Potomac River Running Closing Cleveland Park Location

3513 Connecticut Ave, NW

Last week we learned that a Potomac River Running store would be coming to the former Cowgirl Creamery space in Penn Quarter. At that time a commenter mentioned that they heard this meant the Cleveland Park location would be closing. Sadly, they were right. I stopped by the Cleveland Park spot and they confirmed that they would indeed be closing. They didn’t have an exact date but expected it to be sometime in May.

21 Comment

  • maxwell smart

    From what I have heard, the landlords in CP are pretty much hell-bent on running out as many businesses as possible. Apparently the rent per SF is higher in CP than Georgetown, which is crazy. I’m assuming, based on observations in other areas of town, they are banking on running out local retailers in favor of national chains that can afford to pay more, a plan that has in many cases (see Checy Chase Pavilion) backfired, leaving more vacancies then existed before.

    • There is strong indication that Palena is leaving, also unable to afford whatever rent increases are in store. Palena! It basically put CP on the culinary map. But with Dino leaving I guess there will be more room to open up a clock repair shop or a haberdashery to go with the vacuum cleaner and lamp stores. Cutting edge, I tell ya!

    • I wonder if the landlord(s) are hoping to demolish the existing buildings in favor of a mixed-use highrise?

      • maxwell smart

        That seems doubtful because I believe there are fairly strict zoning regulations in this area (which is limiting potential tenants from moving in… something about a restriction on number of restaurants) and also because I think the neighborhood would oppose a highrise development (since they very much opposed the service lane being converted back into a pedestrian sidewalk/outdoor seating).

        • Palena’s lease has been the same for 9 years and they are currently 125K overdue in rents. If Palena leaves, it is because they somehow couldn’t pay the rent they agreed to 9 years ago, and are 125K overdue, which is absolutely shocking considering what they charge.

          • Huh? Palena hasn’t been there for 9 years. 5 years max; it used to be Magruders grocery.

          • Palena expanded into the Magruder’s space, but the restaurant has been in that strip mall for almost almost 15 years. It opened in 2000 if I remember correctly.

        • I definitely hear you on the zoning issue and neighborhood opposition. But what if the landlord could afford to kick everyone out and just sit on the property until it becomes too much of an eyesore for all the neighbors – to the point where “anything” would be better than an abandoned strip mall? Not saying that this is likely (especially given the tidbit above about Palena owing back rent), but it doesn’t seem completely unfathomable.

          • Vacant real estate is taxed higher than occupied, and the landlord would still be responsible for maintaining the building and grounds so the idea of letting it go until it fell down would never happen.

            But the residents of CP wouldn’t likely mind. It means less congestion and traffic.

        • Umm, Palena has been open since 2000 (says so right on their website). They expanded their existing space into the Magruder space when they moved out.

  • Does this mean they’ll be a sale?

  • Unless you need to live in a big house, the rents and condos there and in Woodley are surprisingly affordable, considering how close it is to everything. It’s a great neighborhood, undervalued in many ways.

  • How many running stores does this town need? It seems like quite a small niche. Lots of people run, but not everybody needs marathon-type gear.

    • I wonder how many running stores we need too, but I think your characterization is a little off. It’s bigger than a niche: as you say, lots of people run, and they all need gear. I’m not sure what you mean by “marathon-type gear” – most of what these stores sell are needed or wanted by runners of all levels.

  • I hate to see them close. They were great if fitting me with post pregnancy shoes when my feet changed shape. As for Cleveland Park, that shitty strip mall is actually the first strip mall in DC wtih front parking and is eligible for landmark status. And yes, the good folks who control cleveland Park want to keep that center AS IS. there is also a restriction on the on the number of restaurants/bars in CP. Not more than 25% of the storefronts (always isues with the measuring though) can be used for that purpose. Retail leases are at least five years long so sometimes landlords would rather just keep a space vacant until they get a higher paying tenant. DC taxes blighted properties higher but an empty store front that is actively listed for lease, no. The bottom line is that 10 years ago, CP was considered one of the top five commericial spots because well DC didnt have a whole lot of competition. So you had CP, Gtown, Adams Morgan, A tiny bit on the Hill by Union Station and Dupont were your “hot spots”–now they have a whole lot more and better competition. Le Diplomate knows they will get a much better crowd on 14th than in CP. Toki knows H street is a lot hipper (and at that time cheaper) than CP or Gtown. Times have changed.

    • Its a shame that even though times have changed, CP hasn’t adapted. I live in WP and would love for additional retail and restaurants in CP and WP. Sad to see what’s happening in the neighborhood.

      • Old money are not ones for change and trends.

      • maxwell smart

        Agreed. 14th and H Street are fine when I want to relive the feeling of being in college and can deal with it taking 40 minutes to order a shitty beer. That feeling happens once a year and then it’s gone. I love upper NW dc because it has a neighborhood feeling with good restaurants that don’t require a reservation 3 months in advance. I really hope new local places move in.

    • I generally hate strip malls with front parking. I think it makes a neighborhood less pedestrian friendly when retail is pushed back from the street. (e.g. the Rite Aid shopping center on H Street), but the CP strip is actually decently inviting. Could be the neighborhood, of course.

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