Five Below, “leading retailer of trend-right, extreme-value merchandise to the teen and pre-teen market – all for $1.00 to $5.00” Coming to Columbia Heights


Permit master [email protected] tweeted the news on Friday:

“Attention low budget shoppers — Five Below is coming to DC USA.”

From Five Below’s website:

Five Below, Inc. is the leading retailer of trend-right, extreme-value merchandise to the teen and pre-teen market – all for $1.00 to $5.00.

Five Below’s dynamic assortment of merchandise includes everything from sporting goods, games, fashion accessories and jewelry, to hobbies and collectibles, bath and body, candy and snacks, room décor and storage, stationery and school supplies, video game accessories, books, dvds, iPhone accessories, novelty and “gag,” and seasonal items. Five Below combines exceptional value with trend-right, quality merchandise in a vibrant shopping environment.

I wonder if they are coming into the space that was once touted as the future home of Ellwood Thompson’s before they backed out? If so, it’ll be right next to the coming soon Petco on Irving Street.


113 Comment

  • I can’t believe DC USA still has vacancies after all these years. Stores are still opening up in it and there’s still more vacant spaces. I bet this was a surprise to the developer. A bit harder to attract retailers than they expected.

    • Its called redlining. Doesnt matter what the neighborhood household income is. If the proper “demographic” isn’t there, top tier retailers aren’t interested.

    • They could have attracted more retailers sooner with lower per-SF prices, too, I suspect. I don’t understand why it’s cheaper to keep a place vacant than to lower the lease cost, but maybe it is. Meanwhile, what is “trend-right”?

    • Many of the spaces were set aside for “disadvantaged/minority” businesses. When the economy tanked, those were the businesses least likely to get financing. One reason for the vacancies. The other issue is that CH is market of extremes. Either folks are living in 800k row hours/500k condos or in public housing or other forms of low income housing. THere is just a lot of suburban crap that is only going to attract more suburban crap. I used to live in CH but had a kid and now live in Park View. I like being able to walk to the Target etc when I need but damn, I don’t miss the shit show of humanity and crime in the neighborhood one bit.

      • amen? If there ever was a phrase to describe Columbia Heights, it’s “sh*t show.” All it would take is some added patrols around 14th and Irving to clean up the neighborhood and make it better. Seriously, the guy hawking socks off of a card table when there is a Target selling socks on the same block? Or the guy who paints himself silver and blares his boom box while dancing? Aren’t there permits that DC can check and see that these people don’t have and clean the place up?

        • Yes. What’s lacking is a competent police force the least bit willing to do the job for which they’re overpaid.

        • I like the shit show, it is what makes Columbia Heights unique from the rest of the District. My only issue with that area is the overflowing trash cans and garbage everywhere. I don’t think the people you mentioned are the main causes of those problems…

        • I once complained to Jim Graham’s office about the sidewalk vendors — especially the noisy ones — on Columbia Road in front of the Safeway.
          A Graham staffer responded and suggested that I ask the vendors to show their permits.
          WTF?? Since when is enforcement the job of ordinary citizens??

  • I had always wished another food store would open up in DCUSA.

  • Ugh. Low-end merchandise that appeals to teens and preteens? This sounds like a step downward for DCUSA and for Columbia Heights.

    I would’ve preferred a Dollar Tree — those at least carry merchandise that grownups might want.

    • I’ve been wishing for years that a Dollar Tree would open up in DC. Maybe I need to do it myself; I’m sure it would do really well.

      • DC used to have a fair number of dollar stores, it would be great to have one like Dollar Tree.

      • There’s actually a Dollar Tree in D.C., but it’s at the edge of the District. Literally at the edge — it’s in a strip mall at Michigan Avenue and Eastern Avenue.

    • Unless it has closed, there’s a Dollar Star on Mt. Pleasant Street.

      • Big difference between Dollar Tree and other dollar stores. Dollar Trees are clean, organized, and well stocked. They tend to carry more stuff that people use on a day-to-day basis and most of it’s of surprisingly good quality. Whenever I’m out in VA I go there to stock up on dog bags, toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, cleaning supplies, etc.

  • Five Below’s primary market advantage is that the stuff is so cheap, kids don’t need to shoplift.

  • Terrible. Just think – could have had Whole Foods if Graham would have just let them have dedicated parking in the now empty parking garage. They could have had the whole P2 level with no impact.

