From the Beatles to Retail, the Uline Arena Seeks a New Purpose
The Uline Arena was constructed in 1939 and served as a hockey and basketball facility before being sold and renamed as the Washington Coliseum. In 1964, the arena hosted the Beatles for their first U.S. concert appearance. The curved-roof structure sits adjacent the railroad tracks and hasn't served much purpose in recent years. It was a waste management facility until 2003 and has also been used as an indoor parking lot.
There has been an ongoing effort to redefine the Uline for quite some time. The long concrete building is covered in graffiti and was purchased Douglas Development in 2004. In 2008, the company received a two-year entitlement package from the city to redevelop the place. They weren't able to make it happen and applied for extensions in 2010 and again in 2012.
Some of the ideas that have been presented include a musical history museum and a 225-unit mixed use residential development. In February 2013, company representatives introduced a new concept at a planning and zoning meeting. This involved 150,000 square-feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail. The latter would feature a 40,000 square-foot market/restaurant/bar flanked by smaller retailers.
While developers, architects and city officials wrestle with various plans, the Uline finds the odd purpose here and there. The venue hosted a musical in 2011 showcasing the neighborhood's roots. Swampoodle was originally an Irish-American shantytown and is now referred to as the NoMa district. What will eventually become of the historically-protected concrete Behemoth? No one knows for sure. Maybe they should turn it into an urban winery.
Andre Perez | District One Properties LLC | Realtor/Agent/Owner
1305 Leslie Ave, Alkexandria, VA 22301