some of these vendors will be associated with nearby food business incubator Union Kitchen. Puesan specifically mentioned Timber Pizza.
Puesan hopes to hold the first event in late April or early May. From that point on the Gallaudet Pavilion will be open seasonally from April-November. Puesan has already started to spiff the place up a bit. Look for picnic tables on the grassy areas, and a sort of 5th street beach covered in white sand. As a customer you will be invited to BYOBC (Bring Your Own Beach Chair).
At some point you'll even be able to enjoy an adult beverage as you enjoy the music. Puesan plans to apply for liquor license (tavern license or a special event license) and is currently introducing himself at Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings to let everyone know about his plans.
The lot actually belongs to Gallaudet University, which is allowing (free of charge) HR-57 to transform the lot into a community space in the interim before construction commences. Sam Swiller, Director of Economic and Real Estate Development at Gallaudet said that Tony Puesan "has been great to work with" and also told me the following:
Gallaudet is at the very end of a developer selection process, which began with an RFQ in 2013, for roughly 7 acres of University land straddling 6th street. We are in exclusive negotiations with JBG and expect to have our development agreements wrapped up within the next 3 to 6 weeks.