Walmart’s New Building on Georgia Avenue

Georgia and Missouri Avenues NW (5929 Georgia Ave, NW)

Last week we learned DC’s first two Walmarts would be opening on Dec. 4th. While we have seen the one on H Street, above you can see how the Georgia Ave building is looking. Like the way it turned out?

Thanks to a reader for sending the photo above:

“Seems like a lot of finishing touches are needed, but the sign is up and and the site is buzzing with activity.”

53 Comment

  • Nope! I don’t like it at ALL. It looks like the H street Connection that is on someone’s list to be teared down. It also resembles Hechenger Mall(Which should also be torn down).

  • Ugh. I once lived in Bentonville, AR (Walmart headquarters) and purposefully moved BACK to DC to get away from it all… sigh.

  • There was a good discussion about WalMart and wages on NPR on Monday night.

  • i’m not thrilled that it’s walmart, and the building is pretty bland. But, it’s better than what was there before and hopefully it will bring more development to the immediately surrounding area.

  • bfinpetworth

    Thumbs up to the building design. Pretty tasteful as Walmarts go.

    • justinbc

      Agreed. It’s not the Guggenheim, but anyone who’s ever seen a suburban Walmart would have to say this one (and the H Street one for that matter) are far superior in appearance to those stores.

      • Why didn’t they build affordable housing on top of this location, where perhaps some of their employees could’ve have afford to live with those low wages they pay?

      • Agreed, as well. Pretty nice looking for a Wal-Mart (which is aiming to go for an up-market clientele in the gentrifying urban areas).
        That said, this looks like it will be a traffic NIGHTMARE. So many people will be double or triple-parked onto Georgia Avenue. This is going to be a total sh#tshow.

        • There is a large underground parking lot.

          • I think Anon 12:06 is still right though. I suspect there’s going to be a ton of people who just pull up to the curb because they’re not “parking”, they’re just picking up, dropping off, waiting for someone, or needing to grab something real quick.

          • The same can be said for DC USA (will Walmart parking be free though?) and there are always people double parked out front.

        • I live a block away and, my personal feelings about Walmart aside, I’m very concerned that traffic (and parking!) will indeed be a s**t show. That corner is a mess as it is. Also, I know there is a parking lot and I heard parking is free for a certain amount of time, but I’m very skeptical.

        • Well if people turn on their emergency flashers that makes it ok to double park.

      • brookland_rez

        I agree, it looks fine. It looks a lot better than the liquor stores that dominate that area. People just hate because it’s a Walmart.

    • I also agree that the design is pretty good for a Walmart and better than what was there before.

  • Sigh. I don’t hate it. I hope that, at least, this brings some good development to the area, and it also serves to make COL just a little bit more manageable for residents in this city. I wish for a number of changes from Wal-Mart’s policies, but maybe some good will come of this to offset that bad.

  • I agree that it has that H Street Connection look (ugly, dated) but it’s my hunch that the numerous clunky pillar bases were designed to protect the storefront from errant autos/trucks crashing into the store itself – this IS Georgia Avenue and there is a reason we have no antique fire call boxes any more.

  • I wonder how much money they lost by not being open by Black Friday.

  • For a Walmart, the design is not half bad . The design of the Fort Totten location is hideous! THAT will outdate itself faster than the old Convention Center!

  • Agreed that from a design standpoint it’s not awful. At least it’s not set back behind a huge parking lot…

  • Does anyone know if there’s parking at this location?

  • Ugh why so suburban? No me gusta.

  • How did they get away with this not meeting WDC’s LEED certification law?

  • Looks to me like another lost opportunity to bring much needed housing in the District. A few levels of housing above it would have been great and would add additional revenue to Walmart since most of the people there would shop there.

  • Is the whole sidewalk in front of the store covered? (Kind of hard to tell from the picture) If so, I am definitely not a fan. Essentially that sidewalk of now part of the store. It’s all closed in and people are just going to hang out whether they’re shopping or not. If you’re just walking through I would use the other side of Georgia.

  • jim_ed

    I like that its up against the street, rather than setback with an at-grade parking lot. Much better urban fill. Also, I am giving Walmart full credit for the fact that Little Caesars is apparently coming across the street in one of the abandoned storefronts. Hot-N-Ready!

    • Ew. Little Caesar’s is exactly the kind of retail I was afraid Walmart would bring. Yes, I suppose almost anything is better than the currently blighted spaces, but Little Sleazers (as we affectionately called it in my youth) is certainly not what I was hoping for.

      • brookland_rez

        Baby steps…. People have to realize that neighborhoods aren’t going to go from boarded up store fronts and liquor stores to Whole Foods overnight.

        There’s nothing wrong with Little Caesars. Don’t be such a snob.

