REI store opens in former Washington Coliseum

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Hundreds flocked to the NOMA area on Saturday morning, to get a look at the brand new REI Co-op opening in the former Washington Coliseum. The landmark is most well-known for hosting the Beatles in their first U.S. concert. 

To celebrate the opening, the company is holding a three-day block party, including musical concerts at the store and at Storey Park. The festivities also included a climbing wall and corn hole.

Andrew Baltimore was at the event with his friends, and said he appreciated the history.

"I think it's important," he said. "They're preserving the history. And I think it's cool that they turned it into something that attracts a lot of people just to come and check out the area." 

Some people arrived at the store as early as 12:30 a.m. to wait in line. The first 500 people in the store received an REI water bottle, and a gift card. Emily Scherer said it was exciting to share the experience with her children. 

"The Beatles played here in the 1960's," she said. They had sporting events here." 

Inside the building were various tributes to its history, including old posters for concerts at the hall. One wall also included wooden planks from the old basketball court, and chairs from the former concert hall.

"That's history," said Al-Hassan Koroma. "You can't forget your past. And it's good to remember. Because as young people - they tend to say 'we don't care.' So it's cool to see that. To see where it's been and where it's going." 

The festivities will continue on Sunday with a bluegrass and folk festival. The music will get started at 11:00 am.


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