When they're in Washington, DC, for a convention, meeting attendees typically congregate at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center -- then promptly flee the area to eat, shop, and socialize in more desirable parts of the city. The city's convention and sports authority, Events DC, wants to change that. It's therefore hired local real estate consultancy Streetsense to help it lease 11 retail spaces totaling 19,000 square feet on the exterior of the convention center, in the city's Shaw neighborhood, it announced yesterday.
"The vacant retail spaces in and around the convention center present a tremendous opportunity to invigorate the community," Max Brown, board chair for Events DC, said in a statement. "Engaging the local neighborhood is one of our top priorities and we are focused on finding the right retailers to fill the available space to continue the revitalization of Shaw, and connect the corridor from U Street down to New York Avenue."
Events DC intends to infuse the convention center with a mix of vendors that will appeal to both visitors and locals, including restaurants, services, and merchants.
"There is positive momentum to bring our vision to life -- in fact, our partner Streetsense has already hit the ground running," said Gregory A. O'Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. "They have been actively pursuing exciting new concepts for retail at the convention center and, as a result, we are in discussions with several amazing prospects that we believe our customers, residents, and visitors to the convention center will thoroughly enjoy."
According to Events DC, current plans for the Shaw area include exploring the modification of existing retail storefronts, offering neighborhood-serving goods and amenities, and repositioning the fascia along 9th Street NW by incorporating artistic elements, murals, and vertical plant installation.
"We are thrilled to join Events DC in this endeavor and remain enthusiastic about the area's growth and long-term potential," said Marc Ratner, CEO of Streetsense. "We look forward to making a constructive impact on the community and the cityscape of the convention center."
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