Best Rumor Heard in 2013: Eataly to Uline

by UrbanTurf Staff

Best Rumor Heard in 2013: Eataly to Uline: Figure 1
Rendering for Uline Arena.

Few things get DC in more of a tizzy these days than the possibility of a famous eatery coming to the city. So, in mid-2011, when the talk started of the much vaunted Eataly expanding to DC, the tizzy started.

Eataly is an Italian food lover’s dream. Located in New York City, it is 50,000 square feet of Italian restaurants, wine bars, bakeries and food stands that has become a favorite destination of foodies and tourists alike.

Of course, the excitement surrounding Eataly’s arrival in DC was matched by the difficulty in finding a location suitable for such an establishment.

So, when Douglas Development announced their redevelopment plans earlier this year for the historic Uline Arena — 50,000 square feet of retail and 150,000 square feet of office space — it seemed like there was an answer to the puzzle. A Douglas representative even announced that plans would ideally include an “Eataly-like” vendor, with a market, restaurant and bar concept.

Best Rumor Heard in 2013: Eataly to Uline: Figure 2
Inside Eataly in New York. Courtesy of andersc77.

In recent years, a number of redevelopment ideas have been tossed out for the Uline Arena, famous as the site of The Beatles’ first US concert. Among those ideas were a music museum and a massive mixed-use project with 225 residences.

To bring the excitement to its most heightened state, UrbanTurf heard from two separate sources in recent months that Eataly had narrowed its DC search down to two locations — Uline and the Capital Crossing project planned for above I-395. However, no move would be made anytime soon by Eataly owners, largely because their focus was on a Chicago expansion for the time being.

Alas, it looks as though Eataly could now be a long shot for Uline, as the new plans are for a 35,000 square-foot REI store to anchor the redevelopment. With the way DC’s food scene has been growing, though, don’t assume that dreams of a DC Eataly are completely dead.

See other articles related to: uline arena, eataly, dclofts, best of 2013

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/best_rumor_urbanturf_heard_in_2013_eataly_to_uline/7931


  1. KL said at 8:58 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    Too bad. That would’ve been incredible if they moved forward. I can’t think of another place big enough in downtown DC to house an Eataly.
  1. Paul said at 9:11 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    While I was someone who was initially excited for an Eataly concept I think Union Market serves that niche fairly well for NoMa/NE. Eataly would be redundant. So I actually favor the REI news. But if Eataly could have gone into CityCenter that would have been amazing.
  1. Nick said at 9:27 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    That's too bad, maybe one day. Let it be known the 1st Eataly opened in Turin, Italy - their wine cellar is a jaw dropper.
  1. Jenny said at 10:01 pm on Monday December 16, 2013:
    I am also in favor of REI. I think that would be the perfect thing for NoMa (retail and day time shopping) and wouldn't compete with Union Market. Hoping REI becomes a reality.
  1. BringREIplease! said at 5:33 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    R-E-I! R-E-I!
  1. tim said at 7:45 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    Curious about the chances of REI or Eataly for that matter in the Uline Arena? Big retail is usually located in major shopping areas, not in basically a residential neighborhood.
  1. NoMa said at 11:30 pm on Tuesday December 17, 2013:
    NoMa is going to be the densest residential part of DC once all is said and done. Seeing how Uline is right off the metro, I don't see a reason for why they can't plant an REI there. Uline is huge, by the way, so there's a good chance that they can snag others as well.
  1. sbc said at 8:56 pm on Wednesday December 18, 2013:
    maybe a rock-climbing gym, crossfit studio or other gym, the trapeze school that's currently in Yards Park,etc. would be interested in co-locating with REI? seems like they might have good overlap in clients and the place has the high ceiling needed for rock walls or trapezes.
  1. Cynthia Jefferson said at 2:43 am on Friday December 20, 2013:
    Trapeze school would be a great fit! I have many childhood memories of going to the circus at Uline Arena.
  1. Paul said at 9:40 pm on Friday December 20, 2013:
    I don't think Trapeze school is a realistic option. I think they only turn a profit when the land is far below market rate or nearly rent-free.

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