Dear PoP – Help a new bakery come to Columbia Heights

“Dear PoP,

I’d love to get your readers’ thoughts on a business my family is trying to open. It’s a French coffee shop and bakery, with authentic French pastries and several varieties of bread– including real baguettes!– baked on site. We’re thinking wi-fi, comfy chairs and good coffee. It’s the sort of Mom and Pop operation where the proprietors will get to know their regulars, and take special orders, and keep little treats on hand for your kids.

We’ve found what seems to be an ideal spot, in DC USA. However, the main office of the development company has been blowing us off for months. The good folks of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights are excited about our proposal, but have also expressed frustration with the passive resistance of the head office. It’s true, we don’t come with the backing of a nationwide chain. This is, however, a local, woman-owned business, exactly the sort of thing that the developers claimed they would be seeking out. We’ve just about given up on this property, but Jim Graham’s office has indicated some willingness to facilitate between us and the landlord; it’s too early to know if anything will come of that.

So if you think this sounds like the sort of place you might patronize, let’s hear it! Maybe some support from the community, along with our solid business plan, long small-business experience, and singleminded determination, will encourage the landlord to talk to us. We’d also love to hear suggestions for elements that would make you love a bakery/coffee shop even more.”

This sounds amazing. I’d definitely support it! I’m really frustrated reading about your experience. I can’t believe some people would rather have these store fronts sit empty than have a promising business like this. Would you guys like to see a bakery like this go into the DC USA? If so, show your support and let’s help them make it happen.

129 Comment

  • I’d love to see another bakery in Columbia Heights. Why DC USA? Unless you get prime street level space on the 14th, it doesn’t seem practical to be at DC USA. Maybe a better spot somewhere else in CH?

  • I love my Target and Marshall’s, I’m not bashing DC USA…but does it really not take something away from a French bakery with baguettes to be in a mall next to Best Buy or something? How can they learn people’s names when they have to make enough money to stay in that place?

  • If Tynan can be packed all the time, there is no reason this couldn’t succeed with coffee that is actually good. i’m always going to get my coffee from qualia, but i’d definitely buy some baguettes.

  • Yes, would LOVE to have a French bakery come to the neighborhood! How about that long-vacant spot at the SW corner of 14th and Monroe? One of the sorefronts on Park Road, maybe the one recently vacated by the shoe store? Good luck!

  • I agree with K’s comments. There have to be better sites than DC USA. PoP, you’re up on what’s vacant/not vacant in the area. Anything on 11th? I’d definitely frequent a French bakery if it were in the local area. Mmmm, croissants!

  • I think this concept sounds great, except that there are already 3 coffee shops/bakeries in that immediate area. What about closer to 11th and Park, or a little further up 14th?

  • Hi all,

    I think it bears mentioning that DC USA, with the discount supposedly offered to locally-based businesses, is HALF the price of other storefronts in the area. A quarter of the price of storefronts in Georgetown. In addition to the seemingly unbeatable price, the foot traffic past the space is simply unparalleled in the neighborhood.

    Thanks for your interest!

    • Ah…well maybe that’s the reason the landlord has so far filled the spaces with national chains? Is the DC government supposed to subsidize the rent for local businesses? Maybe the landlord doesn’t want to deal with the hassle (can’t imagine why).

    • I think this could work in DCUSA if it’s one of the exterior spaces along Irving (near IHop). If it’s inside the building, I don’t think it’d fare as well. I would love a business like this in the neighborhood!!

      • I agree! We need another bakery in Columbia Heights! These DC development companies need to do a better job of supporting small and local businesses. It’s better to have occupied retail spaces, than empty retail spaces.

        Please sell breakfast croissants and bagels! We need a good breakfast spot in the “urea”! It would clean up here!

  • There’s still some empty retail storefront at the Moderno building at 12th and U that could use a bakery of this type. Or maybe something else on that stretch of 9th between S and the 9:30?

  • y’all can keep suggesting places but they probably don’t work for this business owner, otherwise she would have mentioned them, right? so to answer the actual question she asked, i’ll say that i think it’d be awesome to have another locally owned coffee shop in CH, and good pastries would be a massive plus. frankly, the one time i went to tynan, the service and coffee were less than mediocre, and the atmosphere was pretty sterile.

    • I agree, that place is expensive and not that great. My sandwich was just mush and the coffee was sour.

  • I would be there multiple times a week for fresh baguettes, no matter where you end up in CH!

