Friday Question of the Day – Warby Parker Coming to 9th and U? What other retail would you like to see?

9th and U Street, NW

Still no confirmation about a Whole Foods for the vicinity of 9th and U St, NW but I am hearing more scuttlebutt – word is that a Warby Parker eye glass shop will be taking over a retail space nearby. You can see their current retail locations here. The source who hears this rumor also says that the type of new retail coming to 9th and U will be of a similar variety ie not just super high end like CityCenter but a bit more, God I’m hesitant to use the word – hip. So anyway, I’m wondering what type of retail (besides restaurants/bars) you guys think would realistically do well around 9th and U St, NW. Any fans of Warby Parker?

106 Comment

  • Any sense on the timeline for Warby Parker? I’ve been looking into getting my new glasses from them – I like that, as I understand it, they’re trying to stand up to monopolies in the eyewear business – but it’s so much easier for me to buy glasses in person.

    • Their current mail order method is pretty easy and quick.

      • I tried to get some sunglasses from them and it seemed like a real pain, honestly. I think I try on about 20-30 pairs of glasses before choosing something, so the limit of 5 didn’t work for me. I’m excited to try a store, though!

  • At least they didn’t call it “more…. urban”

  • No inside knowledge but my guess with the Whole Foods rumor is that developers are soliciting bids from both Whole Foods and Harris Teeter for the 965 Florida Ave project. JBG has been announcing tenants as they come online for the Florida Atlantic project (Landmark Theater, WPA, etc) so if they had Whole Foods for the Shay or Hatton at 8th & U they would not keep dropping fashion focused tweets.

  • a nice Denim shop would be awesome ala (the Jean Shop – Meat Packing district)
    any type of boutique male stores

  • this is great! i have warby’s 🙂

  • a good hardware store

  • Warby Parker is boss. Nt only a diverse options of stylish frames, but also affordable. So pumped.

  • CityCenter is going to have trouble with CityCenter merchants, let a lone a neighborhood place. Most likely, they will be looking for for a more upscale version of what’s around the Columbia Heights Metro which means chains, overpriced restaurants, and no places that sell anything useful.

  • I’m wearing a pair of Warby Parkers as I write this to complain that the prescription is always a touch off in every pair I’ve gotten from them. I suppose you balance that with the price and deal with it, but it is why having somewhere in person to go is ideal. I’d pay another hundred to be able to get them adjusted and corrected.

    • Yeah, my one pair of Warby’s is a bit off so I never used them again. I just go to Georgetown Optician and get Oliver Peoples frames now.

    • Not a glasses wearer myself, but my wife is VERY particular about her prescription and fit (think “Princess and the Pea”). She has had a few pairs made at A Brighter Image in Dupont and has become very loyal to their optical quality and fitting service.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I like A Brighter Image too. They have a good selection of specs and helpful staff. They eye doctor is really good getting the best prescription for my eyes. He also doesn’t harass me about wearing my contacts too long.

      • saf

        We both wear glasses and have fairly strong prescriptions. Carr & Busch at Dupont is the only place that has made us happy.

    • I agree with this 100%! I have a pair of prescription sunglasses from WP that are ok, but I don’t think I’d ever get my everyday glasses from them. I’d much rather pay a premium for glasses that are perfect than ones that are slightly off.

      Also, LivingSocial has deals for MyEyeDr usually two or three times a year that are a fantastic deal. I’ve never had an issue and you can get a pair of great glasses and an eye exam for $100 – $200.

  • maxwell smart

    I would personally love it DC got a Topman. I heard that we were getting Topshop, but that it would only have women’s. Seriously? DC has enough women’s boutique whatever’s. We’re not a city full of Jos. A. Banks suits (despite what people might think).

    • The DC metro area is getting a Topshop– or so it was advertised as “DC’s first Topshop”– but it’s actually going to be in Springfield, VA. Because 15 miles outside of the city is totally in the city, right?

      But I second the idea that a Topman should come here. Though, if Nordstrom goes into CityCenter (please please please), I’d be ok with what they usually carry.

  • Jeez, Everyone is getting WPs these days. They used to be cool, but now everyone has a pair.

    Can we get a business that’s not a chain?

    • Paying that kind of rent, probably not. What did you have in mind, anyway? Boutique, one location glasses manufacturer?

  • I tried WP but every frame I tried was just slightly not right in one way or another. Ultimately got great frames from

  • Not terribly exciting, but would love to see a great Minute Clinic urgent care type place come into one of the new buildings. Unless I am missing something, there isn’t a good option anywhere in the vicinity. Would pull from Shaw, Logan, Ledroit, Bloomongdale etc.

  • If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…I want a Uniqlo in DC!

    • +1 I thought they were supposed to come to CityCenter, but I guess those plans have fallen through.

    • maxwell smart

      I guess I don’t get Uniqlo – I went into one in NY and it was just a bunch of graphic tee’s and khaki’s – I felt like I was at Target.

    • Mike

      Definitely time for a Uniqlo in DC (and +1000 for the comment about “we’re not a city of Jos. A. Bank suits)! Though I’d have no reason to “visit family” in NY if Uniqlo opened here… what a pickle.

    • I talked to an employee of the brand new Uniqlo in King of Prussia, PA. She told me that she would be working in the DC store and they expected it to open at City Center in November.

  • I was thinking “how many people need an eye glass shop?” So I looked it up. Over 60% of the population wears corrective lenses. I am surprised by how high the number is. I guess contacts hide how ubiquitous it is.

