14 Sep 2016


REI Will Open 10/21– Peek Inside the Construction Site!

DSC_0004Claudia and I were recently invited to a walk-through of the construction site and a lunch/discussion at the neighboring Wunder Garten pop-up. During the walk-through, which is recorded in good detail (even with video!) over at Curbed– along with renderings of what the store will look like– we were told about the plans for the store/community space. In its current status, the Uline Arena is still an active construction site, but you can already see where all the major areas of retail and gathering will go. One of the most exciting developments for the Near Northeast neighbors will be the partnership of REI with Philadelphia-based coffee roasters

One of the most exciting developments for the Near Northeast neighbors will be the partnership of REI with Philadelphia-based coffee roasters La Colombe. Fans of pedigreed coffee may already visit La Colombe’s other DC locations near Logan Circle and in Shaw at Blagden Alley, so rejoice, caffeinated masses: La Colombe comes to the wrong/so right side of the tracks! The coffee shop will be at the the M Street entrance, and will be available even when the rest of the store is not.

The store, which will dominate the main ground area, integrates aspects from the original space: For instance, the floor that used to be the basketball court will be seen throughout the store, lovingly restored but showcasing its woody grit. In order to accommodate all the different store elevations, it was necessary to excavate the ground below street level. In so doing, the concrete foundation is exposed in certain areas, showing off its great bones.

Another place where the familiar architecture takes center stage is a small courtyard off the eastern side of the building: What was a problematic wedge of land between the main arena and the future access to the Douglas Development offices (which soon will be  headquartered above REI) became, through creative use of the space, a little outdoor urban oasis where to sip your coffee and plan adventure.


Below you can see both architectural renderings of what the store will look like once it opens in early fall. You can also see some of the pieces that are already in place and taking shape inside the construction site. Among the more exciting space is a community meeting room that will be free to use for local organizations and groups with a focus on the outdoors and activities.

The store’s opening on October 21 will be celebrated with a series of events and block party. Keep your eye on our event calendar for a full rundown of all of the ways you can take part in its opening weekend!

REI Uline_Concept_Cycle Shop

REI Uline_Concept_Frontline

REI Uline_Concept_plaza

REI Uline_Concept_action sports

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