  • As long as you are talking to the landlord of DCUSA, can you request that he get a real muzak channel in the atrium? They currently play a station out of PG County. It is an odd feeling walking to the gym and listening to traffic reports on the mall PA system. Seriously – DC spend a few hundred on the building; certainly they could afford a Muzak subscription service for $100/month.

    • Not to mention, you aren’t supposed to play the radio in a business that size without paying the proper music licensing fees. Tell ASCAP about it and I would bet it will stop.

  • Ouvrez le cafe maintenant!

  • I understand times in the retail sector are tough, but the people running DC USA strike me as mighty comfortable in their jobs. I picture them online all day surfing the web, rather than looking for tenants. Who do they work for?

    That being said, we better keep Jim Graham away, or he’ll fill the empty storefronts with Section 8 housing!

  • I hear you on the DCUSA perks – as a hopeful business owner, they may appear unbeatable. Personally, I think you would lose the “mom and pop” feel right away. What people like about coffee shops, is the feeling that it’s special and that it’s theirs. I think the “regulars” you’d hope to gain would be turned away by the chaos that comes and goes from DCUSA everyday.

    I love the idea of a place like this in CH, but a small specialized business does not belong in a box store warehouse.

  • Mt. Pleasant street.
    Heller’s isn’t very good.

    • I was thinking the exact same thing. Heller’s is better than an empty storefront but I always leave wishing that it was better.

      For location though, on the minus side, you don’t get the same foot traffic on MtP Street that you do in CH; on the plus side, you don’t get the same foot traffic that you do in CH…

      • Stop hating on Hellers. They have by far the best glazed doughnuts for 30 miles in any direction.

        • True, and they are great for birthday cakes, but their bread is mediocre.

        • Agree. Everything ese, though, is just okay. I had read recently on the mt Pleasant forums that there was someone looking to open up a cofee shop somewhre on Mt. Pleasant Street. Don’t know if that will ever materialize.

    • saf

      Heller’s used to be good. (Many years ago now, I liked them enough that we got our wedding cake there.) I wish they still were.

  • I would love French Pastries and baguettes! I would prefer you to be in Petworth (closer to me!) but I’d go to DC USA for good bread!

  • First of all, another vote of excitement for this business idea. A local bakery would be a kick-ass addition to the area and I would definitely patronize your establishment frequently to purchase fresh loaves or whatever else you end up selling (I recommend other good foods like good quality cheeses — there is nowhere that sells good cheese in all of Columbia Heights, so far as I am aware — and maybe make a variety of really good, fresh paninis with top-notch ingredients).

    I thought DCUSA was prohibitively expensive, I’m surprised to hear it is less costly than some of the options here.

    Other spaces to look at, in case you haven’t yet checked all of them out, and some of these have been mentioned: the space next to Columbia Heights Coffee (supposedly only 1000 per month and word is that Barrio is no longer coming in there, plus lots of synergy potential with the coffee shop); one of the six retail spaces supposedly coming into the 11th and Monroe building under construction (a year away from completion); the open space in Tivoli (amazing space, in an amazing location, but may bee too expensive); the open spaces in Highland Park; the former furniture store in the PNC building (mentioned earlier, great frontage, tons of space, I’d be surprised if that was a super expensive building). But wherever you end up, I am sure you will thrive and there will be a lot of community excitement / interest.

    Is there one particular person / contact at DCUSA who we can write to express support for your establishment?

  • I would love to see this business take off.. I am a big fan of mom and pops and would like to see more independent businesses in tivoli square..we have enough chain stores there for the whole city..

  • You want to open a coffee shop in a retail center whose anchor tenant runs a coffee shop in their store and you’re surprised the landlord isn’t rushing to return your calls. Just sayin’.

  • It sounds perfect. I would definietly frequent there. The only thing is that I would rather see this place at the Tivoli building, At the main storefront. With its lights, the multiple patio doors, with its wide outside seating, and its location just across from the plaza, would just make it a perfect place.

  • Also, y’all know that there is already a mom and pop bakery and coffee shop at 14th and Monroe, right? I know it’s Mexican and up a whole half a block in The Direction You Don’t Go Unless You’re Headed To The Red Derby and all, but how many people who think this bakery would be a great idea have ever bothered to check out the one that’s already right there?

    • I have. It’s not remotely the same as the bakery concept these folks are proposing … if it’s the same place I’ve been to, they aren’t exactly selling french loaves, but rather sticky-sweet pastries. There is also Sticky Fingers, but again, they sell an entirely different product, vegan cupcakes, etc. There is no establishment focused on regular fresh-baked breads and such anywhere in Columbia Heights.