        • We’ll, in DC, they actually kind of do or they don’t. The first retail and commercial places that come in set the tone for the rest of the neighborhood. If you look at any of the hot spots now like 14th and H st they skipped straight from liquor stores to Whole Foods. Goods with lower quality purveyors like this pretty stay that way. Believe me, I hope you are right but history is certainly not an indicator.

          • Yes Whole Foods is coming to H St, but it’s not there yet. The area developed quite a bit before anyone even knew WF was coming.

  • There is parking underneath. As far as big box retail goes, this one is pretty decent. In my mind, nothing looks as bad as DC USA in Col Heights. This project was built “matter of right” which means that it was not required to go through stringent Zoning Commission for any type of zoning relief. Most likely they were not subject to any enforceable LEED certification. It was a lost opportunity to not put housing on top though. At least the new one over by H street does have housing on top. Its definitely a new model/concept for them. All big box retailers have to be educated on the urban market. Going to into cities is really only something most have considered in the last 5-8 years and most of the criteria they use to select locations is not appropriate for Cities. eg.. the City had to practically beg Target to come to Col Heights and we paid for that damn garage. Now Target is looking at G Town and the old ESPN Zone downtown, two places they never would have considered. The Target in CH, I think, has the second highest gross per sq ft in the Country. I suspect/hope that as more Walmarts move forward or other large format retailers move into the City they too will realize 1) the untapped market potential and 2) the value of incorporating mixed use (again, why isnt there housing on top of DC USA??) and 3) urban aesthetic.
    signed- a city planner

  • Why is this one and the one at Riggs & 3rd so close? Isn’t one Walmart per 5 square miles enough? Sigh…

    • You obviously don’t get out in the hinterlands much. There can be Walmarts 5 miles apart, in areas with a lot lower population density.

  • We live half a mile away and are definitely not happy it’s a Walmart. We tried, but they came anyway and I honestly thought it would look much worse, so since they’re here, at least it’s not horrid.. I do think it’s a bit TOO close to the street–that should be a wide navigable sidewalk. Agree it should have been mixed-use. And I thought there was talk of mitigating efforts for that intersection? It”s a hot mess as is, now it’s going to be a complete bottleneck and a spot to avoid.

    • As another neighbor, I am happy they are coming in. We need those jobs, and presumably when the council raises the minimum to $11.50, all of a sudden they are pretty good entry level jobs. The lower cost goods will help people (especially those on fixed incomes and EBT etc), and the retail leak of people driving north into Silver Spring to shop will go down considerably as a result of this place. We are even going to see people coming from MD into DC to shop and spend dollars/sales tax.

      Overall I would say a big win for the city. It is a reasonably building given the location, would have liked housing, but overall I think they did a good job, and I am happy they are coming. Agree, that intersection is a mess, not sure what they are going to do there. I NEVER cross GA at Missouri, always preferring to be north or south to cross GA.

      Appreciate the fact you are able to see some good in it as well. Good for you.

  • As a frequent customer at the adjacent Georgia Avenue thrift store, I dread the prospect of rubberneck traffic.

  • I’m glad the nimbys lost this one.

  • But look here. According to a post on the Takoma DC neighborhood listserv today the lousy Safeway on Georgia and Piney Branch, just a few blocks to the north of the new Walmart suddenly has new management (shifted from the Safeway in Georgetown) who say they are determined to cut the l(interminable) wait time at the registers and upgrade the quality of the inventory.

    After years of languishing, malaise and dysfunction in that store that had neighborhood residents thoroughly disgusted, why has Safeway just now sat up and taken notice of the problem, do you think? Might the introduction of grocery competition in the neighborhood have something to do with it?

    Whatever you think of Walmart and its labor policies, and okay, its stupid architecture, if it makes neighborhood businesses come out of their coma and exert a little more effort to keep the business they used to take for granted, well I’m all for it.

    • Good point — sort of like how the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan prompted the Safeway there to up its game.

    • Agreed. Competition is good, every time and all the time, in business and in life. All my best work, personal and professional, has been due to competition.

  • People who live in this community and otherwise have a hard time finding jobs and/or have to take multiple transit legs to get to work probably are glad to have a large employer so close, perhaps even within walking distance. Also, there’s a lot of criticism about large corporations being unwilling to locate their stores (typically groceries stores are called out on this) in less wealthy or traditionally lower income neighborhoods. Walmart is doing that and it benefits Walmart and it benefits consumers (and probably the city’s bottom line).

  • Yay, Walmart is here!! I personal love the design. Come on December 4th.

  • don’t hate the look, but it is still Walmart….i personally will never shop there and will start avoiding the area by car just like i do Col Heights 14th st/park

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