18th Street For Lease?


I’ve noticed that 18th Street in Adams Morgan has tons of for lease signs up all up and down the block. Seems like a prime spot for business so I was surprised to see so many. Of course there’s the spot where Caribou coffee was that’s been closed since December. So why are there so many spots for lease? Are businesses moving to different sections of the city because the rent’s too high? Do you think this is a good thing because the strip is pretty congested anyway?

14 Comment

  • I am sure the crime element plays a role.

  • The problem with 18th St is that it is not now, nor will it likely ever be, a thriving commercial strip. People don’t go to 18th St to shop. They go to eat, drink, and dance. And they go at night, not during the day. Even opening a new restaurant, bar, or club on 18th St would be a crapshoot because there are already lots (and perhaps too many)options now.

  • Probably because rents are too high. I think the main issue with AM right now is that those businesses make most of their money on weekends, and that’s there’s no real daytime, weekday activity since there are no offices there (or even college campus, housewives, etc). I think it would be good if they encouraged small offices (architects, etc) to rent the upper floors of these buildings to bring some life to AM during the day and help out the local businesses. It would be perfect space for a small non-profit.

  • hahaha, just to let everyone know, there are two “SG”s. (I am the second posting)

    I concur with what the other SG has to say, though

  • having worked in one of the spaces that is currently for lease, what has been said is correct. AM is the worst possible place in the city for most retail. there is very little foot traffic in the lower half during week days and who ever thinks “i’m going to go to adams morgan to buy (electronics, furniture, clothes, whatever).” i sure as hell don’t… and even on weekend days its slow. only after dark does that area become packed with people, and when that happens it sucks cuz its a bunch of drunk fools. the AM BID needs to help that area somehow because whole blocks are becoming “for lease,” look at the block between california and wyoming (the pic is the corner of 18th & WY). its a dead zone.

  • Nate- I seriously doubt crime has anything to do with the vacancies unless you mean the criminal behavior of the banks playing fast and loose with everyone’s money that has caused the recent financial crisis and economic downturn.

  • I love the Brass Knob and make daytime trips to AM to go there. Of course, that’s on the weekend, because I work during the week and don’t do any shopping anywhere during the daytime on weekdays. The best time to go to AM is during the day; it’s actually nice then.

  • SG#1, you say 18th St will never be a thriving strip, but 15-20 years ago it was full of funky boutiques and shops. Since then the restaurants and bars drove virtually of them away (the Brass Knob remains) by forcing up the rents. I think our current economic mess has more to do with the vacancies than anything.

  • saf

    Drewlove, I remember those days too. Revolution Books, Idle Times Books, the Brass Knob, Companions, Skynear, Ruff ‘n’ Ready, and I know there were more What WAS the name of that auto parts store? I loved them. I liked the hardware store too. Think it was a True Value, but it might have been an Ace. Have churros and chocolate at Churreria Madrid for breakfast, or french pastries and cappuccino at Avignon Frères, or bagels from So’s Your Mom….then go shopping!

    Let’s see, that would have been the late 80s when I was living there. I know people who lived there before that who still missed the Ben Franklin. Indeed, once upon a time it was a mixed use neighborhood for sure.

  • The rents landlords are charging are through the roof….ridiculous really. Sq. footage in AM is more than it is downtown for some buildings…I kid you not. And the BID, (the Grahmstander’s baby) spends 90 percent of its annual funding to help the nighttime businesses.

  • There is a big gap for retail in AM. Don’t forget, the first Toys R Us started in AM. I wish the neighborhood could diversify…

  • saf

    Wow – just noticed which building this is. Did Skynear close?

  • “you say 18th St will never be a thriving strip, but 15-20 years ago it was full of funky boutiques and shops. Since then the restaurants and bars drove virtually of them away”

    -Was it really the restaurants and bars that drove these shops away? I suspect that a good part of it can also be explained by the loss of customers to larger-scale and cheaper retail stores. Lots of people pay lip service to neighborhood “mom and pop” retail stores but when it comes to spending their money they chase the cheapest prices. And who can blame them, especially in a down economy. I love Kramer books and actually buy (as opposed to hang out in the store and read) books there. But I buy more books online because it’s typically significantly cheaper. I got fitted for a good pair of running shoes at the store on Columbia Road and bought two pairs of shoes there over 6 months. But the last time I needed to replace my shoes I got them online because it was cheaper. Economies of scale make it difficult for small retailers to compete. You have to have either a unique product, or a customer base willing to pay more for a product they could get cheaper elsewhere.

  • saf

    SG#1 – That is the problem. People need to realize that their dollars make a difference. Much like your vote, it matters where you spend your money. It’s important to put your money where your mouth is and spend in a manner consistent with your values.

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