    On to what type of retail I’d like to see – maybe aren’t ideal for this area but I think they should exist somewhere. How about something DC doesn’t have any of or only has one of. Labyrinth Games is great, but I think its the only store of its kind in the city. Are there any places in DC that sells model kits?
    I continue to be confused by the city’s lack of a non-club bowling alley. With all the drinking/social sports leagues in DC I think a normal AMF type place would have no trouble packing the place with leagues most nights.
    And I always think a book store is a good idea, even though I recognize more of them have been closing than opening lately.

    • I like the bookstore idea – it doesn’t have to be huge like a Barnes and Noble, but maybe something like a Kramer’s???

    • the reason there isn’t an AMF in the city is because the company is pretty much broke

  • Honestly I’d just be thrilled about anything that isn’t another bar or restaurant in this area. Warby Parker would be cool, but, I wouldn’t go very often (I mean I get new glasses once every four years, maybe). I’d even be happy with some chain clothing shops, like maybe a Madewell? Or a cute home goods boutique, or definitely a hardware store. It would all make me very happy 🙂

  • A kitchen goods shop.

  • A reasonably priced home goods store like World Market or Pier One would be nice. And (utopian selection, I know that there is nowhere near 9th and U that has the square footage to accommodate one, but) I would love to get a Wegman’s in DC.

  • Not sure if the city’s demand is high enough to support two stores, but I’d love another games shop like Labyrinth in Capitol Hill. A kitchen supply store would also be fantastic and terrible for my wallet. Some kind of clothing shop that isn’t boring and staid.

    And, of course, a kite store.

  • Personally, I would prefer to see some more interesting, funky stores. DC really has a lack of interesting retail and the places that are interesting are scattered about. It would be great to have an area like Hampden in Baltimore. Give me a Trohv, Willow, Propper Topper, Miss Pixies, Salt and Sundry, Ruff and Ready, and the soon to be Upshur Books etc… all in one area!

    Tired of every single block just turning into restaurant after restaurant…..

    • I would like that too, unfortunately it seems DC real estate/rental rates are just too high for people wanting to open those types of places particularly when areas get popular (partially because of those types of places) and developed. A few years ago they would haven been on U then that got popular and developed and they moved to H and now that is popular and getting developed. Don’t know where the next area is going to be.

    • Agreed. ET is right, though, about rent probably being too expensive for non-chains, but I feel like other cities also have that problem yet still seem to have some unique stores. Not sure why that seems to elude DC.

  • how about a good, old-fashioned sex shop? Dildos, straps, leather, poppers…things in high demand in this nec of the woods!

    • Secret Pleasures is at 15th and U. It’s small but a classy joint. Check it out.

      • I go by there all the time and have never seen it. Thanks!

        So with that local, primordal need taken care of, what else could we use at 9th and U?
        A cool clothing store that carries normal sizes (meaning not catering to twinks like Universal Gear does)
        Cigar shop
        Hardware store
        another Kramerbooks/cafe
        a gay bar for those who don’t like Nellies
        art supply store
        art gallery
        Wine and cheese shop

    • G books on U Street between 15th and 16th.

    Top Shop

    • maxwell smart

      Topshop is opening in Springfield Town Center – supposed to open sometime late fall. Sadly it will only be a Topshop and not have a Topman, so no men’s clothing.

  • A craft/lower priced framing store would be nice. Something like a Michael’s or an AC Moore—Target doesn’t have enough of a selection and there is nothing like this inside the district.

  • What many people in these thread don’t realize is that the retail area in these buildings at 9th/U and 8th/U Streets are not actually all that large. The footprint is way too small to host a national chain grocery store, a full sized H&M, or an REI. Also, the ceilings on the ground level floor are not exceptionally high (maybe 11 or 12 feet?).
    These places will all be boutiques and/or restaurants. The foot print is too small for a major retail store. Perhaps we will get a Whole Foods when the building is developed next to the Floridian condo on Florida/Sherman Ave.

    • maxwell smart

      This is indeed true – REI would need something like 30,000sf of space + parking. Not going to happen.

  • Climbing wall.
    Roller rink.
    Public music space.
    Underground parking garage.
    Eastern market like market / public hall for hire.
    400 space cabi bike rack.
    Below market apartments for the majority of us.

  • Personally, I’d love a C&A, but the space wouldn’t be big enough. They’re pretty much an H&M for all ages, but the quality of the clothing seems significantly better.

  • houseintherear

    I’d kill for a Michael’s or AC Moore in the city. It’ll never happen, but a girl can dream…

  • Sushi place! Where do people go for reliable, fresh, affordable sushi?
    Otherwise, I’ll take any sort of boutique stores… sad to see everything turn into chains.
    Biker barre (there’s one in capitol hill) and I think it could do very well in this area.

  • Maybe a site that sells fedoras and mustache/beard combs?

    • A proper athletic gym open to the public would actually do well over here and the space is big enough. It would suck up tons of customers from Park View, northern Shaw, southeast Columbia Heights, Le Droit Park, Bloomingdale, Eckington, etc. There’s not really a good gym near here and there’s tons of people living east of here whose only options are yoga, Crossfit, or other small storefront specialty gyms in there ‘hoods.

  • A big-ass liquor store, like Total Wine.

  • I’d love it if Cowgirl Creamery came back to town

  • How about a CVS at 9th & U? The others are so far away at 8th & U and 10th & U.

  • A Sephora or other beauty supply store so I don’t have to go to Friendship Heights/Georgetown to buy non-drug store makeup. This actually would be a better fit for CityCenter but seriously a Sephora closer to where most people in DC actually live/work really needs to happen eventually.

  • How about more “mom and pop” stores. This neighborhood is slowly turning into the new Georgetown. Our locally owned independent shops that made 14 and U enticing for all of this new development are not going to be able to compete with stores like Warby Parker.

  • I could imagine Madewell fitting in seamlessly there. And in my dream world, there would be a Steven Alan, a Muji store and APC, too.

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