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Inside D.C.’s new REI and La Colombe

The fifth flagship store will open in NoMa on October 21, 2016

[UPDATE 10/19: For photos inside the completed REI store, go to this Curbed DC article.]

In 1941, the Washington Coliseum was constructed in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., or more specifically NoMa. It was the site of the first U.S. concert by The Beatles as well as the Uline Arena, which hosted ice skating, circuses, and other events. Later, it eventually served as a parking facility.

In 2015, owner of the facility Douglas Development announced that outdoor retailer REI would inhabit the historic facility, creating their fifth ever flagship store. This will also be the first REI ever constructed in Washington, D.C. It is slated to open October 21, 2016 with a La Colombe located inside.

The overall plan for the building is to convert it for a single-level of retail below three levels of office space. The Ice House building, where ice was once fabricated, will also feature additional ground-level retail and one level of office space.

Finally, a new 168-space, four-level parking garage is planned on the southeast corner of the two-and-a-half acre site.

As a flagship store, the 51,000-square-foot facility will have 30 percent more product than a typical REI store, according to the Washington Business Journal. Furthermore, it will house a Community Room section and an Adventure Station. The Community Room section will allow for classes, events, and meetings for outdoorsy groups, while the Adventure Station will allow the public to ask experts questions like "What’s an easy hike nearby to go on?" and "Where are the best places in the D.C. area to camp?"

Once construction is complete, the store will feature an outdoor courtyard, adjacent to the camp offerings. The courtyard will feature reclaimed brick and a fire pit. Representatives from REI also told Curbed that they have hired an "outdoor artist" to create a large-scale mural in the space. The artist was kept anonymous.

In celebration of their opening, REI became a major sponsor of this year’s D.C. Bike Ride and hosted 100 days of outdoor events, including the NoMa Summer Screen series at Wunder Garten.

Recently, Curbed was able to go on a tour of the construction site at 1140 Third Street NE. To see the tour, check out the video and photos below.

Washington Coliseum (Uline Arena)

1140 3rd St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002