Morning Rundown

Near the Eastern Market Metro station

Amtrak Rider Picks Up Wrong Bag, With $17,900 — An Amtrak passenger at Union Station ended up with $17,900 in cash after he picked up the wrong backpack. His find started a federal investigation into a New York man convicted for dealing drugs. [NBC4]

Uline Arena Redevelopment Gets Go-Ahead — Douglas Development received a permit this week to start renovating Uline Arena in Near Northeast. The historic former stadium will hold sporting goods store REI, which is slated to open in late 2016. [Washington Business Journal]

Boundary Changes for Eastern High School School boundary changes that would affect Eastern High School in Ward 6 and other schools won’t improve them, Washington Post columnist Jonetta Rose Barras wrote this week. “Truth be told, the adjustments potentially devalue the substantial investments the city has made in modernizing school facilities, starve some schools of students, exacerbate crowding and slow community development.” [Washington Post]

‘Bar Madness’ Pits Hill Bars Against Each Other — Matchbox, Park Tavern, The Ugly Mug and other bars around Capitol Hill are vying for the title of best bar in The Hill is Home’s “Bar Madness.” [The Hill is Home]


(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Inside Uline Arena, artifacts of the building’s varied history abound. Old, orange stadium seats show where spectators watched concerts. Wooden panels used to convert the hall into a basketball court are stacked on the dirt-covered floor. And plumbing used to create an ice rink can be spotted through a hole.

All this is according to REI executives, who gave Hill Now a tour of the cavernous NoMa arena that offered glimpses of its history and of what the sporting goods store REI will build there.

REI will open a 51,000-square-foot store at M Street NE and Delaware Avenue NE that retains historic elements of Uline Arena, executives said this afternoon.

“We know how to be responsible with a building like this and not over-design but reveal elements that highlight the history of the space,” said Rachel Ligtenberg, a vice president for retail. REI has experience creating stores in other historic buildings, like inside New York’s Puck Building.

REI confirmed on Wednesday that they would move into the space completed in 1941.

The store — which will be REI’s first in Washington — will have 21-foot ceilings, with differences of elevation inside and separate “activity gear shops,” Ligtenberg said. To achieve the store’s height, workers will dig 5 feet down.

The entrance will be on M Street NE, and the western wall on Delaware Avenue NE will be lined with 16-foot-tall windows. The southwest corner of the building, with 25,000 square feet, will be rented to a separate retailer. The adjacent Ice House building will become a restaurant, Ligtenberg said. Closer to the vaulted ceiling will be three floors of office space.

REI began talking with Douglas Development, which owns the arena, 16 months ago, Ligtenberg said. The arena was the location of The Beatles’ first U.S. concert, the site of President Dwight Eisenhower’s inaugural ball and was then used as a sanitation garage and parking lot.

The store is slated to open in late 2016.


Morning Rundown

Houses on F Street NE

Morton’s Pharmacy Robbery Update — The same three men who robbed Morton’s Pharmacy on Friday are wanted for robbing two stores in Anacostia, too. The masked men stole cash and prescriptions, and at least one has a gun. [Washington Post]

Uline Arena Redevelopment — In addition to the District’s first REI sporting goods store, the Uline Arena in NoMa will have room for 20,000 square feet of additional retail space and three floors of offices. [Washington Post]

New Design for Big NoMa Building — The design of the Union Market residential and retail complex planned just north of the NoMa Metro station has been revised to “reflect the industrial character of the neighborhood.” [Urban Turf]

Winter Weather Today — Rain and sleet are likely today between 5 and 8 p.m. [National Weather Service]



(Updated at 11:40 a.m. Thursday) It’s official: the sporting goods store REI will open in the historic Uline Arena building in NoMa, the company confirmed Wednesday evening.

The first REI store in D.C. will sprawl 51,000 square feet in the loaf-shaped brick building visible from the NoMa-Gallaudet University Metro station. It will offer cycling, camping and skiing equipment to buy and rent.

“Our Washington, D.C. flagship will be an immersive experience — much more than a retail store,” company president and CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a statement. “We think that people in D.C. who love the outdoors want a place where they can come together to dream and scheme about their adventures.”

REI will employ 150 people in the building where President Dwight Eisenhower held his inaugural ball and The Beatles played their first U.S. show.

NoMA BID president Robin-Eve Jasper said the business offers the area a boost.

“NoMa-ites of all stripes will benefit from REI’s focus on healthy living and support of the community,” she said.

A Douglas Development representative reportedly confirmed in early December that the store would open in the arena, and then REI told Hill Now it wasn’t a done deal.

The store will open in late 2016, the company said.

Rendering courtesy of REI


REI (Photo via Facebook/REI)The sporting goods store REI has not finalized its decision to open its first District store inside the redeveloped Uline Arena, a company representative said Friday.

The statement comes just days after a Douglas Development representative reportedly confirmed that the sporting goods store would open an outpost in NoMa, at 3rd and M streets NE.

“We love the D.C. area and we are delighted there’s excitement about talk that we’re looking at Uline. We have been talking with the developer, but need to clarify that we have not finalized the decision,” Senior Vice President of Retail Tim Spangler said by email.

“We need the perfect location to create a unique and inspiring space for our members and the community,” Spangler continued.

Douglas Development Senior Vice President Normal Jemal said his company and REI have a “commitment” for the location, Urban Turf reported. A story yesterday from Washington Business Journal then cited Jemal as saying REI had not officially committed to leasing space.

Douglas Development did not immediately respond to an inquiry about REI’s statement today.

Photo via Facebook/REI


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