SportsZone Coming to DC USA in Columbia Heights and other retail news

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

It’s not as exciting as a French bakery but I still thought folks would be interested in the update. I’ve just learned that the newest tenant coming to DC USA will be a SportsZone. They are a sports and apparel company with locations in MD, VA and DC. They’ll be located between the Lane Bryant and Staples on the 14th St, NW side. They are looking to open by the end of Nov.

The IHOP also aims to open by the end of Nov. and they’ll be located on the Irving St, NW side.

Finally I’ve been getting tons of reader inquiries about Ellwood Thompson’s grocery store. Last we heard they planned to start construction sometime in July with a target completion date of Mid-January. Sadly that did not happen. I am hearing that all the ducks are in a row but that more investors are being sought. I’m not exactly sure what that means but I’m certainly not going to hold my breath for a January opening, sadly. More updates as they become available.

86 Comment

  • Sports Zone looks like a neat little sneaker shop(?) It will be a great place for me to go try on some sweet neon green Onitsuka Tigers, find the right size, then go find them half price on How do these places stay in business anymore?

    • A better question would be, who buys neon green sneakers anymore? Is 1989 back already?

      • Oh I would.

        As for the first comment, I’d never buy a pair of shoes on online. I want to wear them that day. And based on the number of sneaker shops there are in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, I’m not alone.

        • If you could wait 2-3 days, you could get those shoes for half price. And with the savings you could buy more shoes, and in the end come out with many more pairs.

          Suit yourself though.

          • I’d rather support local businesses. Pay local taxes. And add to pollution via shipping. In addition to having my shoes when I want them, and not all shoes available in stores are available online. (And the reverse is true too, although a good local shoe store will source better than a mass market online retailer.)

        • OMG you live in Brooklyn? They totally have SUCH better shoes there.

  • At this point I’m totally fed up with Ellwood Thompsons. They have been jerking the community around for 2 years now. Open or don’t. Who the hell is in charge over there? I’m sure we would be better off if they just backed out all together. The demographics are a go. The Demand is a go. If they don’t want the space give it to someone else and quit making promises. At this point they seem so totally inept I don’t even know what to expect if they did open. Seems like a shit show to me at this point. Smell you later Ellwoods.

    • Also. The only reason Whole Foods backed out was the parking issue. They wanted guaranteed parking for the store but DCUSA was reluctant. Now that the lot has sat half empty for 2 years can we just call up Whole Foods and say: “Hey. uh. deal. you get your parking spaces”. A shame to think Whole Foods would have been serving the community for 2 years now if we had just given them their parking spaces. I’ll say at first I was totally excited that it was going to be Ellwoods stepping in instead. I’d rather have a local Grocer. But like I said. at this point. Eff you and the horse you pretended to ride in on Ellwoods.

    • I’d rather have a Trader Joes.

    • Absolutely totally agree …. I hope the owner of Ellwoods is reading this …. WE IN COLUMBIA HEIGHTS DO NOT WANT YOU TO COME …. STAY AWAY … its obvious that you do not care about investing in our community …. this company has jerked us around long enough … they do not have the capital or the will to move in at Columbia Heights … we need to desperately start looking for another candidate for this space … Ellwoods can go do **ll

  • I LOVE SPORTS ZONE! But I’m not to happy about them opening up in CH. Expect to see line in front of the store for those special shoes during a few Saturday mornings. Place is called sports zone but they only carry shoes, and clothing. Not much actual sporting tools.

  • Bummer on SportsZone and Ellwoods. I’d rather have a serious running/fitness oriented store, like your sponsor, Potomac River Running, or CitySports(?), or REI…

    Question: Does this mean Nash’s will be forced out of business?

    • I’ve always wondered about Nash…I’ve put in a few good faith efforts to support them and try to buy something there. The fews times I went in they didn’t carry clothing in my size (mens medium). One time I tried to find running sneakers and they didn’t have any.

    • Or Fleet Feet. OMG an REI would so great!!!

    • yeah I got to say Nash just needs to close … I never go in there

  • On the one hand, good to see empty retail fill up, those empty spaces facing 14th are maddening. And I don’t think this will hurt Nash’s much, given that this new place doesn’t seem to sell sporting goods. I certainly welcome any new business, jobs, etc. to Columbia Heights.