    • I don’t think WF was ever a possibility. There was Ellwood Thompson and that had more issues than just parking. Neighborhood incomes don’t support high end retailers in CoHi. The high cost of housing, as a poster pointed out above, is not indicative of the majority of it’s residents. I went to a Five Below up in Columbia, MD during the holidays last year and it was fine, I didn’t see anything I wanted to gift, but if I were shopping for back to school clothes for my kids and I made $30,000 a year, I’d make it work.

      • It’s a matter of the moment in time you pick to gauge whether there was a real possibility. Way back when, there was serious talk of a WF coming to the space, but they required something like 40 dedicated parking spots for their customers, which was a no-go for the powers-that-were at the time, including, reportedly, Graham. I’m no insider, but this WAS the scuttlebutt at the time ( In hindsight, if it really fell through bc they couldn’t get 40 dedicated spots, that should go down in the annals of DC development history as an all-time fail. The developer lost years of rents on this space, and the neighborhood now has Rockville Pike-in-a-box anchoring it commercially.

        • The link you provide doesn’t say that Graham opposed giving WF parking. To the contrary, it says that the public bond financing and Target were the obstacles.

          • I realize that. However, we’re talking about 7+ years ago and it wasn’t my intent to do anything other than illustrate that WF was a possibility, which you recognize immediately below. My recollection from that time is that Graham was not all that proactive in trying to get the parties unstuck from the loggerheads they had reached on the parking issue. But that may be a faulty memory on my end, or projection bc I was hopeful that the WF would materialize, or both, and it may be presently unfair to Graham not to caveat thusly. My disinterest in revisiting the archives of the CH listserv (why get mad at some of those folks all over again? But I do wonder whatever became of flame-poet and noted gadfly annoyer halyadoing) to refresh my recollection on this point, I hope, can be forgiven.

        • Except Rockville Pike has a Whole Foods!

      • Whole Foods was indeed interested. This was before the whole Ellwood farce. Ace is right that the sticking point was dedicated parking. My understanding is that Graham was not the holdup. It had to do with the public financing of the garage which somehow precluded carving out a portion for one private interest. It was such a lost opportunity though.

      • I think you are underestimating incomes in the area (as opposed to just CH proper). Look at housing prices in, say, Mt. P, which are shooting up to insane levels. I think the area definitely could have supported a WF. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that it could support one now.

      • There is always speculation that WF is coming to a project–everyone wants a WF and asks them to consider coming to their neighborhood. I read the link and not only was DCUSA concerned with dedicated parking, so was Target. If Target had pulled out, there wouldnt have been any project is my guess. Again, I’m sure WF Weighed several other factors that caused them to not join with DCUSA. There is a WF/Target combo with lots of non-dedicated parking in Annapolis, it’s very nice. My guess is WF would have made it work if they saw it to be financially sound.

        As far as Mt. P and areas surrounding DCUSA, yes real estate is expensive there too. That is not indicative of salaries for the majority is what I’m pointing out.

        • This was after Target was already in. They weren’t going anywhere.

          • That was me again in the comment above.

            Did you read the link another poster placed above? The developer specified Target wouldn’t allow it, so not sure how the city has gotten blamed solely fo reheat you all see as the reason there isn’t a WF.

            Look, CoHi isn’t Georgetown–who btw is getting a TJMax another low end vendor. It is a middle class neighborhood with more concentrated low income housing than any other area in NW. The majority of people who live there, who probably don’t spend hours commenting on PoP like us, deserve a place to shop as well in the city. It just so happens it’s at DCUSA.

          • I posted the link above, which I shared only for the purpose of showing that Whole Foods was at least being discussed openly as a possible core tenant of DCUSA back when the development opened, by city officials and developers and WF alike. You could probably spend a few hours going back over everything — a lot of it useless, hopeful speculation — that was said about the possibility of WF coming at that time.

            But I don’t think it’s fair to take the developer’s statement from that post and say it answers — or exonerates or casts blame on anyone, including city officials — the question of “why isn’t there a Whole Foods in DCUSA?” It was merely the self-interested public statement of a business engaged in negotiations with another party and trying to do community PR work at the same time. My guess is that Target could have been convinced to assent to dedicated parking for WF if the business case had been made to them about additional sales associated with locations sharing a roof with WF or the bigger draw radius associated with WF locations, for instance. The terms of the bond probably were a much greater issue from a legal standpoint, and that is a District issue. But I agree — no one is solely to blame, if blame is even an applicable concept in this setting, and this is all water under the bridge at this point. It’s not my aim to reheat any old debates, just to add an historical perspective on DCUSA as the post and comments contemplate what is there now and how the commercial offerings have been in flux over its relatively short life.