    • why would people not head in that direction?

    • That place is preety good (I believe it is called Pan Lourdes Bakery). It is a mexican/latin american bakery. Their baked goods are pretty yummy, and they have sandwhiches (although I have not tried them). But, if you are looking for coffee, they dont have anything exciting (just maxwell house or something on a drip), and they dont have things like baguettes or the standard coffeeshop/bakery fare. So, I definately recommend the place, and there is no reason for peopel to avoid it, but it is a different niche than this new proposed place.

    • the latin bakery has stale-dry conchas! if they had good conchas, i’d be there everyday. unfortunately i have to drive to the burbs for good conchas now.

  • This is probably a stretch, but just today, the wife and I were discussing what we would eventually like to see along Georgia Ave., just north of the metro. If things continue to go well, in a few years, we’d love to have a couple of good restaurants, a couple of good bars, and a bakery. Not much to ask for, but you’d have our loyalty. Seriously. We already patronize local businesses heavily, even the ones we don’t like so much.

  • And by the way, this post is incredibly frustrating to me on a number of levels. The party line at DCUSA has been that they are working very hard to attract / accommodate local businesses, and that there just isn’t any interest at all from anyone who has the capital to make it happen, hence the huge number of vacancies / lack of local establishments. I’ve always felt that to be a reasonable explanation given the current economic / retail climate. But now I am beginning to wonder …

    A huge amount of public funds were put into DCUSA, and yet it seems to do very little to provide community amenities (like doing anything remotely creative in winter with its indoor open space, or better yet, engaging in some creative community friendly-uses — how about an art show re: Artomatic, or a temporary indoor kid’s space — with the HUGE amoung of permanently vacant retail space that is just sitting there), or make compromises / expend efforts to bring in retailers that the community is clamoring for and/or would diversity its tenant mix in an attractive way (lease concessions, parking, aggressive marketing to non-big-box retailers).

    Assuming the claims of this entrepeneur are true, I’d really like to hear an explanation as to why DCUSA is not aggressively courting them for one of the many vacancies, as opposed to basically blowing them off, because again, this isn’t just a private mall, this is an institution built with a huge infusion of public funding in consideration of promises about supporting local enterprise.

    And I’d also like to see DCCH be more aggressive in advocating for local retail, or else just close up shop (is this a taxpayer-funded agency? I’m not entirely sure.). I still haven’t a clue what DCCH has actually DONE in the years since DCUSA has been completed; I’d like to think I am pretty up to speed on what is going on in the community, and I don’t know of any local businesses who have opened or expanded in recent years thanks to DCCH. And no one at the organization has ever been able to provide an explanation (I wrote to DCCH to ask, in as non-confrontational way as possible, and I know someone else who did — and this was two years ago mind you — and we both received a hostile response). I am genuinely curious, because I can’t figure it out.

    But while other developments throughout the city have been filling up with awesome stuff (like City Vista), I think it is strange that DCUSA has interminably been stuck in neutral despite incredible success for current DCUSA retailers and a MASSIVE increase in foot traffic in the center of Columbia Heights after completion of all the construction. Is ANY creative thought going on about this issue, and about potential temporary use of the empty DCUSA space?

  • Come to Capitol Hill – lots of demand for coffee/pastries and neighborhood feel you are looking for!

  • Bring the croissants and baguettes to Bloomingdale – there’s a storefront (already renovated) on 1st and Seaton NW that would be perfect for this business and I would be there every morning as soon as you open!

    • the place that sets up at the bloomingdale farmers market, has amazingly good breads.

      also, Timor sells fantastic baguesttes.

      and Catania Bakery is open to the public early saturday mornings.

  • How about taking over the vacant, not really “coming soon” space of the Park Place Cafe at the Park Place Apartments? I know its not Columbia Heights, but its right by the metro and those of us in Petworth could really use some fresh bread on our way home from work.

  • Shucks. I wish a bakery would come further north to near the Derby. All we have around here are chinese take-outs and pupuserias.

  • Would be a great addition and add a new layer to the neighborhood. I hope it works out!

  • PoP – It make sense to post on online petition for your entrepreneur-to-be so you can submit to CM Graham’s office. It is election season after all…

    In exchange, they can provide you with pastries for a year or advertise on your site. Pastries don’t get reported to the tax man.

  • Who’s got the French pedigree in this group? In terms of quality what will set you apart from Au Bon Pain?

