On Friday, I walked my dog past the small retail complex at the corner of Georgia and Eastern Avenues and saw laborers hard at work dismantling one of the empty stores. Today we learn that the new tenant will be a new Target store!
New Target Store
“Target is announcing plans to open a new small-format store in Washington, D.C., located at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Eastern Avenue in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. This approximately 30,000-square-foot-store will be Target’s eighth open or planned small-format store in the D.C. metro area. It will join existing locations in College Park, Rosslyn, Bethesda and Falls Church Tinner Hill, as well as future stores in Cleveland Park (2019), Northeast D.C. on New York Ave (2020) and Ballston, Va. (2021). Target has signed a lease with Douglas Development Corporation, and plans to open the D.C. Georgia and Eastern store in 2019.
Nationwide, Target is reaching new guests by expanding small-format stores in urban areas, dense suburban neighborhoods and near college campuses – places where a traditional-sized Target store may not fit. The retailer is on track to operate 130 small-format stores by the end of 2019.
“Target is excited to expand our footprint in D.C. with the Georgia and Eastern store, which will serve new guests throughout the District, Silver Spring, and surrounding neighborhoods. Located in a popular commuting corridor, the store will offer local families and on-the-go professionals a convenient and quick-trip shopping option that’s both easy and inspiring,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, Properties, Target.
The product assortment will be curated to match the needs and preferences of those guests, including:
- Baby and kids items, including basics, apparel and toys
- Essentials and beauty products
- A grocery selection for the fill-in or weekly stock-up trip, including fresh produce, grab-and-goitems, snacks and meal solutions
- Apparel and accessories for men, women and kids
- A curated assortment of home décor, seasonal items and accessoriesThe store will also offer Order Pickup – a convenient service that gives guests the added security of buying online and picking up in a store. More than 95 percent of orders are ready in less than an hour for guests at their local Target store. In addition, Target and Shipt began same-day delivery in the D.C. area this spring to make shopping Target even easier. Through Shipt, guests may shop online and have their orders delivered in as little as one hour.This new D.C. store will employ approximately 55 team members. Target is an employer that values the individuals who come together as a team to serve guests in the community and provides team members with opportunities to build and develop skills for their careers. Target offers market competitive wages to our team members in cities across the country and recently increased its minimum hourly wage. This investment in the team will allow Target to continue to recruit and retain strong team members and provide an elevated experience for its guests and in the communities it serves.
“Target’s growing investment in the District means more retail options in our city and more jobs for our residents. I’m pleased that we were able to grow this opportunity in such a short time – a true signal that investing in Washingtonians nets immediate results,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“I am delighted to welcome the investment and jobs that this new Target store will bring to the fast-growing Georgia & Eastern Avenues corridor,” said Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd. “As upper Ward 4 continues to attract new residential and commercial development, this neighborhood-serving retail will help meet growing needs and add vibrancy to a major District gateway.”
These stores are a new format that the company is rolling out across the country. One local Twitter used called them “Baby Targets”. They recently opened one near my job in Bethesda. It is essentially a super-sized CVS.
For context, I walked over to snap a few photos of the Bethesda store at lunchtime today.
The Impact of Development Delays
In my original post I wrote, “Time will tell if this puts the final nail in the coffin of the Harris Teeter Mixed-Used project.”
It did not take us long to find out. Within hours of the announcement of the new Target store in DC, we learned that the mixed-used project that was slated for the site at Eastern and Georgia Avenues is officially dead. Douglas Development principal Norman Jemal told website Bisnow, “They appealed the PUD and time killed the deal. I took a path of less resistance.”
That is a fairly unambiguous statement
For those of you counting at home, that’s 199 apartment homes off the board (33 of those affordable for those with incomes below 80% or 50% of the area median income and/or handicap accessible) just as D.C. is soaring into an affordable housing crisis.
Not to mention 204 retail jobs gone.
And an untold number of construction jobs just evaporated.
It is no secret that I am disappointed with this result (not with Target as a retail tenant but with the loss of the mixed-use project). Young families are now almost completely excluded from moving to Shepherd Park. We’ve essentially just raised the drawbridge on folks who can’t carry a million dollar mortgage. That’s not a good look for a place that considers itself to be a “progressive, inclusive” enclave.
In my layman’s opinion, the DC Court of Appeals made a huge mistake in their rulings on a few prior cases (901 Monroe and McMillan). That error has now multiplied into dozens of cases throughout the city. Many projects are now dead or at serious risk because of the chaos this has rendered. The “Community engagement” concept is thrown out the window. We’ll get “by right” the outdated land use practices that were in vogue back in 1986 when most of our planning maps were created.
To add insult to injury, these cases are taking multiple years to process. Two weeks ago, the Court of Appeals decided a ruling on a related Planned Unit Development case for the Barry Farm community in Ward 8. That case was argued back in 2016, based on a zoning application that was approved in 2014. That’s four years from the supposed end of the application process until the parties could make their next decision. That project could have been completed by now and the residents returned to a brand new, mixed-income community. Instead, they are forced to wait and live in squalor and still face an uncertain future.
Before our family moved to Shepherd Park, we lived in Ward 8, where there were zero grocery stores. Not quality grocery stores, no grocery stores, period. Our lifeline was the Potomac Avenue SE Harris Teeter, which is located within the mixed-use Jenkins Rows development. I can’t tell you how many times I took the Metro from work to the Potomac Avenue station and climbed the escalator to do my shopping, before continuing home. Alternatives included a very subpar Safeway in Ward 7 or driving through rush hour traffic on I-395 to Virginia. And we were lucky that we had that option.
There is no way that project could be completed in today’s legal environment.
Transit Oriented, mixed-use development makes sense, but not if our system allows individuals or small groups to throw sand in the gears after the zoning application process is complete. It is up to the D.C. Council to update and clarify the city’s Comprehensive Plan and steer the Court, the development community and the public back on track if we have any hopes of meeting the demands of a growing population.
Portions from a press release via PopVille.com