Capital Buzz: ‘Fairgrounds’ planned near Nationals Park


Renderings of the Fairgrounds at Half Street SE, a planned outdoor market that is to be open during baseball season. (Christy Schlesinger/Schlesinger Architects)
February 19, 2012

Local restaurateur/entrepreneur Bo Blair — think Bayou, Jetties, Surfside — is expanding The Bullpen, his three-year-old beer garden across from the outfield gate at Nationals Park, into an outdoor market at Half and M streets SE.

Blair and landowner Akridge are opening “Fairgrounds,” which is to be a town square full of food and crafts stalls that is to be open seven days a week during the baseball season.

Blair, 39, has modeled Fairgrounds on Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market, and hired Georgetown-based Schlesinger Associate Architects to design it. Michael Berman, who runs Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, is to handle the vending side of Blair’s Fairgrounds.

Blair is investing $250,000 in the project, which is to include large, used shipping containers to create retail spaces for a variety of vendors, ranging from local artists, farmers and crafts people.

The project is to include two food trucks from Blair’s Bayou and Surfside every day as well as other local food trucks rotating through. The space is to open at around 11:30 every morning for the entire season.

Blair is planning more than 20 high-definition televisions, bands and even decks on top of the shipping containers so customers can relax.

“We want to create a town square as a destination for people from all over the area, not just when the Nationals are playing,” Blair said.

Nice to meet you

John Mengucci, CACI International’s new chief operating officer for U.S. operations, will receive $2 million in restricted stock units on his first day, set for Feb. 27. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, half of the units, which will be based on the stock’s closing price on Feb. 27, will vest in equal increments over three years, while the other half will vest 50 percent after five years and 10 percent per year for the five years after.

Mengucci, 49, previously worked for Lockheed Martin, where he held multiple roles, including president of its information systems and global solutions civil product line.

— Marjorie Censer

The Buzz hears:

Leesburg-based 9Lenses, which makes a software application that helps businesses identify strengths and weaknesses in their companies, has partnered with George Mason University’s School of Management. The partnership will enable GMU to tailor executive education programs for businesses that participate in those programs.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Founded by tech industry veteran and entrepreneur Edwin Miller, 9Lenses has more than 15 employees and was opened in 2010.

The first Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the mid-Atlantic region last week opened at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW. Bean and Tea is based in Southern California, which drew lots of California expatriates to the event.

Rockville-based EyeBlack.com inked a “mutually beneficial relationship” with NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Urlacher will continue to wear the custom black adhesives under his eyes on the field and will benefit from increased sales of the product.

Founded by Peter Beveridge of Potomac, EyeBlack.com has 18 employees and has sold 6 million pairs.

The old songs were better

Silver Spring’s Barry Polisar, whose song “All I Want Is You” was the first song in the 2007 motion picture “Juno,” last week won his second Grammy Award.

The new Grammy was awarded in the “Best Children’s Recording” category for his contribution to an anti-bully album called “All About Bullies. Polisar wrote the tune in 1981, and donated it to the record producers.

It’s the second time in three years that one of Polisar’s old songs has been a Grammy winner.

Juno’s “All I Want is You,” which he wrote and recorded in 1977, was featured in a Honda commercial. The commercial netted Polisar some handsome residuals.

“I’m having really good luck with my 30-year-old songs these days,” said the Silver Spring musician, songwriter and author.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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