    On the other, I think DCUSA, with Ellwood’s in limbo (and at this point, I believe in my gut it is never going to happen), and the additions of a 24 hour IHOP and a youth-oriented sneaker store, may become more and more like Gallery Place on weekend nights — aka, a teen-dominated, mobbed hang out area — if a few more stores like this enter the fray, as based on their website, this place is definitely geared towards teenage customers. I’d rather NOT see CH become primarily a “destination” for teens from all over the city to hang out on weekend nights, because the atmosphere at Gallery Place is hardly a neighborhood-type environment, and the metro area is already busy beyond capacity at peak times. But that seems to be the direction it’s heading in. I’m not saying I would keep this business or IHOP out, there is so much vacant space that needs to be filled up; I’m more upset that they aren’t doing more to get a little bit of variety / local flavor / more community-oriented businesses in addition to these, and seem to be ignoring entreaties from local entrepeneurs (and certainly NOT doing any sort of outreach, at a minimum). Basically, DCUSA seems to want ONLY big retail chains, which is a shame.

    It’s still ridiculous that they blew it on Whole Foods (if they could pass special legislation exempting Ellwood’s from a tax, I see no reason why the city failed to pass special legislation designating a portion of an enormous unused parking lot to Whole Foods), and now seem to be blowing it on attracting regional grocers / local businesses in favor of becoming what could eventually be a teen-dominated destination.

    • Those teenagers’ money is just as green as yours is. We adults haven’t really stepped up to give the businesses in DCUSA adequate sales, so why not?

      It is becoming clear that, from a financial standpoint, DCUSA is now (and will likely always be) a pretty big failure and a white elephant.

      • What are you talking about Kustie? The existing retailers in DCUSA are, for the most part, BOOMING. Washington Sports Club is always packed (with neighborhood folks, almost exclusively). Target and Marshall’s are two of the best performing franchises NATIONALLY for each retailer. Might want to get your facts straight …

        • Yeah and which of those retailers are only in business because it is very profitable for them to hoover up all the tax incentives, set asides and other goodies that stand in the way of the free market? I’d guess that without all the kickbacks and payoffs, DCUSA wouldn’t have ANY tenants.

          • Right, and all those customers in there are really ghosts, because we all know that no one in that area of the city can afford such high end retail destinations like Target and Marshalls.

            You’ve obviously never been there. All the stores there are always packed. All local governments give tax incentives and kickbacks. Same thing happens in the burbs with the TIFs, etc.

          • You’re absolutely right. I live one block away and have never been there. I’ve never seen the 50% empty storefronts. I’ve never seen a completely empty best buy, i’ve never at all times walked right up to the register at target without even waiting. . . .

            You can believe what you want, but i choose to believe what i see with my own eyes. DCUSA is pretty much a dump.

            You may not want to admit it, but DCUSA has failed to live up to the promises that brought it there in the first place.

          • That’s right, you’ve never been there because you’re usually too busy videotaping the lazy crossing guards on 14th Street.

          • Lolzers. Who are you again?

          • I’m the ORGAN GRYNDER. The name is above the comment.

          • But they do Blanche… they do!

        • I’d be willing to bet money that there isn’t a single person commenting on his thread who doesn’t share my general view when they are at DCUSA:

          Jeez, i need to get my business done ASAP and get the HELL out of this awful place.

          In general, DCUSA is about as inviting and pleasant as a funeral parlor (and from the corpse’s standpoint, to boot).

          • I take my small child to DC USA and we spend an hour or more just wandering around, looking at stuff, talking about it, poking the buttons in the toy aisle. We talk to the neighbor folks we run into. Oh, and we buy some stuff, too.

            I do not share your view. Pay up.

          • I go to DCUSA nearly everyday in the evening time to go to WSC and EVERYDAY there is a massive line at target, long lines in Marshall’s, plenty of people patronizing BB%B and Best Buy too. As well as a full gym, (with the highest membership in DC area btw)

            what are you talking about!!!

            I’m not saying that DC USA is inviting and pleasant, its a mall after all not a spa, but to say it’s not profitable(for the 50% tenants there) is ludicrous. And this is not because of subsidies because EVERY major chain DEMANDS subsidies or they won’t come. This is capitalism and the lie of the “free” market.

      • I don’t the point was that teenagers’ money is not valuable, the point was that Gallery Place is so swarmed with teenagers right now that it is overwhelming to be there, crime and violence has jumped, and overall, this is deterring other people who might spend money.

        Oh, and I’m more apt to believe that the teenagers at Gallery Place are loitering, and not spending money on most of the retail there. So, I bet they’ll be hanging out at DC USA as well-and not necessarily spending lots of money.

        • I agree that most are loitering and hanging about and not spending money – just read the Washington Post article from the day after the 70 person fight. I also agree that I would not like CH to become like GP. As for DCUSA I go there on a regular basis. It is convenient and well stocked. In fact, they stock the Target better than they do some of the suburban ones. I completely disagree with anyone characterizing it as “a dump”.

  • Parking is owned by the city and if they gave to one tenant (ie whole foods) then they would have to give dedicated spaces to others. It is WholeFoods that has the easier option to determine that the lot is often empty and to give a green light.

