Wednesday, December 15, 2010

L'Enfant Promenade Food Court Nears Completion

Last week, the 9th & D Street entrance to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station reopened after closing for a couple weeks to allow construction crews to make upgrades to sections of La Promenade - the retail area of L'Enfant Plaza that has been under renovation since last November. After the first phase opens in the first quarter of 2011, a new food court will be in operation (March?) with confirmed tenants including Au Bon Pain (which was at the old Promenade), Potbelly Sandwich Works, Roti Mediterranean Grill, Mamma Ilardo's, Frozen Yogurt Indulgence, and Gourmet Too (also in the old promenade). Hours of operation have not been set for all the restaurants yet, but some of them most likely will remain open in the evenings and weekends. Contrary to popular belief, the promenade is not located underground. The retail area under renovation now has windows facing the courtyard next to HUD headquarters to bring in more natural light as well as a modern design. Once phase one is complete, phase two will begin, which includes the remainder of the promenade and the installation of a large glass atrium to replace the pyramid currently used as a skylight. The second phase won't open until fall/winter 2012. To me, the new promenade looks a bit like an airport terminal. The old design, though definitely looked dated. See below.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Credit where it is due: The promenade renovation was designed by SmithGroup.

SWill said...

Anonymous: I have. On multiple occasions. For instance, there is a link on the post to a previous post that mentions in the first sentence who owns L'Enfant Plaza and who designed the promenade renovation. I don't feel the need to repeat everything every time I write a post on a specific topic, especially if a link is embedded in a post to more information about the project.

Bob Craycraft, ANC6D01 Commissioner said...

The renovations to L'Enfant Plaza, including the Promenade, can be a very important quality of life improvement for many 6D01 residents.

I would welcome community suggestions on what residents might like to see added or improved in L'Enfant Plaza/Promenade?

Thanks for keep us updated, Will.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I would suggest to make it so one can easily see the entrance to the Promenade from 9th St. Make it so that giant wall next to staircase up to the promenade is removed or glass. The promenade would succeed also if it were open 'stree-level' shopping and not an indoor mall.

Anonymous said...

SWill: No need to get defensive, I wasn't accusing you of anything or trying to criticize. I was simply pointing out the information that wasn't included in your post and that readers might not be aware of.

Architects frequently seem to be lambasted when the public is unhappy, but rarely credited for their contribution when a design is a success. So I thought I would mention that in this case, the success is due in part to the architect's efforts.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty antiseptic looking, I have to say. Especially that white ceiling. I think it needs more color.

DavidSW

AK said...

I agree that it is rather antiseptic looking. However, it is now clean and modern and bright -- a great contrast to its previous dark and depressing appearance. Hopefully more color and life will be added as new businesses begin to open.

Along those lines, I'm thrilled that some new food vendors offering a better variety of options will be arriving. A salad vendor like Chop't or Sweetgreen or something along those lines would be wonderful.

In addition to new food and retail establishments, I hope some of the current businesses that meet the practical needs of the local employees and hotel guests will remain, albeit in nicer quarters, like the reasonably priced dry cleaner that is run by wonderfully nice people.

AK said...

One more thing about the L'Enfant Plaza renovations -- ACCESS. As Bob Craycraft noted in his comment, L'Enfant Plaza could be a convenient option for local residents, not just those who work or are guests of the hotel at L'Enfant Plaza. I think some people tend to forget that there are a lot of SW residents who live within just a few blocks of L'Enfant. Given the location of my condo, it would be just as convenient for me to shop & eat at L'Enfant as at the new Waterfront Station -- IF there were stores and restaurants open in the evenings and on weekends & IF it were easier to gain pedestrian access to L'Enfant Plaza from 7th St. These are two big "ifs." Changes to the maze-like, pedestrian-unfriendly infrastructure such as the roads and sidewalks between L'Enfant and 7th St., particularly via G St. SW, are desperately needed so that, as L'Enfant Plaza hopefully improves and becomes a more desirable retail location with better hours, local residents can more easily access the plaza for their shopping & dining needs.

Anonymous said...

I agree with AK. Could a pedestrian entrance be added to the south (toward Frontage Road) side of the new foodcourt, and maybe even an outdoor seating area?