Sandlot Will Need to Thread the Needle

Yesterday, DC Urban Turf reported that an outdoor bar/food hall has been proposed for the now vacant lot where the Lukoil Gas Station stood at M and Pennsylvania.

Writer Nena Perry-Brown wrote:

Suite Nation is working on bringing its Sandlot brand to Georgetown next year, at the former site of a gas station at 2715 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (map). Similarly to Sandlot Southwest-turned-Sandlot SoutheastSandlot Northwest will have outdoor seating, a bar and restrooms retrofit out of shipping containers, and will host food trucks for its patrons.

Here is a splashy rendering that the man behind the idea tweeted out earlier this week:

When GM first heard of this idea, he got the Sandlot mixed up with the Bullpen. Both are outdoor gathering spots near Nationals Park, but the Bullpen is a somewhat notorious and bro-y frat party venue, whereas the Sandlot is a more sedate locale. So GM was relieved to discover his mistake.

That said, outdoor bars still can cause issues. It will take some good planning on the part of the Sandlot people to ease the nerves of those nearby. Noise is obviously the primary concern that would be raised. Even a relatively sedate outdoor drinking establishment is bound to attract its fair share of loud crowds. Exactly what liquor license it would use and what restrictions it would face is another obvious question. Would it need a tavern license since it might not meet the food sales requirements of a restaurant license? If so, can it get one?

Aesthetic concerns are probably also going to be raised. Seeing as the design calls for shipping containers converted to food commissaries it’s bound to rile up the traditionalists. But since the plan is for it to use temporary installations, it’s unclear whether bodies like the Old Georgetown Board would even have the authority to review it. And besides, this whole idea came about because Eastbanc has delayed the construction of its planned apartment building for the site. That building is unlikely to be particularly well liked either! So perhaps some will welcome the respite.

The Sandlot plan has potential. The streateries have shown that well done outdoor dining is very popular. And it could be a crucial tool in attracting people back to Georgetown to save our retail corridors. But it will take some careful threading of the needle by the organizers.

 

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Sandlot Will Need to Thread the Needle

  1. Thomas Neale

    The Eastbanc project was not bad, but that triangle cries out for use as a public amenity — it is the perfect size and location to be the Eastern Gateway to Georgetown, a bookend for Key Park at the western gate. It could house a badly-needed Visitors’ Bureau and comfort facilities, combined with a space devoted to outdoor dining, performances, and places where people could simply relax and view the passing parade. Mayor Bowser, step up to the plate, dust off the District’s eminent domain procedures, and save this little jewel for public use and enjoyment.

  2. kerlin4321

    This space is far too small, noisy, and exhaust-filled for this project or the hideous proposed Eastbanc hotel condo building. If a Sandlot actually were approved (which I seriously doubt), people would bake in the summer heat & humidity on a soul-less, concrete slab surrounded by noisy traffic and exhaust. In winter it would just languish or become a new homeless destination.

    I’d prefer seeing this little spit of land as a small, tree-filled park with some visitor amenities Mr. Neale proposed around one of the many historic fountains currently dumped on NPS property:
    https://ggwash.org/view/10903/historic-fountains-rot-away-in-a-local-national-park

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