Alexandria Restaurant Partners is planning its first eatery in the District.

The Northern Virginia group behind Ada's on the River and Barca in Old Town Alexandria aims to open a second location of its art-infused Palette 22 restaurant in the Union Market area. The new restaurant is slated to open in late 2023 at 400 Morse St. NE.

ARP acquired a 7,200-square-foot warehouse building May 18 for $4.2 million, according to the D.C. Recorder of Deeds. Along with being the group's first restaurant in D.C., it’s part of a larger expansion plan with an emphasis on owning rather than leasing real estate for its restaurants.

The group wasn't necessarily looking to open a restaurant in the District, according to ARP Partner Dave Nicholas. Rather, it learned the property was being marketed for sale and decided to pursue the opportunity. ARP felt the Union Market area, which has been a hotbed for new development over the past few years, had a lot of the same dynamics that helped fuel its growth in Northern Virginia.

“We think it’s vibrant, there’s a lot of millennials, and TikTok’s headquarters is going there, so we thought our Palette 22 was just a great match for that area,” Nicholas said.

Feldman Ruel began marketing the property earlier this year on behalf of the seller, the family of Fred Kolker, who had a major presence in the area and previously ran a poultry business, Kolker Live Poultry, from the property. Melissa Webb, of Rappaport, represented ARP in the transaction.

The building sits at the corner of Fourth and Morse streets NE, and has expansion options that could include converting its upper area into a rooftop deck. The building’s change to a restaurant use would be in keeping with the ongoing evolution of the Union Market area, according to Ian Ruel, managing principal of Feldman Ruel. That transformation includes the addition of 10 new retail tenants at Union Market, including restaurants from New York’s Minetta Tavern and Philadelphia's Starr Restaurant Group.

ARP opened the original Palette 22 in Arlington's Shirlington neighborhood in 2017. The art-themed spot serves up fresh murals and artwork along with small plates, street food and a bottomless brunch. The new restaurant will include an open kitchen, similar to Ada’s, as its main focal point. ARP is in the process of selecting an architect and general contractor for the Union Market project, which Nicholas said will include artwork featuring the building's history.

The company has shifted into growth mode after weathering the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on the hospitality industry, and it recently brought on a new investor to help fuel its plans. That could include another restaurant in D.C., but only if the circumstances are right, Nicholas said.

"We're going to move slow and cautious," Nicholas said. "Restaurant companies don't always get better as they get bigger."