    • I’m glad WF didn’t move in, but this Five Below thing sounds like a nightmare too, in the opposite direction. Sigh.

  • Ugh. I can’t imagine a more obnoxious place to add to this clusterf***.

  • What the heck does “trend-right” mean? That is retail industry jargon if I’ve ever heard it, and means nothing to consumers. Am I wrong?

  • This sounds like a junk store.

  • i think i just threw up a bit in the back of my mouth

  • If someone asked me, “what is your vision of hell, where you would never want to spend an eternal afterlife?” I think I would have described this store.

  • The Bronx, DC

  • Wow. Another coup for Columbia Heights. Meridian Pint remains the only reason to head over there.

    • Not debating that CH is becoming less and less appealing all the time thanks to the influx of crap chain stores, but 11th St is a different story. There are several places over there worth going to apart from Meridian Pint.

      • I’d go to KBC and El Chucho over the Pint is you’re talking food. Happy to go in for a beer, but there’s much better food across and down the street.

  • Wow, CH just keeps getting better and better. Who knew that what we really wanted is a bunch of stores and “restaurants” that belong in a suburban strip mall (and a pretty cheap-ass strip mall at that)?

  • cheap junk designed to attract more pre-teens and teens to DC USA? awesome.

  • Wow, there are some really entitled comments here. Not every single development is going to cater specifically to your preferred demographic, jeeeeez.

    • Seriously. It would be nice if there were still someplace for all the people you’re displacing to shop.

      • Exactly. I cannot stand the snotty attitude some people get when their high-end retail dreams are deflated. Reality check: DCUSA is a freaking mall in a mixed income area. God forbid a retailer doesn’t fall all over itself to cater to a higher tax bracket.

      • Who has been replaced. This is a lovely CH urban legend. Since all the redevelopment, CH has NET GAIN of over 300 units of subsidized housing. Almost all of the development was on city owned/vacant or under utlized lots.

      • So do you own a place in DC? Or rent in a new apartment building? If so, do you own or rent in Georgetown or Woodley Park? If not, you too are “displacing” people. I’m so sick of those who decry the evils of gentrification when they are doing the same. Also, if we are truly “displacing” people, then they would be living somewhere other than the neighborhood in question, thus a store catering to them would be largely pointless….

        • Nope. I’m displacing people and I acknowledge it. I don’t come in with hubris about how I’m doing them a favor or that “it’s just the way it goes”.

        • Point taken, we all have to live *somewhere* and if you move into a market-rate unit in a nice, centrally-located neighborhood, it’s difficult to 100% avoid being a part (however small) of the demographic/economic swell that can, over time, lead to rising prices and neighborhood change. But there’s a big difference between unintentionally being part of the collective demographic that facilitates gentrification because you’re looking for a decent, convenient place to live vs. moving to a neighborhood and being openly and unapologetically snide, disrespectful, and dismissive of existing residents and businesses (and expressing the wish that those businesses and people leave and are replaced by neighbors and establishments that meet *your* taste and standards). (“Your” as in all of us generally, not you personally, Anon 11:17.) I think the latter is what the commenters above are referencing, and that sentiment is alive and well on PoP.

      • Here’s your problem: there’s a reason the lot where DCUSA sits was boarded up and vacant for years and years, as were several lots across the street and to the south that now boom with people and enterprise. You present a false choice, bc the reality of what happened when it was just the “displaced” (more correctly, the socio-economic demographic that you’re discussing) was that there was nothing at all. It took projections of new residents with higher incomes and greater spending power, along with some pretty heavy taxpayer-funded incentives, to draw in what’s here now. Or have you forgotten the explicit 100k+ policy of Mayor Williams’ administration?

    • Ah yes, the inevitable defense of the lousy establishment. You can set your watch to it (if you wore one, which you probably don’t anymore).

  • brookland_rez

    I don’t think a dollar store targeting teens is a great idea for Columbia Heights. Even though it’s a chain, it’s still a dollar store.

