Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DC Home to Target, Costo and Walmart?

The District's first major big box discount retailer opened in 2008 just blocks from Mount Pleasant. Target is the anchor of Columbia Height's DCUSA development. Any questions about being profitable in an urban location were answered quickly. It has been busy daily from day one. Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Marshalls and Staples are other big box national chains operating in DCUSA.

Now Walmart is attempting to get into the mix. Only six months after news of Costo's plans to open in DC, Walmart may very well join them in Northeast. The world's largest retailer is banking on several perceived advantages in attempting to penetrate the urban market in cities like DC, Boston and Chicago. 1)They're following Target and Costo. 2)They'll play up the "creating jobs" factor. 3)They'll argue that residents in cities like DC are undeserved, especially regarding full service groceries. The location would be an 11 acre parcel on a triangle shaped piece of land bound by Montana Ave NE, New York Ave NE and Bladensburg Rd. Google map of the site is below.

Will Walmart have to concede the Superstore model and settle for a smaller store in DC? The Target store in Columbia Heights is 180,000 square feet, which is actually larger than the average. However the DC store is two floors. The average Walmart Supercenter store is 185,000 sq feet, but almost always on one floor, and almost always accompanied by a large parking lot. The NE store would be one floor and include parking.

Of course the big questions will be the result of community wants, needs and input. Who wants it, who doesn't and who's indifferent. And will the city be as financially involved as they are with DCUSA?: essentially building and operating the parking facilities for the mall, making road and landscape improvements and brokering deals to get specific desired retailers to join the shopping center. Very interesting development for the city and Walmart. The outcome will certainly set precedent for both entities.

Proposed site:

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