68 Comment

  • Perhaps bought out to develop the whole block?

    • Wasn’t this building just built, though? Doesn’t seem like it’d be cost-efficient to buy it and then tear it down and build something else — usually that’s more practicable for older properties.

      • Accountering

        I think even knocking down the new building is a relatively small cost in the grand scheme of a project this large. Even though it is brand new.

    • I HOPE THIS IS NOT THE CASE. I travel up to Van Ness at least once a month to go to Sushi Para.

    • brookland_rez

      When that Walgreens was built I thought it was odd that it wasn’t developed with a Walgreens on the bottom and housing on top.

  • Isn’t there also a CVS right by the Metro entrance? Hard to imagine that Van Ness could support two pharmacies right there given how quiet it usually is.

    • Especially since one of those pharmacies (Walgreens) turned into a training ground for bottom-of-the-class pharmacy students. But then the only thing the head pharmacist there could teach them was how to be surly or incompetent.
      Good riddance to it.

  • Accountering

    This is good news. This is HORRIBLE land-use right on top of the metro. Get some more density there, and hopefully that neighborhood can see some more restaurants and such able to survive. This location is a place where we should be focusing more density, so glad to see it!

    • I am utterly astounded that they didn’t build an apartment building. What gives? Financing was dirt cheap 3 years ago.
      Unfortunately, I’m not sure if it makes economic sense to tear down a perfectly good, practically new building. Bizarre.

      • Accountering

        I bet this building only cost maybe $2,000,000. The land is the real cost here.
        The other one that drives me crazy is the CVS at the Petworth Metro. Had they waited one more year I think that thing would have gone 8 story apartment building with a CVS on the ground floor. Frustrating when the city misses the lay-ups like these.

        • assuming its a ~30k sqft walgreens it was probably more like $100-$200/foot – so about $3,000,000 – $6,000,000 to build. i’d say somewhere in the middle given the relatively cheap materials used and likely low buildout costs.

          • Accountering

            Appreciate the correction. My knowledge of retail construction costs is spotty at best. I know Walmart throws up their big stores for quite cheap (cinderblocks), and then abandon when it doesn’t work out, was thinking this may be something similar.

        • djdc

          I can’t swear to this, but I believe the CVS site at Petworth was also a gas station many years ago, and see below for mention of the remediation costs that adds. I think development happened right around when the recession hit, so no one wanted to take on those added costs. I agree it is a missed opportunity. Maybe it will be redeveloped in the near future. I’ve heard the same thing about the station at Upshur-Georgia-Kansas.

          • djdc

            Also, I believe the remediation requirements for a residential building were much more onerous or strict than those for retail, and that’s why they went with a one-story drugstore rather than a multi-story residential building.

        • saf

          I said, in public and out loud, at the time what a bad idea that CVS at Georgia and NH was. I was told but a LOT of people, including a ton of new folks, how it was SO much better than nothing that I should welcome them!

    • maxwell smart

      I realize that housing shortage is a big deal in DC, but I don’t think this area is really in need or more mid to high density housing. There is already 4 or 5 apartment complexes right behind/adjacent to this Walgreen’s that seem like always are advertising vacancies PLUS when Park Van Ness is completed there will be even more units on the market. What is lacking in this area though are amenities that make people actually want to live in Van Ness.

      • Agreed. There are tons of deals in my building in Cleveland Park – one month free, no move in fees….

      • Accountering

        Chicken and egg problem… Those larger builders are quite a bit older too. I am guessing a newer building in the mold of Park Van Ness would do quite well. It is truly steps to the metro.

        • But why build more retail/amenities without residential units above?

        • Agreed. A new “luxury” style building right there with some retail on the first floor would do well there. Most of the housing stock along that stretch are very old buildings. I happen to like older buildings, but you lose a HUGE swath of people if you don’t have the new amenities and finishings.

  • It was a moronic choice for a Walgreens in the first place. There is literally a CVS and Giant right next to it on top of the metro.