  • WE are the developers to whoever said this came as a shock to them. This stupid mall was so heavily subsidized by the taxpayers its a joke. The tax payers wanted a Whole Foods. And that was ruined with the “dedicated parking” non issue (lots half empty 24/7) and then DC took it a step further and heavily subsidized the IHOP with MORE tax payer money in the form of a grant to LOCAL businesses. This Mall that everyone touted as the rebirth of CH is more like the bane of it’s existence. The city just threw tax payer money at a bunch of Low-rent big-box chain store crap. Why don’t we give walmart some cheddar while we are at it. If they had just put more condos/offices and ground floor retail there logan Circle would have just continued right up 14th. Now there is a big tumor there clogging the artery.

    • It’s true.

    • I’m pretty sure the numerous Section 8 apartment complexes on 14th between Clifton and Irving would have precluded a continuous extension of Logan-type establishments up 14th.

      • There is public housing peppered all throughout Logan Circle, and it hasn’t stopped high-end development.

        • From HUD’s Section 8 housing search:

          Columbia Heights: 1301 Belmont, 2400 14th, 1356 Fairmont, 1400 Euclid, 1400 Fairmont, 3500 14th, 3023 14th, 1372 Kenyon, 1456 Oak, 1443 Fairmont, 3322 14th, 2801 14th, 1440 Meridian, 1369 Irving, and 1421 Columbia. That’s 14 buildings.

          Logan: 1220 12th, 1420 R ST, 1222 T and 1407 S.

          As you can see, the public housing is both more numerous (3X as many buildings) and more concentrated (along 14th) than the buildings in Logan.

          • Sorry, shouldn’t have said public housing. Meant subsidized. I know Section 8 properties aren’t publicly owned.

          • and you arent even including the actual public housing in CH. there is a ton of low income housing concentrated in the area. Blame Graham. This was his voter base. Obviously thats changing and hopefully he will move on.

          • Well, you’re wrong about 1421 Columbia at least. Around 1985 it was a joint city/private project to develop an empty building into affordable CONDOs for purchase by “workforce” housing etc. It was indeed completely screwed up and became a crap-tastic failure – due to a number of factors, but was ultimately rescued & turned around and is now a very nice – and expensive – functional condo with a good majority owners who live there. There are 3 out of the 30 units still owned by Woodly House, for supported housing for the mentally ill.

          • Victoria, maybe you should contact HUD and tell them their website is wrong. I’d imagine that affordable housing hunters would be thankful that they won’t waste their time trying to live at 1421 Columbia.

        • “Peppered” is an extremely important distinction.

  • God the amount out of out control teens hanging at this place plus the shop lifting is going to be insufferable. Kind of like Gallery Place theater on a Friday night. No thanks.

  • As a 30 year old yuppie, this store seems like hell on earth. But to a 12 or 13 yr old, particularly one from a low income family, I could see this being a pretty cool place.

    Columbia Heights isn’t Georgtown or even Logan. The section 8 housing stock vastly exceeds the 2 or 3 “luxury high rise” apartment buildings that have been built in the area. We are just getting retail that serves the general community.

    • Haven’t any of you ever been teenagers with limited funds? When I was that age I used to love stores like this since places like the Gap were out of my price range. There’s so little that caters to this demographic in the city, and it’s better to have them spending money on junky clothes than on drugs.

      • Sorry 30 year old yuppie, I didn’t mean to reply to you. As another 30 year old yuppie I’m in agreement with what you said!

  • 15 years from now? Most of us with kids are hoping we making it five years (till kindergarten).
    Also, there is a lot of spouting about demographics on this thread.
    let me provide 2012 info for the conversation:
    with a half mile radius of CH Metro:
    median HH income 42k
    Owner occupied 28%

    Compare to half mile radius of Petworth Metro:
    Med HH income-51k
    Owner occupied-50%

    All of this is available on the WDC Economic Partnership Page. But what does it mean, CH has density that retailers are seeking but the HH income and lower owner occupancy are also key indicators of transience, low income etc…which many retailers are NOT seeking. Petworth has significantly less density making it harder to retail but the neighborhoods are actually considered more high income and stable.

  • I completely agree that an independent retailer or restaurant would be preferable, but I actually really enjoy 5 Below. They sell packs of 100 glowsticks for $5. What’s not to love. Plus it’s a great place for cheap, fun gifts.

    • What’s not to love about 100 glowsticks for $5.00? Seriously? How much chemicals, plastic, labor, packaging, shipping and disposal should you get for a nickel?

  • Big losers: BB&B, WSC, Alero, etc. — Young-ish middle-class singles and couples they depend on are going to avoid this place like the plague. Sounds awful.

    There’s nothing you can get at Best Buy or Target that you can’t get cheaper and delivered free from Amazon, so there’s not much reason to head over there now if it means having to deal with the obnoxious teen hordes. If I want that, I can already get it at Gallery Place.

