DC’s Last Blockbuster To Close on Barracks Row in Late August

Back in Nov. ’10 we learned that Capitol Video Sales would be closing at nearby 514 8th Street, SE on Barracks Row to make room for a new latin tapas restaurant to be called Pacifico. At the time I wondered when the bell would toll for the Blockbuster located up the street at 400 8th Street SE? Well we now know – mid to late August according to Barracks Row Main Street.

The space is around 4700 square feet and when asked what folks would like to see in the space on the Barracks Row Main Street facebook page the most popular answer? Trader Joe’s!

Personally I think a gym would do really well there.

Who do you think would be the best fit? A grocery store? A gym? Other retail? Or do you think there is enough room for another restaurant on Barracks Row?

27 Comment

  • There was just an article in today’s WaPo Style section featuring this Blockbuster. Although it didn’t say it was closing they did hint that its days were numbered.

  • Too small for a Trader Joe’s… they need about twice the space. But we could use a second (or third or fourth or fifth) in DC!

  • Ladies and gentlemen…capitalism at it’s finest!

  • a gym? why? there’s already a great results the gym a few blocks away and a washington sports club as well. the greater hill area needs more gyms — H STREET! — but not on barracks row, which is just a handful of blocks away from two thriving gyms already.

    • Exactly. Not to mention a yoga studio and a separate pilates studio a block away, and the pool at Rumsey. Agreed, H Street needs a gym, but not Barracks Row.

      Would be nice to see retail here – I always use the Gap as an example (even though I don’t think I’ve been in a Gap in 5 yrs) as the type of store that is needed on Barracks Row. People get squirrely about chains, but that doesn’t bother me and I think it could actually help other retail take root in the area.

      • How many times a month do you go out to eat? How many times a month to you go to a Gap? Multiply that by 30,000. That’s why a GAP (or other retail) most likely won’t go there.

        • For now, you’re probably right. Barracks Row still hasn’t reached a saturation point for restaurants and daytime foot traffic still isn’t enough to support that kind of retail. This is why there’s a retail mix task force and groups like CHAMPS and BRMS are working to figure out at what point can retail on 8th street become sustainable (possibly after the redevelopment of the blue castle?) In the meantime, you have a small group of overly vocal NIMBYs talking moratoriums (which the ANC thankfully rejected) and causing a ruckus any time anything wants to move in. It’d be nice to see one retail place like the Gap come in – which ultimately is probably hindered more by the size of the space than anything else. (b/c your math is true of ALL retail, no matter where it is, but people from all across the east side of the city, on both sides of the river, come to Barracks Row)

      • I’m always in favor of new restaurants, but this is a large space and it would be nice to see it used for retail.

        I have to admit I’d find the Trader Joe’s most useful, since I buy groceries more than anything else. Eastern Market is great but the selection and hours are limited, and I love the Yes! Organic Market but I’d go broke if I did all my shopping there. Harris Teeter and the homophobia Safeway are a bit too far to walk to so I rarely go.

        And I know it sounds lame, but a nice Dollar Tree like the ones they have in Virginia (nothing like the horrible Dollar Store on the other side of the street), would get a ton of business from Hill residents who need inexpensive toilet paper, trash bags, party supplies, dog leashes, etc.

        Short of that I’d be thrilled to have a solid nightlife destination on Barracks Row. Something low-key with good music, along the lines of Eighteenth Street Lounge. Or a gay club.

  • A real sushi place, not some generic noodle house that is going in above a Moby Dick HOK.

    • Yeah, I don’t have high hopes for that one– Asian Fusion is always terrible. There’s Jordan’s 8 but I’ve been so turned off by the poor service that I’ve never tried their sushi.

  • A movie theater – something along the lines of Cinema Draft house – beer/drinks and movies. Perfect partner to the restaurants in the area.

    • The People’s Church was recently bought by the National Community Church, who will be doing some renovations to use the space from time to time. But they are also looking into subleasing the space to be used as a movie theatre when they’re not using it. It probably won’t serve alcohol, but it will be a theatre. My understanding is that they’re looking at E Street as a model for the kind of films they’d like to show.

  • Anything is better than the Blockbuster! I have been wanting that place to close since I moved to the Eastern Market area.

  • if there were a GAP, i’d find an excuse to go there everyday. the street needs retail! i have to go downtown just to buy flipflops! it sucks….

  • Costco!

  • I’d like to see a Hollywood Video go in. Their selection is so much better than Blockbuster’s.

  • One more idea– a store that sells art, craft, or sewing supplies. I know, we had Ipso Crafto a couple years ago and it didn’t last long, but that place had two things working against it: it was located too far south and the selection was too broad for such a small space. You can’t strive to be A.C Moore in a typical DC storefront. But let’s say they focus on a niche, whether it’s drawing/painting supplies, scrapbooking/papercraft materials, or fabric. Stitch DC down the street has been there forever and they seem to be doing really well.

  • That space is as big as the trader joes off Wisconsin in chevy chase, or bethesda or whatever that area in Maryland is called. Come on down Joey!

    • Don’t forget the one in Old Town– it’s miniscule.

      • The one in Old Town expanded recently and is quite big now. But as a recent Old Town to Eastern Market transplant, it would make my day / month / year if a Trader Joe’s opened there. TJs, if you’re reading this, here’s at least one customer who will spend at least $50 / week even if you open a relatively small store there.

      • even considering the loading dock area?

  • Have they started to markdown their product yet?

  • A quick update to the information we provided for this story: Blockbuster will close on or before July 31st, not mid-to-late August as originally expected. Negotiations are underway with a new tenant already. We’ll let you know who as soon as it can be released!

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