  • This would be perfect in that 1-floor yellow storefront halfway between room 11 and wonderland on 11th… What ever happened with the plans for that place?

  • Oh, I can remember the delight of smelling fresh baked bread anywhere near the old Wonder Bread Bakery everyday of the week on S Street in Shaw.

  • I am worried about a business like this wanting to be in DC USA.
    The mall is for cheap stuff and cheap thinking. Nothing wrong with that, but, nobody wants a French bakery with that sort of connection. Maybe this is not a quality operation.
    I would like to see one of the many available storefronts of 14th St. become a decent patisserie.
    As far as I know there aren’t any in Washington DC.
    I am not surprised this business person is seeking the time honored tradition of mediocrity in this town.

    • Go back to Nebraska. We don’t need unhappy transients taking up space here- go live with mom and dad

    • I have to agree– going to the bakery is an experience you can’t get in a place like DC USA, no matter how good it is. My sister lives in Jersey City (where they know how to do it right) and has a little old-school Italian bakery across the street from her apartment. It’s perfect.

  • Thinking about this and comparing to Harlem USA — another project by the same developer. I think the issue is the bakery doesn’t fit into the retail mix correctly. And may well be a competitor to the grocery operations of Target and the (maybe coming) Elliwood.

    Harlem USA does have local operations — but they are things that are community focused: a Hip Hop Cultural Center, a food bank. As well as local chains like Rainbow, a bookstore and cafe.

    The deals DC USA has with existing stores might well prevent them from opening something like a bakery. This is how this works, they are in charge of managing the retail mix.

  • Awesome space available at 14th and Crittenden with a beautiful outdoor seating area – perfect for a place like this if your DCUSA plans don’t work out.

    That aside – DCUSA needs to fulfill on their promise of leasing space to local business, especially woman and minority owned. It just shouldn’t be that hard. A lot of those store fronts have been vacant since it opened.

  • A couple people have hit it on the head above…

    1. DCUSA won’t and likely can’t by law, allow a business that the anchor tenant already has. Non-competes like this are pretty common. Why would a business take all the risk and spend that kind of money if you were just going to dilute their business with a competitor.

    2. However, I doubt thats your main problem. Your problem is, lack of a defined business model backed by historical revenue. The store fronts at DCUSA are empty, but it costs money, six figures of it for DCUSA to build out your space. Then it takes more money to put liens on the business and chase them into bankruptcy court to collect on past rents, which they never get back anyway. Then it costs more money to demo the space and return it to rentable condition. So DCUSA is considering the ~half a million dollar costs to them in the first 18 months in the likely event your startup doesn’t make it.

    Even during the RE boom, half of non-chain, startup businesses in the District failed in their first 18 months. Why? Because despite what most people consider a detailed business plan, there are 100 things to go wrong, your revenue projections were lofty, you didn’t consider the tax liability, you thought you could live on less or no income to get your business going but realized that wasn’t doable, an oven breaks and you need to shell out 15K you didn’t have budgeted, your insurance is off the chart because instead of a standalone structure, your premiums include the risk of burning down or damaging the entire Target complex…I could go on all day, but without the deep pockets of a proven business or chain to carry you through the lean times, you will likely fold.

    So yes, it is far more attractive and fiscally responsible for them to give the space to some chain than to you, especially now.

    3. Lastly, why haven’t you gone over to the DCUSA offices and squatted in their lobby until someone talks to you. Spending months leaving messages without any real follow through says more about the lack of effort on your part, than DCUSA’s. You want to start a business and a voicemail is all the drive you can muster?

    • Joker, you make some good points, but I think you are also missing something crucial here. DCUSA is not just any developer. They were HEAVILY subsidized by taxpayer dollars in exchange for certain considerations, one of which was that they would provide space for a mix of big box AND locally-owned independant retailers, even if that ordinarily might not be the easiest or safest way to go. I can understand if they had built in the suburbs, without MILLIONS of dollars in gov’t subsidies, them saying, sorry, we just can’t take the risk. But, at least as I understand the situation (and not to get all William Jordan-esque here, but it seems warranted), they made a commitment to go above and beyond what might be otherwise warranted to provide opportunities for small retailers. It sounds to me like they MAY be breaking that commitment (although I wouldn’t state they are definitely doing so until I heard all sides of the story).

      In all events, a potential retailer shouldn’t have to stage a hunger strike to get a meeting with the DCUSA leasing office. Apparently, retailers aren’t exactly banging down doors to get into these spaces, considering a third of the building has sat empty for years. At this point, they should at LEAST be responsive and carefully considering proposals from any remotely viable option.

