Nordstrom Rack and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th Could be Coming to former ESPN Zone/Barnes & Noble’s spaces Downtown

555 12th st nw
555 12th Street, NW

Potentially big retail news from the Washington Business Journal:

“D.C. proper could be getting its first Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th outlet. The lower-cost version of the luxury retailer is getting close to a lease deal at 555 12th St. NW, the downtown office building formerly home to ESPN Zone, according to two sources with knowledge of the deal…Similarly situated retailer Nordstrom Rack is also getting close to a deal at the site, according to the sources.”

Back in Sept. 2013 The Post speculated that a Target could be taking over the former ESPN Zone space. In October we learned that Barnes & Noble would be closing at the end of the year at 12th and G St, NW. Updates when/if leases are signed at these spaces.

49 Comment

  • HMMM. not sure if this is good news or bad. I do wish there was more in that area besides whatever they have. (a tj maxx, I think? macy’s nearby, but ugh)

    I will miss ‘Barnes and noble’ though. to this day, I still think fondly of the one in Georgetown. That was such a great one. :sigh:

  • Really? #outletsbelonginouterboroughs

    • #DCisTurningIntoRockville

    • There are no boroughs in DC, hence no outer boroughs. Also, DC has a very high low-income population. This store will do well.

        • It would have been easier and more direct to say “outside of downtown”. For example, there are parts of Alexandria and Arlington which are more urban than DC, so you really need to define which area you’re talking about.

          • @ Parlance… I assume you mean there are parts of Arlington and Alexandria that are more urban than PARTS of DC… .

      • Do Saks Off and Nord Rack cater to “low-income populations?” I thought they catered to interns through lower-middle management.

        • They cater to whomever can afford it. Based on DC tags at Potomac Yard for shoppers going to TJ Maxx and Rack Room Shoes, I figure there’s a healthy market for it.

        • I believe I’m technically low-income in DC at my salary of roughly $50k per year. I would spend a high percentage of my low income at Off 5th.

        • Blithe

          They cater to people who like to shop and enjoy bargains. Both stores still carry some merchandise from their parent stores at reduced prices in addition to stuff of lesser quality that seems made to be sold at outlets. Many people, regardless of income, enjoy the hunt. Others might combine staples from stores like the Gap with high end purchases where timeliness and details matter.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I think they cater to “low income” populations in the same sense as rowhouses converted into multiple condos cater to “low income” populations.

          • Haile for the win!

          • Blithe

            ******* Zing! Comment of the month?!

          • Who has ever said condo conversions cater to “low income” populations?

          • If you care so much about the LOW income housing- why don’t you sell your home to a low income person below market value? Why should that burden be placed on other home owners and developers of conversions? What if a single home owner decided to exercise their rights and build a popup and pop back at the same scale- but decides to keep it as a single family home? Would you be mad at that person for building a massive home, when they could have created multiple units for others to live in?

      • I have to admit, I was excited when I was in Queens recently and discovered there were outlets tucked among the regular stores and restaurants. I always thought outlet shopping had to involve a long car ride to outer suburbia.

      • There is already basically a homeless village set up outside of the old ESPN zone space, so I suppose very cheaply made clothing is just another sign of the retail decay in this part of town.

  • Any speculation yet on what will go into this space after Saks Off and Nord Rack sh*t the bed?

    • I can just see the board meeting now: “Wait, guys, I’ve got it! A Planet Hollywood!”

    • justinbc

      the Rack in Farragut is packed almost daily

      • Exactly. That’s like 7 blocks northwest. Would they close one, or assume both will be packed? If they’re both packed can we expect another in Dupont soon? Maybe the old BAM space?

        It’s not exactly…. fun. Which, admittedly, is lame for me to complain about, but it’s a slow work day.

        I had just hoped a location so close to Penn Quarter and Chinatown hustle and bustle could house something more entertaining or unique than outlet clothing.

        • justinbc

          I doubt they would need to close one. There’s enough office worker density to easily support both.

        • That’s about the same distance that the two Filene’s Basements were until a few years ago. They managed for quite a while just fine.