    • I don’t think big box shoppers are usually that child-adverse. Malls were considered teen plazas for most of the time they were relevant and they did well.

    • I’ll give you Best Buy, since I almost never go there, but I think there’s still going to be a customer base for Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, despite the hassle/crowds and the ubiquity of Not so much for big-ticket items like appliances or furnishings, but I go to Target and BB&B often for small items–partly because there are issues with package delivery at home, and it’s a hassle to get things delivered to work; and partly because I’m not great at planning ahead, so by the time I realize I need X Household Item, I usually need it TODAY and don’t want to wait around for shipping. So I’m guessing there ar others that fall into this category too.

      • How often do you really need household items? I’ve been to BB&B once in the past year, to replace a shower curtain liner. Haven’t bought anything from Target or Amazon. I can see hitting up these stores if you just moved into a new home, but what the heck is everyone else buying there?

        • I got to Target at least 2x per week for stuff, usually groceries (basics like milk, juice, anything that comes in a box) and random household items like toothpaste, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc. Stuff there is so much cheaper there and am very glad to have it. The rest of the mall could be blown up for all I care.

          • Seems like you’re not planning very well. Even if you have 14 kids you should be able to get away with a once-a-month trip to Target.

          • I can’t imagine going to Target only once a month. I’m there about once a week to buy groceries and miscellaneous things.

          • Last time I went to a Target was in 2010, and that was in another state. It’s just too inconvenient.

    • You’d think one smallish store was going to define the complex.

  • I am getting more and more concerned about the way CH is heading. I live in Mt Pleasant and liked being near CH for target, BBB, etc. But this is just going to make it more like the next Chinatown…

  • Looking at the Five Below website, it seems that they would attract not just teens but also college students and parents who could use those cheap fun little items. In other words, the subset of Target shoppers that loves to hit up the dollar item section.

  • DCUSA is slowly morphing into the Hechinger Mall of NW.

  • The phrase “trend-right, extreme value merchandise” is more annoying to me than nails on a chalkboard.

  • We all can’t afford to spend hundreds on clothing and food. Some of us in the neighborhood need cheaper options like Five Below and T.G.I. Friday’s.

  • Columbia Heights seems to be a lighting rod for comment, look at the amount of posts for this news and the one on TGI Friday’s moving in that posted earlier in the week. Some might seem pissed that they missed the boat to buy up here and now the market is too expensive; others seem thankful they don’t live up here at all and love to knock it any chance they get. Where are all the people who call COHI home? I live on Holmead and prefer 11th St to 14th around the Complex, is it a shitshow at times…HELL YA, but its my home and I am content.

    I moved up here from Adams Morgan 11 years ago, before all the new development and I remember the cop choppers seemed incessant in the night sky. I had a friend who visited me one time and his car battery, yes the freakn BATTERY was stolen out of his car. So all I see is improvement. Do I get jealous at lower 14th St, how quickly that turned around, with its wonderful retreats, of course I do…but, hey, thats the way it goes. There must be others who live here and enjoy it, instead of knocking it any chance they get.

    • I may be wrong but I think a lot of the commenters DO live in Columbia Heights and are disappointed that the neighborhood is not developing exactly to their tastes. As for the folks who live there and do like it, as a general rule you usually don’t hear much from the folks who are satisfied.

    • I have lived in Columbia Heights since 2002 and like it just fine. Is all of the development to my taste? No, but I recognize that not everyone in the neighborhood has my income level and/or preferences. I actually think that is one of the things that make the neighborhood great. I don’t feel that every business needs to cater to me. Enough do. I love a lot of the restaurants on 11th. As for DC USA, I use it almost every day. I belong to the WSC and shop at Target, Bed & Bath, DSW, and even Marshall’s occasionally. I’m glad that I can get all that done on foot.

      Every time development in CH comes up, you hear the same tired complaints–that it is becoming just like a suburban shopping mall. I suspect that the real gripe, however, is not that it is too suburban but that it is too urban, as in too many poor people. It seems that some people would prefer that it turn into Georgetown or the yuppie Disneyland that 14th street will soon become.

      • lower 14th Street, that is.

      • Yes, a neighborhood that’s either uniformly high-end or full of diverse local retail and architecture is probably universally considered more desirable than an abortive attempt at a neighborhood now defined by the banes of poverty combined with the blandness of the suburbs and the costs of a housing bubble.

