From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
With new restaurants opening regularly, a beautifully renovated Howard Theater, new construction near the metro and the eventual completion of CityMarket, the Shaw neighborhood has been doing well for itself recently. Amidst all this positive change and development though is one place that people keep looking forward to but keeps being set back: the Wonder Bread Factory at 641 S Street NW.
Originally scheduled for completion in January 2013, Douglas Development has pushed back the completion date for the renovation of this building. That date was pushed back to March 2013 but that has come and gone without the completion of the project. Douglas Development’s website now calls for late Spring 2013 and over at Elevation DC, Lisa Spinelli recently quoted Douglas Development’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Thomas Schneck, as saying, “Renovations will be finished in June.”
Back in June 2012, the Washington Business Journal and others reported that WorkSpaces LLC had signed on as the first tenants for the soon to be renovated Wonder Bread Factory. The lease had been for 20,817 square feet — the entire third floor.
Things seemed stable in this lease agreement until the end of this past February, when The Washington Post reported that WorkSpaces was closing offices and backing out of their plans to lease space at the Wonder Bread Factory. Since then, WorkSpaces has filed for bankruptcy. While there is plenty of space for other office tenants, and while the ground and basement levels are intended for retail, restaurant and/or microbrewery space, nobody else has yet to sign on for the Wonder Bread Factory.
What makes these setbacks so unfortunate is that a fully renovated Wonder Bread Factory should be great for the neighborhood and it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t arrived already. Closed since the 1980s, this space, located just a short walk from the Shaw metro stop, will make for a great focal point in an area still gradually improving.
While there is no residential space in the building, the office, retail and restaurant space will help to bring new energy and life to the neighborhood. Stay tuned – we’ll be keeping our eyes out for any news on this location.