Getting the right mix of businesses is crucial in an urban area, especially such a high profile and bustling stretch like the 1800 block of L Street (between 19th and 18th). There’s plenty of stake and the neighborhood’s identity can shift with each new entry into the retail and/or hospitality industry equation.
As we reported recently, TreyBCakes closed its doors after a three-year run on the block. Its presence, featuring cakes and pies and eventually focusing more on cupcakes, made the area something of a dessert hot spot, given that Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Devine Gelateria and Yogurtagogo were all nearby.
We’ve received mixed responses to the news that Wahoo’s Fish Taco, a small but respected chain based in Southern California, would be occupying a ground-level retail space in the stylish and upscale 1818 L lofts that had sat vacant since the building opened more than five years ago. That wasn’t quite the prestige eatery some were hoping for, but we’ll keep an open mind and certainly hope it brings something new to the block.
So what would we like to see in the now vacant TreyBCakes space? I threw that question out on Twitter and we got plenty of response.
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As someone who writes about restaurants, I was thinking about a new eatery or bar. But a non-food retail establishment would certainly be welcome. Midtown/downtown is weighted heavily toward restaurants, bars and hair salons, suggesting there is an opportunity for a new concept.
Our own Chris Macias was the first to weigh in with a great idea:
@Blarob A bakery a la Village Bakery in Davis— Chris Macias (@chris_macias) February 1, 2014
Some could sense that TreyBCakes was struggling. It’s usually pretty obvious (and sometimes painful to see an empty storefront):
@Blarob Knew it was only a matter of time.. Feel bad, every time I walked by it was empty. Good luck to the owners.— Frank (@ILoveGoofballs) February 1, 2014
Here’s a niche business that might find a following:
And an Apple store would certainly bring in steady traffic (despite recent reports that the tablet market is on life support):
@Blarob Some kind of can't miss non-food retail would be nice...like an apple store or something.— Nick Leonti (@NLeonti) February 1, 2014
The block in question is part of what has become known as the Handle District, which has plenty of restaurants to draw visitors, including Mulvaney’s, Paesanos, Mangia, The Press Bistro, 58 Degrees & Holding, Zocalo, Aioli, Buckhorn, Capital Dime, among them. So I asked Seann Rooney, executive director of The Handle Business District (made up of 30 businesses) and, along with his wife, owns a loft unit at 1818 L, what he would like to see added to the mix. He initially was hoping for something upscale in the spot soon to be occupied by Wahoo’s but has since heard positive things about the chain.
He replied via email:
“I've always felt that getting a new restaurant in the loft building was important to making it successful project and further a thriving business district. But finding the right balance of goods and services in the neighborhood is important. We've got 10 highly rated restaurants in the Handle District (one square block), so ideally any new business in the space would complement the current configuration. My sources are telling me that they feel the future tenant here will be a good fit for the space and the surrounding community ... . Clearly, as an owner in the building I have high expectations, but I really do believe the patrons who visit the district do expect more. Midtown continues to thrive because it is special.”
Back to Twitter, where a little sarcasm is always appreciated :
What would you like to see added to the vibrant midtown mix. Let us know. We’ll be sure to revisit this topic soon.