  • to me, the benefit of dcusa is the parking lot.
    i don’t need a parking lot to go have pastries and coffee, because i don’t need to drive to that.
    but i drive to get a lot of the things i might get at target or best buy. more stores that can utilize that need are preferable to me. having those kind of large and heavy item stores in one places limits the number of parking lots we may need in our city, and thats a good thing.

    • +1. I’m guessing that many visitors to DCUSA are travelling there once a month or so to stock up on large purchases. I think that will make it difficult to attract the frequent patron that the OP is looking for, although certainly some of the condo-dwellers in the immediate area will become regular customers. I’m just not certain if that will provide enough traffic, esp. if Ellwood Thompson’s ever opens.

  • I would love to be able to stop into a store to buy a baguette on my way home from the Metro. That would be awesome!

  • perhaps the starbucks at target has something to do with this?

  • I agree 100%, but please see if you can build out in the open Allegro retail spaces; I live there, send me an email and we can meet, introduce you to the PM. There are some many yo-pros in our building that would be in your place every morning for coffee.

    • What about the space under the Allegro apartments up on 14th street? It’s a bit north of the DCUSA… but it could work?

      • Meant for that to be a separate comment, but looks like it agrees with Jason! North CH is really coming up with “yo-pros” and I could see it being very busy in the morning. Plus with Thai Tanic II there and Social on the same block, it would have some visibility.

      • Oh that Allegro, I was thinking of the other Allegro on 14th, glad you cleared it up!

  • Having in lived in France I am drooling at the prospect of fresh baked breads and if you tell me you’ll have good, not oversized, pain aux amandes with fresh marzipan I might just cancel my gym membership and spend the extra time in your shop. Good luck!

    • my hands down favorite pastry…

      • that, or pain au raisin. you have a good, sticky pain au raisin, and you will have my heart forever.

        oh yeah, I think this bakery would be a great idea. maybe not in DCUSA, but along the 14th St. strip somewhere.

  • Problem w/ farmer’s market and timor is that they aren’t open early enough to get bread and croissants for breakfast, even on the weekends.

    Haven’t checked out Catania, but will do – still I think a retail bakery would be a nice addition to the neighborhood.

  • A few businesses such as the one described would go a long way toward making DCUSA less of an eyesore. A nice local business isn’t defined by the fact that there’s a Target around the corner, it’s by the quality of the products, services, and atmosphere. If the benefits for DCUSA are as good as outlined, it’s pretty tough to justify giving up cheap rent in a new building with tons of foot traffic just so they can keep some indie cred.

    This sounds great, and if the food is good I don’t care if it is located in the middle of Best Buy beside the digital cameras.

    • I agree with Justin. If you can give me a comfortable, genuine-feeling place with good coffee, and serious French-style baked goods, i will do my very best to make sure your shop succeeds by coming a lot and buying a lot. I don’t care where it is, as long as it’s near me (Mt.P or CH). Other important-ish elements for me: outdoor seating if possible, and real mugs, plates, forks for when i want to eat in – the amount of waste generated by packaging and disposable food/drink stuff is simply insane when you look at it. I mean, a $10 lunch & drink easily generates half a pound of trash. How does that make sense?

  • I would really love to have this in Petworth. But if you open in CH, I’ll be there.

  • I’d go to place like that. Fresh bread is awesome. People will wait outside before it opens if the bread is really good.

    Give DC USA some more primary research data. Parse out the useful comments from this thread along with whatever else you have gathered and make the market research conclusions based on solid statistical results.

    Do some NPV projections, or boost the case if you have already. Make it hard for them to ignore. Sounds boring and hard, that’s business.

    Best of luck to you.

  • I would loooooove to have fresh bread and baguettes in the neighborhood!!

  • We just moved in across from DCUSA and would love a place to get fresh bread! Honestly, I don’t understand why so much of that development is still empty.

  • Oooo really?? I will need to try those (although I kinda wish you hadn’t informed me of that …)

  • Yes! We need a good bakery on 14th St! I’ve been trying to talk to owner of Red Velvet into opening, but a French bakery would be an even better fit. Let us eat cake!

  • I would love this. As others have said, 11th would be a more ideal location, but I would certainly frequent if it were on 14th as well.

  • What about the Tivoli spot? When I saw the picture used, I assumed that’s where it would go (the corner spot). Having outdoor tables there, with the beautiful interior, would make it a space I’d go all.the.time.

