Gap coming to Columbia Heights – Old Navy Coming to Friendship Heights

DC USA – 3100 14th St, NW

@mcbyrne tweeted us while we were gone last week:

“NO NO NO NO NO NO! Keep @GAP Outlet out of Columbia Heights. We are not the suburbs. @PoPville”

From Washington Business Journal’s building permit round up:

“3100 14th St. NW: Construction and tenant layout of a new retail clothing store, Gap Factory Store, at DC USA in Columbia Heights. It will be the first tenant to occupy the space (Unit 116).”


and thanks to another reader for sending the photo above of Old Navy coming soon signs across from H&M above Lunchbox and below Range in Friendship Heights in the Chevy Chase Pavilion [5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW].

102 Comment

  • Yep, on 8/26 WBJ posted that a permit was issued for a “Gap Factory Store”.

  • Umm, Columbi Heights is kind of the suburbs. But with more people, fewer lawns, and better transit. Do you need an Applebee’s with your Ruby Tuesdays and TGI Fridays to prove it?

  • I’m all for the Gap in CoHi! If DCUSA is only going to fill up with chains, I’d rather they at least be one I’ll actually use (cough…Five Below…cough)

  • Why do people equate chains only with the suburbs. There are plenty of chains in all major cities. It’s actually where a lot of them started. Not everything in a city has to be this unique artisan ethnic local sustainable small plate utopian bullshit, sometimes you just want some Gap jeans.

    • brookland_rez

      +1000. DC is a large city. There’s plenty of room for chain store districts like Columbia Hts, Gallery Place, Noma, etc. as well as mom and pop districts like H St, GA Ave, 18th St in Adams Morgan, etc.
      Me personally, I like a lot of the mom and pop stores, but there’s some things I’d just rather buy at Best Buy or Target, and I appreciate not having to make a trek to the burbs anymore for those things.
      Gap tends to be higher end than Old Navy. I’m surprised where they’re locating isn’t the other way around. I guess in the new DC Friendship Hts doesn’t hold as much of an upscale advantage.

    • hammers

      yeah Manhattan is totally the suburbs, there’s a K-mart right downtown.

  • Not personally my preference, however, it will be a good thing for many MANY middle and lower income folks who live in Columbia Heights. And could also be a place to pick up basics on the cheap! Marshall’s and Target just aren’t cutting it.

    • jim_ed

      Wait, do you seriously think “lower-income” people are major customers of The Gap?

      • brookland_rez

        I thought that was odd too. I mean, it’s far from high end but it’s not low income either. To me, Gap is more middle of the road.

        • I think, because this is a factory store, the price point will be lower than a typical Gap.

          • and lower quality. I’ve purchased a few things from Gap and BR factory stores and what they sell is so clearly not what is sold in the non-outlet stores.

  • Anon 7:59am – I agree entirely – thanks. I get a little tired of all this “aren’t we so unique and hip” crap. This town is getting a little too precious for its own good.

  • Yeah Gap!

  • And for that matter, the suburbs aren’t all that bad. They’re just not where a lot of us want to be or a lifestyle a lot of us want. Its not the store names that define the suburbs vs the city, its the housing and retail density, the walk-ability of neighborhoods, proximity to transit, etc. Gap in Columbia Heights makes it a more urban area and legitimizes it as a place where people work, live, and shop instead of just a metro stop.

    • brookland_rez

      They are bad. Bad in so many ways, from an energy standpoint to the environment. But I do agree, it’s not the stores that define the suburbs, it’s the lack of planning and wasteful allocation of resources. As DC (and the rest of the nation) settles on sustainable, more urbanized lines, it’s only natural that traditionally suburban stores want a piece of the market. They have to, if the expect to survive.

      • Not all suburbs! Arlington is a suburb. Bethesda is too. I grew up in a suburb and walked or biked most places (still do when I go home) and took public transportation in to the city. And patronized way more small businesses than I do here. In fact, when I go home, I bring back stuff from those businesses because I don’t find DC has many mom and pop stores that I actually utilize on a regular basis (except hardware stores – we have great hardware stores). Maybe you’re thinking of exurbs or large planned communities, I’m not sure, but I’m not sure which “suburbs” you’re thinking of.

        • The only thing that makes Arlington, Old Town, Silver Spring, and Bethesda suburbs is an arbitrary geographical boundary. They’re not the “city” technically, but they’re certainly urban. A better way to frame this is urban vs. sprawl, not city vs. suburb

      • brookland was and mostly still is a suburb too.

