Dear PoP – What’s Going on with Columbia Road?


“Dear PoP,

Have you heard what’s going on with the building next to Safeway on Columbia Road, near 18th? The Popeyes, beauty supply store, and other stores have all closed down. I’m guessing it was sold? I doubt the Popeyes went out of business, they always seem to be so busy.”

Yup, it’s going to be a CVS. Kristen Barden from Adams Morgan BID wrote me that:

“Combined Properties ( is combining all of their stores along that stretch – Popeye’s, the beauty supply store, Citibank, etc… and the CVS on the south side of Columbia Road will move over there. I also don’t know what will go in the old CVS space yet…”

Now, I’m curious what will go into the old CVS spot.

43 Comment

  • This is great news! Not so much that the CVS is moving, but great that the Popeye’s is CLOSED. Anyone who lives anywhere near that craphole has had their street littered with Popeye’s trash for years.

  • Hopefully we can get the shit-hole that is Wendy’s on Georgia Ave. to close, too, as we have to deal with sketchy people littering the neighborhoods from cars and on foot.

  • Maybe they could reopen the soon to be closed CVS as the Ontario Theatre, which once showed movies and had concerts from the likes of the Clash and others.

  • I liked Popeyes. Their biscuits are excellent. Sad to see them go.

  • saf

    I dream of the return of the Ontario. I love movie palaces. Wouldn’t that be great!?

  • As long as it’s not a wine bar, we’re all good.

  • Great, another CVS. The sidewalks outside CVS are always dirty as hell.

  • crossing my fingers and hoping for a wine bar

  • What AdMO, much like CH, needs is an ARBY’S!!!! MMMMM MMMMM MMMMMMMMMMMM!

  • This is the kind of news that always annoys the everliving shizz out of me. I mean, they’re closing down 3+ stores to make room for a store that is already there *across the street*. Great. Thanks for that, CVS. Much better now.

  • I’m with eric in ledroit – I love my wine bars. And a wine bar would actually make me want to go to Adams Morgan.

  • A small movie theatre in that spot would be awesome — I think something like the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse would do spectacularly well there. Or maybe Cinema and Wine Bar.

  • Whatever ends up in those empty storefronts on the west side of Columbia Road, I hope they’re businesses that don’t encourage all of the ridiculous dumb ass double parking that constantly plagues that area. That stretch of Columbia Road is like a little slice of the third world. Laurie Collins probably drives over from Cleveland Park and double parks there to pleasure herself at the sight of it.

  • The double parking won’t stop until the fake green card/ss card sales stop, and that will be a cold day in…

  • Believe it or not, it wouldn’t take much more than a phone call to the right person to change that.

  • to bad the safeway wont be expanding into those spaces as originally reported. Im expecting a pretty half assed renovation of that safeway now that i know its remaining open during the renovation. and now next door to the shitty safeway will be a brand new shitty cvs. joy. I did notice the for lease sign gone from the store front next to shwarma king that the Marvin guys had been eyeing. hopefully something cool will open there.

  • Anon 8:33: you referring to the fake document sales? Not likely. I’ve watched it go on for decades. Every 4 or 5 years INS/ICE/DHS does a little raid and deports a few guys, but MPD can’t/wont assist in anything immigration related. Nevermind that these dudes are also heavily involved in coke and prostitution [so I’ve been told by MPD vice/narc]

  • Man, I just moved from one block toward 16th from the current CVS spot, and if they even open anything even remotely cool there or in the storefront at the corner of Columbia and 17th, I’m going to be mad pissed…

  • All you commenters are whiny complainers.

  • Shut up Lonnie! You’re out of your element!

  • You people are hilarious with your wine bars. I’m just surprised nobody has yet suggested more vegan or Pho dining options or more dining options for their dogs.

  • Anything that doesn’t attract (ah hem, you) yuppies or hipster wanna be’s would be fine by me.

  • Can’t wait for a yuppy/hipster-free Arby’s to open up!

  • something akin to arlington drafthouse would be fantastic!

    or a boarded up crack house… maybe that would make some of the barry-era dcers feel more at home…or at least make them stfu about us crackers gentrifying!

  • Popeyes always stunk up the block with grease smell and attracted the worst crowd. People can always get their full of gross trans fats at the Burger King, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds.

  • Are yuppy/hipsters really worse then the usual drunk post-college frat and sorority types that are down there?

  • If not in DCUSA, and Arby’s here would be great too! While there are some good restaurants for “Date Night” and Arby’s with their signature root beer would make the missus really happy!

  • fingers crossed that CVS is clearing out of the Ontario cause someone has plans to restore it and perhaps make into some sort of venue-bar-restaurant. as for Arbys. this was a funny joke the first 300 comments it appeared in. but its time to retire it people

  • Could Popeyes take the old CVs slot PLEASSSE??? I need local Popeyes, because Pollo Campero is gross…

  • I have a question about “BIDs” and “Main Street” organizations. How are they funded? How many people are employed by them and what is their governance/ organizational structure? What do they do and how are their reporting requirements?

    I’ve heard of them and wondered what they do, how they work and where/ how we can see the benefits they bring to the community. Businesses located where they think they can make money and ANCs and community organizations either welcome them or resist them. How do BIDs and Main Street organizations fit into this dynamic?

  • I’ve been told that the BIDs are funded by property taxes.