    • What I don’t understand is why they need dedicated spots. Why don’t they just provide 1-2 hour validation like at Giant or the WF in Tenleytown. There is a whole level of unused parking – I doubt that their customers wouldn’t be able to find spots.

  • The best thing about Nash’s sports is that their football related merchandise is all about the DALLAS COWBOYS. They just put the redskins stuff out to make money off the local custies, but they are a cowboys store all the way.

    The idea of a redskins store making it in Dallas are literally unfathomable. But the truth is that there are as many, if not more, cowboys fans in DC as there are skins fans.

    • i think you are confused…there are a lot of Cowboys fans in this area but that is moreso a result of poor parenting than anything…there will never be more Cowboys fans in DC than Redskins fans…not even close

      • until 1/3 of the stadium is full of cowboys fans here in about 3 weeks…

      • poor parenting? how about poor coaching, ownership and playing by the DEADSKINS!?!!?

        I already purchased my season opener tickets to watch the Cowboys whoop the skins.

        Hopefully I make it out alive as I will be in all blue, drunk and belligerent!

        • \how about poor coaching, ownership and playing by the DEADSKINS!?!!?\

          says the man whose team won its first playoff game in 14 yrs just 7 months ago…anyhow, if Nash’s really is a cowboys store (unconfirmed speculation) then hopefully Sports Zone does run them out of business.

      • We already discussed this on a previous thread. Old school DC residents loved the Cowboys because they integrated the team earlier, were not racist like the Redskins management of the era, etc. Plus they win a lot.
        As a California native growing up in the 70s & 80s I found it easy to root for the Joe Montana era 49ers, and the Cowboys and Redskins, especially the Skins defensive line, were considered our arch enemies. Not sure what their fans thought. Can anyone explain why the Cowboys are in the eastern division and not south or west?
        I root for the team who is most beautiful to watch in action. So, last couple years, the Patriots and sometimes the Colts.

  • ^^^ Who cares?

  • All I’m saying is that if a movie theater goes in, I’m out!

  • There is already a store selling the exact same sports crap (Nash) accross the street in the Tivoli retail space.

    Yes, more retail is great, but how about something that we don’t have yet? Like an Apple store?

  • What this town needs is an indoor field turf ball field, not more sporting goods stores.

  • They asked the city for tax abatement that grocery stores usually get. The city, however, did not agree to give them the abatement they asked for because they did not meet all the requirements. perhaps that has something to do with the delay.

  • Thus continues the downfall of DCUSA. It is slowly moving more toward a ghetto and will soon be just like Gallery Place. Should have been nice and worthwhile but the city’s element of feral children, thugs, and bums will step in to ruin it for everyone.

    Marshalls and Target may be doing well – but who do they cater to? Maybe the area around DCUSA would not be covered in trash from newspapers and fast food containers to mattresses and old TV sets if it didn’t cater to that element.

    • Are you nuts? Everyone shops at Marshall’s and Target. What “element” doesn’t need designer clothing, and, well, all the basic necessities of life that Target sells?

      Marhsall’s is hardly Forman Mills, buddy. I suppose you’d rather have a Nordstrom? What are you, a “real housewife of DC?” Normal people (not just “ghetto” people) shop at Target and Marshalls.

      • by “that element” you must mean the middle class families, young professionals and college students that were packed into Target last night

  • Stores I will never step foot into at DCUSA:
    -Radio Shack
    -Vitamin Shoppe
    -Lane Bryant (though this is more personal than anything as i’m not a big lady)
    -Panda Express

    This is despite the fact that I’m a frequent consumer of electronics, shoes, and Chinese food.

    Huge chain stores that could fit and that I would actually shop at if they were at DCUSA:

    -Fry’s Electronics (failing that, I’ll settle for Microcenter)
    -Ace Hardware

    I guess Columbia Heights hasn’t \arrived\ enough for any chain to consider a flagship store (Adidas, Apple, etc) there? I’ll be impressed when it can support something like a Kiehl’s or L’Occitane. Hello, gentrifiers.

  • Wow, I think a lot of these posters must not have had their morning coffee or something. More retail in DCUSA would be great and would help clean up the trash laying around in front of those vacant spaces–not to mention bring jobs to the community. That being said, I don’t understand the argument for a Whole Foods up there, Giant is across the street, and anyone can take a *gasp* bus right down 14th to the P St. location. It is disconcerting that the development didn’t follow the path it had originally proposed–supporting local minority and woman owned operations (I had a friend get burned on this too, not just the French bakery).

    And about the feral teens (a phrase that I love because it is so fitting)– I hope they do shift up to Columbia Heights, to at least weaken the crowds at Gallery Place so you can actually get into the movie theater.

    • Yeah. Everyone is cranky, but that is not unusual on this site.