        • brookland_rez

          I will agree that Brookland is as suburban as parts of Arlington, and yes it originally was a street car suburb. Suburbs like these built between 1920’s and 1940’s are well designed, with an efficient street grid and decent walkability. Modern day suburbs are nothing like this. And while Brookland may be 1920’s suburban in style, it is still part of DC, which Arlington and other areas of MD will never be.

  • My question to @mcbyrne is how is a GAP equivalent to the suburbs? There are GAPs in downtowns across America, including one in the Golden Triangle here in DC … very confusing.

  • Yay! I’m excited, chain or not. I just hope they carry baby/kid clothes.

  • Agreed, and no issue with an actual Banana, GAP, Old Navy, but must note this is the GAP Factory Store, so it’s legit the outlet, something you usually only see 20 miles outside any city’s beltway. Put in a real GAP, Zara, H&M and then it’d be a nice little shopping spot.

    • brookland_rez

      I like outlet stores, I enjoy scoring good deals on things. I’m not a fan of Gap’s clothing styles (too middle America teenager conservative for my tastes). But I would love more outlet stores in the city so I don’t have to trek out to Arundel Mills.

    • There’s a Gap outlet smack in the middle of Old Town Alexandria, actually. Agreed that it’s not real common to see the outlets in an urban setting, but they do exist in some places.

  • Amen to that, and their 40% off sales.

  • Re Gap in CoHi & Old Navy in Friendship Heights: I was thinking the exact same thing.

  • Exactly! Didn’t Gap start in San Francisco?

  • It’s a Gap Factory Outlet store, so they will have a lot of really low priced items, particularly in the sale section. I’ve gotten many things for under $10 there on numerous occasions.

  • Lower income? What’s wrong with you? Hey something decent quality, affordable, and useful who would want that in their neighborhood?

  • You see, Gap sells things. And wants to make a profit for selling things. Profit is bad. Suburbs are full of people who are more interested in property and profit then they are in authenticity. Gap = suburbs = bad, because people make different choices and they shouldn’t be allowed to make different choices. My choices are the only good choices, and all of my preferences are objectively true.

  • As someone who has an office job, I think this is great news. I can go to 11th Street or 14th Street for trendy stuff but to get the things that I need to actually live and work I need stores like Giant, Target and the Gap. Have you ever shopped in the little local boutiques on 14th Street? One had a white v-neck t-shirt for $90. That may be your style but I need a 2 for $20 sale at the Gap. Also, I can’t wear funky 70s retro skirts to work.

    • +1000. This is why TJ Maxx moved into places like Metro Center and Georgetown. There are a lot of people who live in this city who aren’t poor by any stretch, but who also can’t pay 90 bucks for a t-shirt or 250 dollars for jeans. These chains are making smart business decisions by identifying underserved (not poor, but underserved) urban markets to launch stores in. And they’re doing quite well, from what I can see.

    • binpetworth

      +1. Also, I don’t possess a butt colombiana to be able to buy jeans at Chickas on 14th; the Gap is the only place I can get small-booty denim at an affordable price.

  • This is a Gap Factory. The quality and price are pretty different than regular Gap.

  • I suspect that most people who make this claim grew up in suburbs and actually know very little about cities. Anyone who walks around Manhattan will see lots of chains, Gap included. The same is true of San Francisco and just about every other city. The chains = suburbs formulation is just plain silly.

  • Ummm, there is a Gap on Connecticut Avenue south of Dupont Circle. Hardly the suburbs. You’ll also find them in Manhattan if you need further proof that it isn’t only found in the suburbs.

  • a residential area that is a 20 min bus commute to k st offices = the suburbs. Now that more retail and more white people can be found in Columbia Heights does not change the essential suburban nature of the area.

    • By that logic, pretty much anything outside the original L’Enfant City boundaries would qualify as “the suburbs.”
      There are certainly places in D.C. that have a “suburban” feel to them — less density, detached houses rather than rowhouses, etc. Columbia Heights might have a bunch of chains that we usually associate with the suburbs, but I believe it’s actually the most densely populated neighborhood in D.C.

    • hammers

      HA. these comments are ridiculous.

  • That was a +1 to jim_ed’s “Wait, do you seriously think ‘lower-income’ people are major customers of The Gap?”
    I guess the replies-not-threading-properly-unless-you’re-logged-in phenomenon hasn’t yet been fixed.

  • There’s also an existing Gap a block away in Friendship Heights. It still surprises me that Old Navy is opening where it is but that mall wasn’t doing very well for quite a while.

    • If an old navy in the city or close in sells maternity and plus size….it would do very well. You usually have to buy that online. People will travel for maternity and plus size (and kids clothes but I think every old navy has that)

  • Re: brookland above

  • great post. also, the gap started in tat famous “suburb” of . . . san francisco

  • Gap is a way better addition than 5 Below!