  • Nice websites – learned nothing.

    So, is a BID is a funded thru private funded by merchants in certain locales and the Main Street and reStore funded thru the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (thus, publicly funded like an “Empowerment Zone”?

    Rather than wandering thru a maze of interconnecting governmental and private websites, all extolling how they are ‘working to promote successful businesses in the community’, I’d prefer to cut to the chase and have someone who knows something about this chime in. It looks like a lot of dollars and bureaucracy and I want to know what benefit any of these programs has brought the business community and the public at large. Businesses come and go based on the incomes they generate and how their owners run them – how are these promotional entities affecting and/ or ameliorating this situation.

  • Wiki Wiki (hand motion mimicking turntable spin) What!

    A business improvement district (BID) is a public-private partnership in which businesses in a defined area elect to pay an additional tax in order to fund improvements to the district’s public realm and trading environment. In some areas, a BID is referred to as a business improvement area (BIA), a business revitalization zone (BRZ), or a community improvement district (CID), A BID is, in some ways, similar to a residential community association, but an appropriate analogy would be that of a suburban shopping mall, from which the idea for BIDs is, itself, modelled. Malls are generally single properties managed by one entity that rents out retail spaces to various tenants. Tenants pay a common maintenance fee to pay for services that enhance the appearance of the mall’s common areas and provide cooperative advertising for the mall and its various stores. BIDs operate in much the same way.

    IoW – at least for the NOMA BID, its the reason we have nice street lights, trash collectors and ambassadors.

  • ANON 1:51, a little about BIDS

    BIDSs are generally funded by a special tax the businesses agree to levy on themselves. They are partially regulate by local statute, but in effect are a private-ppublic partnership. The tax part is regulated, but the funds all come from and aer used by teh indvidial businesses which are part of the BID.

    In DC, at least 51% percent (across a couple of metrics) of the businesses within the defined BID bounderies, have to agree by way of a letter of support, to be taxed and become a part of the BID.

    After the BID is created, the constituent members (each business which agreed the additional tax) have to decide how to use the newly created funds. Many of the DC BIDs sepend money on employing greeters and street teams. The Downtown BID’s greeters wear red, the Golden Triangle BID greeters wear yellow, the Cap Hill BID greeters wear blue, and so on. Some BIDs use the addtional funds to pay for special community serces like homeless outreach (Golden Triangle) or additonal trash p/u and street cleaning (Downtown BID).

  • So BIDs are essentially self-supporting and are not supported by public tax dollars. Thus, any reporting or oversight would fall upon the BID members to make sure they are getting what they are paying for. If there’s waste, it’s their loss. Correct?

    And, “Mainstreets” (and “reStotre” DC by association) are not self-supporting; they are either publicly funded grants or money that comes from a larger association (that may be partially derived from federal tax dollars). Is this distinction correct and if so, is there any way to know how these funds are put to use in the community?

  • That stretch of Columbia Road is like a little slice of the third world. Laurie Collins probably drives over from Cleveland Park and double parks there to pleasure herself at the sight of it.

    NOTHING pleasures Laurie Collins.

  • looks like CVS has finalized the Petworth deal as well. Petworth News has the details.

  • Anon 3:18,

    That’s about right. BIDs self report and I’m sure the constituent businesses monitor and have a say in how the money is spent.

    Restore DC is a branding for an initiative. Restore is the name for specific initives by the Department of Small and Local Business Development. In the proposed FY2010 DC gov’t budget, the line items for the DoSLBD mentions nothing about Restore DC, but all the activities in which Restore participate in are accounted for. Restore DC is just a vehicle to make dealing withthe governement easier and more attractive to residents and also makes it easier for the DC governemnt to show how its helping small businesses.

    I would say the same thing about Mainstreets. The Mainstreet brand won’t be listed in the budgets, but the activities in which it entails are funded through the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

  • the plan for years has been to tear down everything from the Safeway down to the bank and erected a 3 story building. That has been in the works for years but it may be put on hold for now cos of our economic situations.

  • Tim,

    Thanks for the info. Based on past experiences in other venues, I have observed that similar (well intentioned, I hope) programs become an exercise is self-branding, as opposed to creating actual work product that is tangible in the community. I hope this is not the case here as this city needs all of the real help it can get.

    Anon 3:18, 1:51, 12:58

  • It really sucks that ONLY Popeye’s in the neighborhood has been vacated to make room so that a CVS can move in–from across the street!? That’s just brilliant.

    C’mon really across the street? Why?

    After KFC left a few years back Popeye’s was the only decent thing left on that strip…good biscuits and red beans and rice. When a friend told me it was gone–I was in disbelief. I had eaten there just a week earlier and it was as busy as ever.

    As for people complaining about the ‘element’ there…Burger King is actually worse. The double parking on that stretch was never tied to Popeye’s…it just as bad up where CVS is.

    The worst double parking is on the block of Columbia past the blockbuster: during the day its a parking lot of delivery vans in the center lane, cabs making illegal U-turns, the ever-aggressive 42 bus, double-parked cars for dry-cleaning, and people trying to parallel park; its a complete nightmare on a bike.

  • What I want to know is when will CVS be over-extended like Starbucks and have to start closing stores…. Can’t be soon enough as far as I’m concerned. Dupont needs two within spitting distance of each other and now the Columbia St one isn’t big enough? Please, this city does not need another CVS.

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