    And if you live up Connecticut, you’re going to CVS and not walking South to Walgreens and then back up to go home..

  • This Walgreens was way too big and frequently empty – not a total shocker. Would love to see it torn down and used for a restaurant and/or retail – please not another office or apartment building!

  • maxwell smart

    Looks like it’s one of about 200 Walgreen’s shutting down. Considering there was already a CVS across the street (and a CVS a few blocks South at Cleveland Park AND a few blocks North at Fesseden) – this area was not lacking in drugstores. This block could really use something significant – I’m just going to propose the obvious Trader Joe’s – the location is big enough if they use a 2 floor concept similar to most of their NYC outposts. It’s a great location – near UDC and close to AU. Would be a good 1-2 stop with Calvert Woodley.

    • A TJs would make my day. Or a decent gym. That Gold’s is the worst and the Cleveland Park gym is equally awful.

    • Anonomnom

      +1,000 to the TJ’s idea. That would more than make my day. Can we start a petition? lol

      • TJs would kill here. two issues though: 1) they as a company require free customer parking. there are like 4-5 spaces behind this walgreens so not nearly enough. building an underground garage would be very expensive especially if you arent demo’ing the current bldg.. also 2) TJs often refuses to pay market rents and as such you need additional tenants to get value from having a TJs. with the current bldg there isnt room for additional tenants.

        • maxwell smart

          If I am not mistaken, there already is a parking garage under this building.

          • under the walgreens? no way. there is however, an above-ground paid garage like a building or two over

          • west_egg

            There is indeed a very small parking garage underneath Walgreens. Capacity is probably 15-20 cars.

          • There is a garage under the Walgreens. Terrible one, worse than the Giant’s across the street. It’s damn hard to get into though – exceedingly steep driveway and small area. I honestly don’t think you could get out if it were icy unless you used chains.

        • Anonomnom

          I’ve got nothing for 2), but with regards to 1) there is actually a fairly decent walgreens underground lot at this location. I stumbled on it one day when I had a bug and needed the clinic and it was something like -5 out haha.

          • interesting then… could happen. they’d probably want like a minimum of 30 or so total spaces based on the 14th street location. wonder if they’d be able to expand the existing garage to do so without it costing an insane amount of money.

        • As much as I love TJ’s I would be pleasantly surprised if that happened, especially since there are many other options. When I lived in that area, most people I knew had cars which meant they could easily drive to the Whole Foods in Tenleytown, one of the Safeways in the area or Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan which offers free parking. I rarely shopped at that Giant because the thought of carrying bags of groceries up the hill on CT Ave was a put off and the L2 bus isn’t that frequent.

  • How did they get rid of the gas station? I thought converting gas stations to another use was prohibited by DC statute. It would be nice to see a few of the stations along GA Ave go.

    • maxwell smart

      I don’t think so, considering they just built those condos in Adams Morgan where the gas station used to be. It’s more a cost issue.

    • Really? Gas stations are an endangered species in DC. The very busy Exxon on Adams Mill Road in Adams Morgan has been replaced by a condo building, for example.

    • That ban on gas station conversions was only enacted within the past year.

    • I’m not an expert on this by any means, but I think that building on the site of a former gas station requires approval for a zoning change as well as remediation costs to clean up the site (contaminated soil, etc). So I don’t think it is prohibited by law, but there are restrictions and expensive hoops to jump through which make it a longer process than most other types of redevelopment.

      • oops, I didn’t see logandude’s response until after I posted – he’s right, last year the city council passed a law which says gas station conversions must be approved by a new “Gas Station Advisory Board” and face a lot of new restrictions. According to a WaPo editorial, Mayor Gray signed the law despite believing that it was a “unenforceable infringement on constitutional property rights.” weird.

        • So stupid. I live in SW, and have to drive to crystal city to get gas. The next closest station is about 20 min with traffic on Penn Ave near Potomac Yard.

          DC really hates car owners these days.

