Monday, March 10, 2008

Columbia Heights Opens Retail Center

Last week marked a proud moment in District of Columbia history. The city's first Target store opened in the DC USA retail complex in Columbia Heights.

The 540,000-s.f., three story 'urban center', on roughly five acres of land between Irving Street and Park Road, is expected to garner more then $12 million in revenues for city coffers and will supply the District with more than 1000 jobs. Coming on the coattails of a 180,000-s.f. Target are Bed, Bath and Beyond, Washington Sports Club, Best Buy and a number of smaller retailers more often relegated to the suburbs, like Caribou Coffee, Mattress Discounters, Quizno's, Marshall's and Staples. New York based Grid Properties and Gotham Developers saw the project through to completion.

In a statement to the press last week, Mayor Fenty said: “[I]t is fitting to call this project both the catalyst and the capstone to an unprecedented economic resurgence in Columbia Heights – where nearly $1 billion worth of new housing, retail and office space has moved through the development pipeline since 2001.”

George Washington University professor, and economist, Tony M.J. Yezer opined. "If you think about what happens when you have group houses or [families with] double income-no kids, if they work downtown, they're not particularly fond of the suburbs. Its logical, that since there is a lot of employment of those types, they're going to want to live in Columbia Heights. If I could speculate, this [growth] might have happened earlier, except that perhaps, the government in DC was somewhat problematic in the 1980s.

"Does retail follow housing, or does housing follow retail, the answer is yes to both. This retail growth in Columbia Heights is caused by the population transformation and the population transformation will bring further retail. Things may be going fast in DC now, and the reason is that they didn't happen over time because they were delayed by what I consider to be problems with local government. You can have the economic rationale for converting a neighborhood to be fairly large, but you can also have regulatory impediments. The dam has burst. [Development] is going to happen very fast."

Bring on the cheap sneakers.


IMGoph on Mar 11, 2008, 9:57:00 AM said...

i'm curious, is the $12 million number a per year thing, because otherwise, it seems like a poor return on our tax dollar investment.

otavio on Mar 12, 2008, 12:12:00 AM said...

The DC USA project is expected to add more than $12 million a year in taxes to the General Fund.

Now, that's darn good expansion for the retail sector of DC's economy.

Have a nice week, imgoph, DCMUD, and others!


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