    • I agree, but that spot seems to have some kind of curse on it. A big coffee shop already failed there (although it wasn’t a delicious french bakery!), as well as a sushi place.

  • Oh I would love a new bakery to set up shop in Columbia Heights! DC’s short of those authentic French patisseries and it would awesome to have one so close. Can they promise a good brioche roll? That’s all I’m asking!

    DC USA wouldn’t be bad, there are also a bunch of empty stores in Adams Morgan that I can see this work!

  • We absolutely need a place to buy fresh, traditional baked goods (nothing against sticky fingers, but not all of us are vegan)and this seems wonderful. Right now we go down to Pain Quotidien in Dupont to get baguettes because there really isn’t any other good bread in the area.

  • Perhaps it is the cynic in me (and I hope I am wrong), but something about this post feels unreal and disingenuous, like someone set out to ignite a flurry of support and comments simply for hell of it.

  • Bring good baguettes, pastries, coffee, and wifi to Columbia Heights!! I guarantee you, if you have good products and a pleasant atmosphere, you could print money here – both from residents and shoppers.

  • Wow! Thank you all for your support and for your comments. Also grateful to Pop for this opportunity.

    To address a few of your comments:

    1 – We did more than just wait for DCUSA folks to respond. We were on them all the time. The trouble is that they’re based in NYC and even DCCH got tired of their lack of response and told us, with regret, that they’re not moving on it. DCCH thought we’d be a great addition there.

    2 – Something that is also worth mentioning: quite a few spots around CH are overpriced, nearing downtown DC, Bethesda if not Georgetown. DCUSA had explicitly agreed to have 15% of its space dedicated to local business and they are not acting on their words. Their price and location is great and DCCH agrees would be ideal for a business such as ours.

    3 – There is no non-compete trouble with DCUSA. That was clear from the start. Starbucks has no issue with this. It’s all about gridproperties’ own decisions, we are told that much.

    4 – The Park Place is not available. We are looking into the Allegro space but it has some technical issues, such as no delivery space etc. And some open spots in the area are not fitted for ventilation for a bakery; DCUSA is!

    5 – Jim Graham says he is dismayed by the situation but we haven’t heard anything since his expression of concern. If anyone could drop him a line at [email protected] or the president of DCCH Robert Moore, please let them know about your position. Even if we don’t get the spot, it’s a shame that DCUSA is not letting local businesses in. We know that many others have tried.

    Sincerely, Bakery Hopeful

  • Yes, open up a bakery! We’d be there in minutes!

  • Right on our walk home. We’re in support!

  • Yes, a thousand times yes!!

  • Yes!! I’d love to have a real bakery in DC USA. I live three blocks away and I’d definitely buy bread, coffee and pastries there.

  • Whatever you do, don’t start selling cupcakes or you’ll lose all your credibility. 🙂

    • I keep seeing that credit card commercial where the woman talks about her cupcake, beer, and wine bar, “Sweet Revenge”.

      That’s what I want. Apparently, her store is in NYC.

  • I would support this. But, I do think a non-DCUSA location would be better and probably cheaper.

  • LOVE the idea of fresh-baked goods in CH. I can taste the pain au chocolat maintenant. We will write Jim Graham in support of your proposal.

    Let’s make it happen!

  • The only spaces left at DC-USA are streetfront. That’s why the annoying vacancies are so obvious.

    Except for the big boxes which have the mall like common entry lobby, that was the intention to have entrances from the sidewalk for the rest of the retail spaces. If you park in the garage, you have to go outside to enter Staples, Radio Shack, etc.

    15,000 square feet were reserved for local and minority businesses, as part of the community benefit for using public land and in return for massive government support for the project.

  • How possible/difficult/expensive would it be to add additional entrances from the interior to the streetfront spaces? There is certainly enough pedestrian street traffic to make an attractive streetfront shop viable as is, but better flow could help everyone.

    And does anyone know why they built such narrow escalators in the main lobby – (essentially 1.5 people wide instead of 2) and why there are no easily accessible stairs between the ground floor and first (Target) floor. Picture an actual emergency evacuation of Target, BBB & Best Buy – thousands of people trying to walk down those 2 escalators.

  • wandafish

    Please come to the U Street neighborhood! Anything between 14th and 18th Streets, or along 14th Street!

  • you would be competing with Starbucks right across the street and Sticky Fingers close by and another cafe (name I don’t know) on 14th. I recommend Petworth, which is really up and coming and the retail spots are much cheaper while the competition is nonexistent!

    Mazel tov on such a great idea!

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