Winery for Dupont Underground?

by Mark Wellborn

Last night, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development presented plans for what will become of the Dupont Underground. It appears that, among other things, there might be a winery under Dupont Circle.

The eight-block long, 100,000 square-foot space that runs under Dupont Circle has been abandoned for decades, except for a brief experiment to turn the space into a food court in the mid-1990s that failed miserably.

Dupont Undeground. Photo courtesy of The Arts Coalition of the Dupont Underground

According to DCmud, the plans that DCMPED has decided to move forward with are from the Arts Coalition for Dupont Underground (ACDU), which has partnered with developer J.M. Zell. Here is how DCmud described what is in store for the underground:

Phase one will consist of 20,000 s.f. of gallery space and 20,000 s.f. of concession space (potentially a restaurant, wine-bar, and cafe). Developers expect that pending leases with a high-end restaurateur and winery of some sort will enable a loan covering three-fourth of phase one construction costs. Phase two will consist of an additional 60,000 s.f. of cultural space, its construction wholly dependent on the financial success of phase one and the growth of the endowment.

Yes, you read that right. There could be a winery under Dupont Circle. And while many folks likely hear the word winery (where wind is produced) and immediately think vineyard (where the grapes are grown), the two are in fact different as Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert points out in the comments section of this post.

Developers have a completion timeline of between two and three years for the first phase. So, by sometime in 2013, you could be sipping on a Dupont Pinot Noir.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/winery_for_dupont_underground/2595


  1. Liz said at 6:09 pm on Thursday October 21, 2010:

    Actually, I usually think of a vineyard producing grapes, a winery wine, and a wind tunnel wind, but to each his own.  ;p

  1. swested said at 10:56 pm on Thursday October 21, 2010:

    There is so much potential with the Dupont underground space - imagine if it connected directly to the metro station!

  1. Mike said at 7:54 am on Friday October 22, 2010:

    I think the success of this area depends on foot traffic.  Swested is right, if it’s connected to metro foot traffic, it stands to do well.  otherwise it will become a novelty for a while, and then just seem odd. 

    Intriguing though.  Can’t wait to see how it plays out.

  1. PleasantPlainer said at 10:54 am on Friday October 22, 2010:

    “Intriguing” yes, but if our tax dollars/city assets are used towards this effort (weather hard or soft), please everyone, be sure they don’t squander it! Better to wait for the right timing and mix than spend scarce resources unwisely now. That said, with the height restrictions in DC, depth may be the new black….

  1. IAG said at 11:26 am on Friday October 22, 2010:

    A winery? The concept of a truly “underground” destination for both locals and tourists alike in the city calls for something a bit broader-reaching or more inclusive than a winery. Dupont doesnt have to give up its unique and hip urban vibe, but in my humble opinion, a winery isnt the answer. Look at Houston’s underground, its an entire network of tunnels with food/bev and retail, that has just been poorly marketed as an attraction to the city center. There’s massive potential here and it may very well be wasted on a winery. What about some kind of specialty market? Dupont’s unique atmosphere, retail, and history deserve to be complimented with something truly cool, and i think a winery is a bit feeble as an attempt to enhance an already historically cool part of town.

  1. carl said at 6:17 pm on Friday October 22, 2010:

    How about a gym with circular banked running/walking/biking/roller track on the perimeter, and/or a new age racquet ball court with curved wall!  ; )

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