          • Accountering

            “DC developers have found that a surface gas station in an expensive urban area is not the highest and best use of their land, and have instead decided to upgrade to make more money.” There, I fixed it for you.

          • As Accountering said, don’t blame “DC”, blame the real estate developers who buy land and decide how to use it. I also have to believe that if you’re using your car enough to need to refill the tank, you must certainly be passing by a gas station somewhere along your travels. So why do you care whether there’s one near where you live? Do you only drive within SW?

  • That’s too bad–Walgreen’s pharmacy was 1,000,000 times better than the crappy CVS pharmacy. But +infinity for a TJ!!!!!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Walgreens, please come to Adams Morgan! I hate CVS!!!

    • +1 I hate CVS and have a special dislike for the Adams Morgan one. The shelves aren’t well stocked and the pharmacy used to be awful, however that has improved this year with some new associates.

  • Nothing can survive in that area. Even the 7-11 went out of business shortly after opening.

  • I was just in there the other night and the kid at the register told me that they can’t afford the rent, which, according to him, is $125k/mo. (taking that figure with a grain of salt). I’m bummed that they’re closing. It’s such a nice big, clean store, compared to the dinky little CVS.

    Would LOVE to see a TJs come in!

  • Closing this location while meanwhile in N.E. at Union Station they’re building a new Walgreens there in the basement in the food court area of all places. Odd though it seems most of these convenience/pharmacy stores are not easy or convenient to shop in and not very customer friendly. Could it be the underpaid cashier/sales help or the ever so absent management, or wait could it be the new hire pharmacist fresh from the local university and hasn’t got a clue where anything is..

    • How is that not customer friendly? Perfect for commuters to make a stop in before or after getting on the metro or for travelers to pick up stuff before a long train ride. There isn’t another decent pharmacy for quite a distance between here and where most people who get off at Union Station live on the Hill.

    • brookland_rez

      I didn’t hear about the Union Station location. Is that going in the old movie theater space?

  • That’s a shame. I love that Walgreen. The CVS there is disgusting, as is the one up by P&P. But it’s true that nothing can survive in that area. It’s sort of a dead place.

    Maybe when that giant new apartment complex opens on the next block…..

  • Blithe

    I’m panicking. Is that the same block as Laliguras?

    I agree that this would be an awesome location for a Trader Joe’s — and I say that as someone who’s not particularly a fan. It would be a great fit for the neighborhood, and pull from those of us on the Red line who aren’t up for schlepping from the Rockville and Bethesda stores, which are both quite far from the Metro station.

  • With the giant right there, they’re not gonna build a trader joes. There are tons of apartments in the area available in he van ness bulk sings and also the Ava building off van ness. The restaurants in the area are fucking awful. It could use a coffee shop that isn’t starbucks and doesn’t suck

    • Blithe

      Bread Furst?

      • Overpriced bread does not make for a good coffee shop.

        • Blithe

          Well, they also seem to be quite proud of their coffee. And they aren’t Starbucks. Whether or not they suck — by Jess’s standards or by yours, I wouldn’t know. So perhaps I should ask what, in your estimation, makes for a good coffee shop?

        • Bread Furst’s bread and other baked goods are by far the best I have had in DC. And their coffee is very good too.

      • Bread Furst has some really good items. However, I’ve had their bagels which looked fantastic but tasted awful.

    • they could definitely build a trader joes there despite the giant – there is plenty of demand for TJs there. the giant would see a huge drop in sales, however.

      it is not entirely uncommon for two grocery stores to be in that close proximity – especially when they are not completely direct competitors (e.g. safeway and giant or MOM’s and wholefoods)

    • Both Foggy Bottom and Clarendon TJs are within blocks of Whole Foods. They’d be competition but TJs doesn’t try to be a full service grocery store, so people would still probably go to both.

    • No! Pho 14 is the best!!

  • The TJ in Falls Church is across the street from Whole Foods and both parking lots are always packed. The TJ in Springfield is in the same strip as a Giant so they can be close and survive.

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