      • A uniformly high-end area or a neighborhood defined by diverse, interesting, local retail and architecture are probably universally more desirable next to an abortive attempt at a neighborhood defined by a combination of the banes of poverty, the blandness of the suburbs, and the prices of a housing bubble.

        • I don’t get the “bland” criticism. I mean, I guess it applies to 14th from Irving to Monroe but have you seen the rowhouses on Harvard, Euclid, Girard, 13th, 11th, etc? Sure, most are condos, but a lot of them are really quite beautiful.

          W/r/t to local retail, one of the best Mexican food places in the District is just up 14th, and there’s a good strip of locally owned places on 11th. I guess I get get pissed when people say “Columbia Heights is terrible” when they really mean “DCUSA is terrible.”

          • Yes, “power of flight” plainly knows little about CH beyond DC USA. There is a lot of diversity of income, race, sexual orientation, architecture, local vs. national retail. CH is one of the most diverse, interesting neighborhoods in the city. It’s really a silly, uninformed comment.

          • Yes, agreed. It is 1-2 blocks of Columbia Heights at most. Park Road has good, affordable ethnic restaurantsplus just a few blocks up 14th St you have other solid eating options.

            I’d take Columbia Heights over the Logan Circle and U St portions of 14th st any day. Lot more interesting and plenty of good food options. Sure, it has a lot of “suburban” crap, but c’est la vie.

            Bunch of drama queens on this blog…

    • I live one metro stop away (or short bus ride) and was totally thrilled when the Target opened. Went there the first day and watched the happy hordes clean the shelves of affordable household goods. Thrilled to see an Ihop, went there the first day because a friend wanted to go. Equally thrilled to get a PetCo soon, will be there ready to lug affordable kitty litter back home.

      ‘Affordable’ meaning basic, quality, reasonable price and not upmarketed to people with three-figure income. We have been lacking that feature in development schemes for decades now, and it’s good to see it. Doesn’t mean that downscale is going to take over, but there has to be a balance in order to have a diverse and livable city.

      • Yup, those “three-figure income” people are really ruining it for the rest of us. Sometimes they make as much as $999 a year!

  • I have very much enjoyed reading these posts and the ones about TGI Friday’s. What retailers would make folks in CH happy? Are you looking for an H&M, a Nordstrom Rack, or perhaps a Louis Vuitton? Please don’t say you want another grocery. Giant and Target are here and Whole Foods isn’t coming.

  • It’s sad that low income and high income people can’t be happy together… in a place like cohi, which i LOVE because it’s so diverse. why can’t a j.crew be next to a five below? cohi is a place where there is low income housing, and the row houses are close to hitting the million dollar mark. something for everyone, so it makes sense that there should be stores for everyone too, right? what am i missing here?

    • The problem is not the customer, it is the retailers. I shop at both JCrew and discount stores. But JCrew will never come into a development that is predominantly discount stores. They think it hurts their brand. So when people bemoan the new low-end chains, they are also mourning the loss of the promise of higher-end retailers that will now never come to their neighborhood.

      I’m bummed because there ARE a handful of retailers that appeal to wide income demographics. In addition to Target, you’ve got places like Old Navy and H&M. But as a MtP resident, the thought of another dollar store doesn’t thrill me.

  • I think my disappointment in this newest arrival to DCUSA stems from the fact that I’m disappointed generally in DCUSA and the area directly around it. The powers-that-be had a chance to create an interesting neighborhood center from the ground up, and instead we ended up with largely lowest-common-denominator stuff and buildings that are unremarkable at best and butt-ugly at worst. Yes I know what was(n’t) there before DCUSA and the surrounding buildings went up, but still…it’s sad (but not remotely surprising) that given the opportunity to build something attractive, creative, or noteworthy, the DC government and developers instead gave us boring crap that could be anywhere. Aim low and that’s where you’ll end up…so welcome 5 Below and your trend-right, extreme value merchandise…whatever the f**k that is.

  • So much “disappointment” from the commentosphere – you’d think someone moved a sex-offender halfway house next door to WSC. Buck up gentrifiers – not every piece of retail or new building will be designed for our affluent tastes, not every public space will be free of noisy teens, and yes, there will some crime. Should you continue to press for better services, more retail, less crime and traffic? Absolutely! Must you also accept that living in a racially, economically diverse city, and in particular, a diverse part of town, means that you occasionally need to cut back on the whining just a teensy bit? Yep, that too.

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