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Sala Thai receives permit for Rhode Island Row location

Rhode Island Row at dusk

Developers have received a permit to build out the forthcoming Sala Thai restaurant at Rhode Island Row as the restaurant prepares for a late-summer opening.

Sala Thai will be just one of the new restaurants opening at Rhode Island Row, 2300 Washington Place NE this year.

Developers Urban Atlantic out of Bethesda and Baltimore-based A&R Development built the multi-use complex, dubbed Rhode Island Row, in 2012. Of the 70,000 square feet of retail space, more than half is leased. Just 32,000 square feet are free with 8,000 square feet of that under negotiation. Much of the retail space is going towards restaurant use.

Sala Thai will be occupying Unit S, a 2,500-square-foot space that can seat around 90 to 100 patrons and include a sushi bar. The permit for their layout was just granted last week.

“I think Sala Thai knows how to identify good emerging markets,” says Caroline Kenney, development partner with Urban Atlantic. “He was one of the first who signed on when we were finished with construction.”

A CVS Pharmacy, Sprint, T-Mobile and a satellite DMV office are already open within the complex, but many more businesses—especially restaurants—are in the pipeline. Chipotle is set to open at the end of this month, D’Arte Nail and Spa Salon are scheduled to open in June, and Carolina Kitchen and CK Burger will open in September, says Kenney. Another sandwich shop will also be signing the lease any day now, she adds.

The popular Thai and sushi restaurant with locations in Petworth, U Street and in Bethesda has obtained a full liquor license for their Rhode Island Row location and could potentially have outdoor seating. Parking will be available via the on-site parking lot and a nearby, very cheap, parking garage. The Rhode Island Avenue/Brentwood red line Metro stop is also right next to the development.

“We were really selective with what retailers we chose,” says Kenney. “We turned down places, because we thought they didn’t meet with the quality of the center. We wanted to keep with our vision of a high-quality Main Street experience.”

The 8.5-acre Rhode Island Row development has nearly all its 274 luxury apartments occupied, which will create a lot of built-in patrons for the restaurants coming to the complex. Foot traffic from the metro stop and other residents in the area will also create a large customer base for the eateries.

Rhode Island Row offers studio to three bedroom apartments with one and two bedroom plus den options. The $109 million Lessard Design project broke ground back in May 2010 and provided some of the first major development in the Rhode Island Avenue area, which has seen a number of other projects pop up since then.

Read more articles by Lisa Spinelli.

Lisa Spinelli is Elevation DC's development editor as well as a freelance journalist, copy editor and mother of two. After receiving her Master of Science in print journalism from Columbia University in 2004, Lisa worked across the country and in Italy as a journalist, editor and Web editor. Her website LisaSpinelli.com has links to a smattering of her published clips.
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