  • Nope – wrong – it’s still the city.

  • I was just coming to say that! Does OP really think that Farragut Square is suburban because it has a Gap? (and a large H&M, and a Victoria’s Secret…)

  • @ I: Once you have a Petsmart, a Best Buy, a Ruby Tuesday and a DSW, it’s really disingenuous to act like the unique character of your neighborhood will be RUINED FOREVER by the addition of another chain.

  • +1000, have you people never been to NYC?? to Chicago?? Most large cities have retail chains in the city.

  • I said middle and lower income. It’s also a Gap Factory store, i.e., an outlet, for which products are exclusively made at a lower price point than a regular Gap.

  • Great point!

    If people in Columbia Heights do not want artisanal, indigenous, organic, sustainable, products they won’t shop at the Gap. Most don’t have the luxury to shop at lower cost chains, such as a Gap Factor outlet. Only those with high enough to shop at the boutiques on 18th in Adams Morgan or 14th Street below U Street could demand that chains be excluded from Columbia Heights area. Chains can deliver lower prices than boutique shops due to their size, and perhaps that is the issue, that people want to avoid a homogenization of their neighborhood through outlets. However, pursuing a variegated aesthetic to our neighborhood through boutiques limits families buying buying power, and their living standards.

  • I assume everyone who is dogging Gap for being “suburban” buys their clothes at small locally owned boutiques? Or maybe you just prefer couture?

  • remember, it’s the GAP Factory Outlet… not GAP itself. there is a difference.

    GAP > Old Navy > GAP Factory Outlet…

  • @Textdoc – Logan circle is the densest residential area in DC. Once NoMa is fully built-out/leased, it will surpass Logan as the densest ‘hood.

    • Thanks. Columbia Heights is still among the most densely populated neighborhoods in D.C., though, and given its density plus its close-in location, I don’t see how it can be argued that it’s “suburban.”

  • Columbia Heights is far from suburban.

    Columbia Heights has a residential density greater than most American cities’ central and downtown neighborhoods. The census tract that DC USA sits in has a 2014 density of 60,000+ people per square mile, and the neighborhood has an urban street grid, a mix of international, regional, and local retail and restaurants, parks, civic plazas, and connectivity to multiple modes of public transit.

    Additionally, Columbia Heights has a walkscore of 92 (a walker’s paradise), a transit score of 83 (excellent transit), and a bike score of 86 (very bikeable).

    Columbia Heights doesn’t just include the DC USA shopping center. There is plenty of local retail and restaurants in the neighborhood.

    None of the above sounds suburban to me. And like others have said, major cities have a critical moss of chain retail, something DC has been missing for many decades.

  • Gap has some good basics (just got a nice v-neck tee for $3 at a Gap Factory in Florida this past week…score!). I for one, appreciate stores that were previously only available in the burbs moving into DC. I don’t have a car so only go very occassionally to the outlets and it’s a huge trek to go out to Rockville for stores like Michael’s, HomeGoods, etc. I love shopping at mom and pop stores, but it’s not like Gap Factory is pushing out a smaller retailer. It’s making the convenience of the suburbs accessible to transportation-limited city dwellers, which ultimately is good for the environment, community, and development.

  • Note that it’s a factory store – a euphemism for “outlet”?

  • @Textdoc 12:54: Oh, I fully agree that calling Columbia Heights “suburban” is rather dubious as you can relatively easily argue that the vast majority of DC-proper is suburban when compared to larger, denser cities. Just pointing out that CH isn’t technically the densest in DC. 😉
    (As an aside, I have a feeling this conversation would have a much different tone if GAP chose to bring a Banana Republic here instead, though both are equally “suburban”.)

  • I gotta mirror what a few have said. DC is getting way too “precious” for its own good. I find it confusing that some folks will spend all their mental energy railing against a billion dollar business that sells useful items that we (including me, resident of Columbia Heights” needs, when there is just empty space now, that is surrounded on the outside by knee deep trash and drug dealing hobos. We should all be so lucky that such retailers want to move to CH at all.

  • There are only five U.S. cities that are denser than DC over 500,000 people. They are: 1) New York, 2) San Francisco, 3) Boston, 4) Chicago, and 5) Philadelphia. That is it. Of the 34 U.S. cities with populations over 500,000, DC is #6 as far as residential density. And, DC is closing in on Philadelphia for that #5 spot.

    DC is denser than most American cities.

  • I… honestly don’t understand the anger. Downtown DC–healthy downtowns of any city–are filled with chain clothing stores. Everything from TJ Maxx to Burberry is a chain. How many independent boutiques do you see in the middle of downtowns these days?

