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Construction begins on Dolcezza production facility near Union Market

550 Penn

The gelato factory/tasting room/coffee lab coming to Union Market is under construction, and gelato maker Dolcezza should be open by November, according to Dolcezza founder Robb Duncan.

The gelato maker is not moving into the main Union Market building, but rather into a 3,700-square-foot space at 550 Penn St NE, just a stone's throw away. 

The permits for the construction on the Dolcezza portion of 550 Penn were granted last week, and work has begun, says Steve Boyle, managing director of developer EDENS. Just today, says Duncan, the 800-square-foot mezzanine where visitors can taste gelato and look out onto the production floor was installed.

The move is a huge upgrade for the thriving gelato company, which until November will be producing all its gelato in the company's original kitchen, a 300—yes, that's a three with just two zeros after it—square-foot kitchen in Georgetown.

"With four stores and farmer's markets...it's like a miracle every day" that the company gets its gelato made, Duncan says.

Dolcezza will be neighbors to already established tenant Red Apron Butchery, which processes its meat in 11,000 square feet of the building. Another 13,000 square feet remain for interested creative tenants, says Boyle. The company has been approached by breweries about using the space, "but it's not to say that we wouldn't be interested in that space being non-food either," he says. "So long as it sort of contributes to what we're trying to build there, which is this community for creative peolpe... We're digesting, pun intended, how to attack this great place with its authentic history."

As other news outlets have already reported, the Dolcezza warehouse/factory will offer gelato tastings served in ceramic bowls, "fresh from the machine," Duncan says. "It doesn't get better than fresh from the machine."

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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