By Matt Leonard, NAVSEA Public Affairs
In Hollywood, they might pitch it this way: “Imagine ‘Property Brothers’ meets ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.’” Maybe that is a bit too sensational for the U.S. Navy. But any way you position it, this month renovation reality hits prime-time at the Washington Navy Yard, offering employees the opportunity to become “food hunters” of sorts.
“Yardees” need not fret though; there will be no HGTV or Food Network TV cameras roving our grounds. Rather, this is the Building 22 NEX Town Center; NEXpress, food court, and barbershop “reno” (renovation) - and the Navy has programmed resources to minimize disruptions and to provide a line-up of interesting and accessible lunch options for the duration of the project.
Ultimately, the new Town Center food vendors and the facility updates are being shaped by employee responses to WNY surveys.
“By renovating the NEXpress, barbershop, and food court, we are able to provide fresh options that are in line with what our tenants have asked for,” said Lt. Cdr. John Liddle, Naval Support Activity Washington (NSAW) Executive Officer.
“NSAW and NEXCOM (Navy Exchange Service Command) have been working together to coordinate the renovation,” said Liddle. “We want to make everyone's experience at the Yard more enjoyable, and improving our amenities is one way to do that.”
THE RENO-QUISITION ROADMAP (LRIP?)
Those who have trekked through Building 22 recently are probably aware that the NEXpress closed its doors for the reno last month. Like a first in/first out model, this portion of the reno will conclude the soonest. The plan is to re-open this store following the Fourth of July Holiday. In the meantime, those in search of the sundry assortment of grab and go items from the express store may track them down at the Main NEX (Bldg. 184).
Tomorrow, June 10 is the final day to grab lunch with the current lineup of food court vendors. The remodeling of the vendor spaces will require the most time to complete. The overall construction in this area starts in July; vendor specific construction begins this fall; and the effort will run until first quarter of calendar year 2017. A soft opening of individual food vendors may be possible as their facilities are completed. A grand opening of all vendors is anticipated during the first quarter, 2017.
“We will continue to work closely with NEXCOM to keep as close to the timelines as possible without sacrificing quality,” said Liddle. “We are committed to keeping everyone informed of progress, and our partners at NEXCOM are committed to reopening services as soon as they are ready.”
Throughout the food court renovations a majority of the seating area will remain open for use.
The current NEX barbershop space is expected to close mid, to late July. But this need not be a bad hair day for anyone. A temporary, two-chair barber service will be immediately available in bldg. 22 in the corner area known as old ITT.
REMAPPING YOUR FOOD DRIVE (Distributed Lunch-ality?)
Although the grazing in the Town Center Food Court won’t be fruitful in the near term, there are a variety of convenient new and established locations where Yardees may track a meal.
Existing food/drink options on the yard include Subway, Dunkin Donuts, and the coffee shops William III, William III Winch House, and Joshua’s.
NSAW has dedicated four locations for mobile food vendors – aka “Food Trucks” or should it be “Drivers and Dines” (See map below this article). The vendors include Billy Cheese Steak, Pars Kabob, Margaret’s Soul Food, Mandarin Express, Fresh Afghan and others.
Non-NAVSEA employees are being offered access to the Humphreys Bldg. Cafeteria during the reno. Interested individuals will first need to get their CACs coded for Bldg 197. This coding, along with a visitor’s pass, will allow entrance to Humphreys via the visitor’s entrance between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. This access limits travel to and from the cafeteria area.
FUTURE FOOD (ORP- Offerings Replacement Program?)
The re-opened food court will boast an entirely new menu of vendors. The Navy sought out vendors that would satisfy employees’ desires for better quality and recognized name brand offerings. Surveys also indicated that people wanted a better burger option at the court.
At this time negotiations are underway with several potential vendors; however, NSAW is proud to announce that two new offerings will open with the new food court: Panda Express, and Wayback Burger.
In addition to new vendors, the court will also be outfitted with new tables and chairs.
“Everyone here has a mission that matters,” said Liddle. “And ours at NSAW, is to ensure everyone can be successful in theirs.”
You can stay tuned-in to the renovation story via NSAW’s Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #WNYNEXReno.