    And sure, Gap Outlet is a little more downscale than Gap but, let’s be real, it’s sitting between a Target, a DSW, and a Five Below in a shopping center designed to target big box chain stores. I love Columbia Heights but it ain’t no Rodeo Drive.

    If anything, everyone should be happy that a storefront that’s sat empty for 5 years has something useful coming in. Columbia Heights is a great mix of shopping (chain shopping) and unique bars and restaurants, just like any urban neighborhood should aspire to be.

  • Exactly! I’d love more places in the city to get decent but highly disposable kids’ clothes. And Gap’s kids’ clothes are surprisingly durable. Oh wait, did I just sound like a suburbanite?

  • Authenticity — like virtually every real ethnic food to be found in the DMV region aside from Ethiopian?

  • Huh? This makes no sense….more white people = less suburban?

  • Friendship Heights already has a Gap, a Gap Kids and banana Republic a block away from the new Old Navy location.

  • I’m excited about this. I go to the one in Alexandria for basic stuff all the time. This’ll be much more convenient. And it’s a vacant storefront now, so clearly this will be an upgrade. Bring on the Old Navy too – sometimes you need something cheap and low quality. (Gasp!)

  • I can’t handle Popville without threading. Please fix POP.

  • I really think that Old Navy would have done amazingly well in DCUSA, I have always felt like it would be a perfect fit

  • Don’t like Gap? Don’t shop there — problem solved. Really hard for me to understand the opposition here.

  • That’s exactly where you’d expect to see an outlet store. There are other outlets there too (at least the Crate & Barrel brand outlets).

  • My thought exactly!

  • Or the countless underpaid hill, non-profit, and NGO staff who live in the neighborhood.

  • Exactly, Amen, times a billion +1,000. The insistence on everything having unique artisan ethnic local sustainable small plate utopian bullshit is, in the end, about imposing white upper middle class values and expectations on everyone else that lives in the city. Columbia Heights is not Georgetown. Columbia Heights is not Logan Circle. Lots of people are just not not into this stereotypical, exhausting desperation of white people to seek out “authenticity” (vomit) in every commercial transaction. (I, for one, am not, and I am a white person.)

  • Columbia Heights resident here…I’ll take it! I feel like this store is more useful than the mattress place, the vitamin shop(pe) and five below combined.

  • Sorry, but Arlington and Bethesda are the epitome of the suburbs. I’ll give you Silver Spring and Alexandria though.

  • The Gap Factory store will have plenty of clothing prices at the same price point as Target. Decent quality stuff for inexpensive prices.

  • it really depends how you definite suburb. In my opinion, if compared to a larger city, Bethesda and Arlington seem more equivalent to less dense residential areas of a city. A suburb to me would be Mt Vernon or Rockville.

  • Except it’s worse than an outlet, because they manufacture clothes just for the factory store. They carry the name but are generally lower quality (they’ll have certain markings on the tag to differentiate). An outlet generally carries excess merchandise, so you’re usually getting the same products you can buy in the regular stores only a season later or something.

  • Believe me, most of us don’t want either of them here…

  • Most of us? I’m pretty sure there are plenty of people in the neighborhood and near it who don’t share your sentiment.

  • I am confused, what does Gap, Target, and all of these chain stores have to do with the suburbs?? These type of stores also exist in Manhattan – which is not the suburbs. chain stores do not equal suburbs!!

  • because people don’t know what “suburbs” or “urban” mean.

  • Outlet stores aren’t the bargain they once were. Often they have second string merchandise that’s only at the outlet. I’ve been to other Gap outlets and haven’t been impressed.

  • Where this Old Navy is going to be has had several clothing stores over the years, is it just a bad location? Old Navy are normally large stores, don’t know how it will fit in here.

  • It is interesting to see the Gap Corporation is making a substantial investment in DC. There is a new Gap going into downtown at Metro Center, a new Banana Republic on Conn Ave (Dupont / Farragut), an outlet in Columbia Heights, and an Old Navy in Friendship Heights.

  • There was also news recently of a Gap and Banana Republic going in at the Hecht Warehouse building at 1401 New York Ave NE.

    Quite an expansion here in DC from Gap Corporation.

  • I’m surprised that Old Navy is opening in Friendship Heights. Well, they plan to open another not too far in downtown Silver Spring in City Place Mall (will be known as Ellsworth Place in the future).

  • Fall into the Gap

  • When I moved to SF in 2001 there was a GAP in my neighborhood on Haight street. Hardly suburban.

Comments are closed.