      Yes, the sidewalks are often pretty dirty, and could use some cleaning up. It is very high traffic, and, for retail, that’s a good thing.

      Re: Whole Foods, I am guessing that they held out for parking because customers with cars buy more than ones who take the bus.

  • + 10. You get it.

  • interesting that sportszone is in Georgetown but also Alabama Avenue. I just hope they dont keep late hours on friday and saturday. that will be a disaster.

  • I think the commenters who believe that DCUSA is a failure are a bit deluded. We’re in the worst economy in 75 years. Getting an Ellwood Thompsons or an REI to commit the cash to what’s effectively a gamble is extraordinarily difficult. If big box stores weren’t up there, you’d have a shut-down REI and a half-built Ellwood Thompsons.

    That Columbia Heights has developed the way it has over the past 4 years is remarkable. I expect things to accelerate once the economy turns, but what DCUSA looks the way it does today because that was the best of a very limited number of options.

    Finally, if you don’t like the sorts of people who need to buy things at Marshall’s or Target, and who travel there on the metro because stuff is cheap and times are tough, Mr. Poon kindly requests that you relocate out of his neighborhood.

    • I concur. If you want to talk failures of urban malls, look at City Place in Silver Spring. I remember all the excitement over that opening, etc. And so quickly it has devolved into something with no real anchors, no stores of note, nothing. Depressing when you consider the rest of Silver Spring adn teh development that has occurred. DCUSA won’t fold due to the demand and lack of any other realistic shopping options available in the area.

      • That is so true! I went to City Place in S.S. for a store that I couldn’t find anywhere else and it was the most depressing place I have been in ages. And it is in such a great location, with free weekend parking?! What gives with that place? The top 2 floors are mostly empty and the rest of the stores are no name (not even a Foot Locker. Even the food court is sad.) They did a Deco theme but a lot of the finishes are cheap – no marble trim like you’d find at Pentagon City. I bought my stuff, took my kid to look at the fountain (which was coated with algae scum and needs cleaning) and high tailed it out of there.

    • Nicely put, Poon.

    • +1 – well said!

    • You deserve some Tang for that one!

  • you sound like a real snob. the DCUSA radio shack is great. very helpful and friendly folks working there. i would buy stuff at payless if they carried my size. i’m glad we’ve got these stores to fulfill basic needs for everyone who lives nearby.

    • What size can’t you find at Payless? I have a hard time finding shoes that fit (I wear a women’s 5.5) but Payless actually has a lot in my size. If they made shoes that lasted more than a month I might shop there more often.

      • saf

        I dunno about 11th, but I can’t buy shoes there as they carry no wide sizes.

        Also, I agree, their shoes fall apart really fast every time I do find a pair to buy.

      • 15. i wore a lot of payless growing up, haven’t been able to wear them for a while obviously. i always thought they held up fine. the point though was that hating on payless and radio shack is kind of silly and strikes me as snobby.

      • Hard to find shoes that aren’t all manmade materials.

        Captcha, was that Hebrew you were asking me for?

  • Was really enjoying the Christian advertisements being broadcast at DCUSA today. Maybe the green line IS safe for the tea party afterall.

  • The majority of residents of CH are low income. A couple rich blocks and a smattering of the young professional class notwithstanding.

    You want high end shit? Take the metro to Friendship Heights where the majority of residents have extra money to spend on that stuff.

    DCUSA attracts tenants that can do a high volume of business with the demographics in place in the neighborhood.

    It’s very simple really.

    • +10!

      CH has the highest percentage of subsidized/low income housing in all of NW.

      I’m not saying that people who are middle class or below shouldn’t have nice things…but Bloomindales, REI to be more realistic, isn’t going to take the risk of opening a new store in a down economy in a neighborhood with the education and salary/income demographics of CH.

  • Is this place more hipster like Palace Five or ghetto like DTLR at 14th and U? If its the former, then I don’t know how they will both stay in business and if its the latter then hello robbery at gun point! I guess CH has finally arrived…at becoming Gallery Place. thank god we never got a theater.

  • how easy it would be if each of us could hand pick a selection of stores which would open when and where we pleasesd.

    we’re practically in a recession. not all retail is dying, but it sure is hard growing a business no matter what sector you’re in. same goes for for dcusa developers. they are trying to fill the retail space, feel good story (ellwoods) or not.

    sportszone is a “local” chain with 25+ stores including stores in 3/4 quadrants in dc. seems like agood fit. btw, their tagline is “lifestyle footwear and apparel,” for anyone wondering why they don’t sell tennis rackets.

  • Personally, I’d love to have a bookstore in DCUSA. Borders just closed on 14th Street downtown – how about just moving that inventory up a few block north?

  • Not me.

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