Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj - the savvy businessman and cosmopolitan host behind Bombay Club, Bibiana, the recently remodeled Ardeo+Bardeo, and Rasika, the city's four star Indian restaurant where it's impossible to get a table - is poised to sign a lease for the retail space at 22 West, the West End EastBanc project that was completed in 2008.
As far as the marriage between 22West and Bajaj, "I've been wanting to get into the place for years," Bajaj said last week of the 3000 s.f. retail space that has remained empty since completion. Factors such as opening Bibiana, and remodeling 701 and Ardeo+Bardeo had been vying for his attention in the meantime.
22 West is one of several projects that may re-energize what has been a relatively staid neighborhood. The Columbia Residences and the Ritz Carlton have injected life into the West End, which still lags as a destination retail site, despite the success of Trader Joe's and Blue Duck Tavern, and now an independent theater.
The secretive Bajaj won't give away the menu just yet. "It's something I think people in Washington will find very interesting," he added. Also on the docket in the West End is East Banc's redo of the neighborhood's post office, library and fire station, a coordinated development plan awarded to EastBanc in early 2010, and a renovated retail pavilion across the street from 22 West, now underway.
Washington DC real estate development news