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So Is Eataly Ever Actually Coming to DC?

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In the latest dose of mixed signals for the Eataly-obsessed, the uber-market is indeed expanding outside of New York in the U.S. Unfortunately, it's headed to Chicago, not Washington.The food hall from Mario Batali, Lydia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich is poised to sign a lease for more than 60,000 square feet in Chicago, according to the NYT. Bastianich also addressed further expansion:

The next Eatalys will open in Los Angeles and Istanbul, Mr. Bastianich said, and his company is also negotiating for space in São Paulo, Brazil. Another store is planned for Bari, Italy.

So it would seem that D.C.'s no longer on the shortlist for the Eataly team, who is now spending a hefty $20 million to get the Chicago space open by fall 2013. Here now, let's look at where Eataly in DC stands.

What They Want: Eatalys so far in the U.S. have ranged from 50-60k square feet. To end up in D.C., they're probably going to have to compromise with something closer to 35-45k square feet.

What's Wrong With All The Options: In Chicago, Eataly's going to a former ESPN Zone space. Hey, we've got an empty ESPN Zone space (555 12th St. NW)! But, it's only 41,000 square feet, spread out over two levels. Plus it's been available since Eataly started looking, so they could have snapped it up by now if they wanted it (drama over rents, perhaps?).

Many of the other spaces previously speculated about by experts are now being occupied by decidedly less sexy retail tenants. Gergetown Park mall is getting T.J. Maxx, Home Goods and a bigger H&M. The old Borders space on 18th Street is is probably going to be a Nordstrom Rack.

What's Left: There's always CityCenter, and developers there have said they want a market-style concept there. But the only thing we know for sure that's going there is Del Frisco's, according to company reps for the restaurant.

The official response: Eataly reps did not immediately respond to a query on whether D.C.'s still being scouted.

· Eataly Coming to Chicago [NYT]
· All Previous Eataly Coverage [-EDC-]

Eataly NY [Photo: Daniel Krieger]

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