          • I don’t mean to be combative and drone on about an issue I ultimately don’t care deeply about – but, with as laid back a tone as commenting the next day can imply:

            I think I failed to make my point. Some of what I was getting at there is the idea that sure, the same businesses can be profitable and sustainable 7 blocks from each other, but that’s not interesting or fun. I’m sure a McDonald’s would do fairly well there (at least in the “not shutting its doors anytime soon” sense), for example, but we wouldn’t be excited about it.

            I’ve gone on too much about it – but while I understand that the business may be “good” in the viable sense, and prefer it to a vacancy for sure, it’s just not as interesting to me as…. many other possibilities, especially since it’s a vibrant area, and there’s already another branch of one of the stores a short walk away.

      • And the one in Pentagon City is like a ghost town.

  • Definitely LIKE.

  • Barnes & Noble is still open!

  • I hope so.. Off 5th is great

  • Oh no….more retail! We so wanted a grocery or something good. This is beyond ho-hum.

    • A grocery store to serve exactly whom? There aren’t a lot of residential buildings in that area. (Also, grocery stores count as retail)

  • UNIQLO!!!

  • I was hoping for a mini-Target or something because I work nearby and that seems more frequently useful. But, I don’t totally hate the idea that if I need to run out and grab a cheap tie or dress shirt because I spilled something on mine at work, I can do that without having to buy an oversized tent shirt at Jos A Banks.

    That said, I would absolutely have preferred a regular Nordstrom to a Nordstom Rack. Why low end clothing in a space literally surrounded by law firms?

    • HaileUnlikely

      Do the partners at the law firms buy stuff at Nordstrom? I would have guessed that most of them buy custom stuff at one of the many custom tailors within a few blocks of here, but that honestly isn’t my world and I really don’t have any idea. More seriously, though, even a small geographic area with an extraordinarily high concentration of lawyers and others with really high salaries, I suspect that the sheer number of people in the area who are likely to shop at Nordstrom Rack still outnumber those likely to shop at Nordstrom by a lot.

      • Sure, but pure quantity of shoppers is not necessarily indicative of profit to a company. I just assume it’ll be the same crowd at Forever 21, H&M, and Gap just a block north of there.

        I do not think most law firm partners are as fancy as you seem to think they are. At least the male partners. It’s probably better for my bank account that there isn’t a real Nordstroms nearby. Thankfully I hate Pentagon City too much to go to the one there. I think for nicer work clothes, most people I work with would pick Bloomingdales or Nordstroms as a common place to shop. I do not see many people wearing custom-made clothes, but perhaps at some do. I doubt most female attorneys do. Like I said above, I’d still go to a Nordstrom Rack for things like ties, socks, etc. for sure. So I’m sure it’ll do just fine. Just seems like if you work in that area, you have either bottom barrel options or overpriced places like those in City Center. I long for a Nordstroms or Bloomingdales that I do not have to leave the city to get to.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Didn’t even occur to me that it would be the same crowd as Forever 21, H&M, and Gap (I’m waaay too old for any of those to be top-of-mind). I was basically assuming it would be the same crowd as TJ Maxx and Marshalls nearby, and would probably eat into their business quite a bit, as they are comparably priced but have, on average, somewhat better stuff.

          • I guess I would think this would skew younger, but perhaps not. I suppose either way, it seems like a fairly well served segment, while there is generally a dearth of something in between that and high end around. I suppose Macy’s is a notch above the TJ Maxxes of the world, but that particular Macy’s is pretty terrible.

        • justinbc

          There’s a Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor both in Friendship Heights.

      • justinbc

        I used to work in private practice, you would be surprised by how many partner level and senior management are fashionably challenged. Many people just don’t care, so yes they shop at Nordstrom or other stores where you can buy stuff straight off the rack.

    • Plenty of high income people buy stuff at Nordstrom Rack. Even people making $250K+ like a good deal. And most working folks – even upper income – just want basic staples at a decent price.
      Especially straight men, who are the laziest shoppers on earth.

  • I’m not sure if it makes sense to place another Rack ~ 7 blocks from another location, but more shopping outlets downtown isn’t a bad thing. Really hoping Lord & Taylor opens a FIND in DC soon.

  • goaldigger

    I used to find deals at the Nordstrom Rack in Silver Spring way back when but since they have done away with their color coded discount levels (like Filene’s Basement used to have or the clearance area at DSW) I think they are just as expensive as Macy’s. I was also hoping this site would get a Target.

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