Plans Progress for Open-Air Market at Georgetown Gateway


Sketch of planned market space at the eastern entrance of Georgetown. Courtesy Ian Callender.

Plans are progressing for an open-air market at Georgetown’s eastern gateway, on the triangle-shaped property where M Street and Pennsylvania Avenue converge, according to Ian Callender, founder of Suite Nation and Sandlot. The market concept was reported by The Georgetowner on Oct. 14 (see story linked HERE).

“There are lots of ideas, including offering holiday shopping pods for Georgetown and other small business retailers and eateries, including a bar, entertainment venues, safe chairs and tables and rest rooms during the Dec. 26 to New Year’s holiday and presidential inauguration week,” Callender told The Georgetowner. “But all plans are contingent on the completion of cleaning of the site.”

The triangle was the longtime site of a gas station, demolished in 2018 when Georgetown developer Anthony Lanier bought the property. Lanier hired Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura to design a luxury condominium building with a high-end restaurant, but the pandemic put those plans on hold. Now, preliminary construction work on the site has removed all the contaminants, with electric, water and sewage installations underway.

Blocked-out spots at the market will be open to community groups and merchants of all kinds. “What we will supply is a safe, up-to-code infrastructure, along with the necessary business licenses and permits needed, including for alcoholic beverages,” Callender said. “The community groups and business entities who want to offer their services there just need to tell us what they need in terms of infrastructure.”

Friends of Rose Park has actively pursued the idea of situating its weekly farmers and small business market at the M Street site during the winter. For years, the Georgetown nonprofit has organized and managed an outdoor market on Wednesday afternoons on the corner of 26th and O Streets during the daylight-saving months. This past summer, the market’s popularity grew to 500 to 700 shoppers. In October, the group decided to expand the market into a holiday shopping site on Wednesday evenings from 4 to 8 p.m., with holiday lighting and special booths.

“We are discussing organizing the market at the M Street site,” said Friends of Rose Park President Gail Daubert, “but there are a lot of logistic considerations, as well as timing to consider. And people have said they like the north Rose Park site.”

All ideas are welcome, according to Callender, who added: “Maybe it will go on year-round.”

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