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Bike Shop Coming to H St, NE. Plus Scuttlebutt for Possible DCUSA Tenants Includes a Bike Shop

by Prince Of Petworth January 10, 2012 at 5:45 am 49 Comments

It’s not scuttlebutt for H St, NE. Yesterday, H Street Great Street shared the good word that The Daily Rider will be coming to 1108 H St, NE in the Spring.

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The scuttlebutt goes to the possibility of a bike shop in the DCUSA mall in Columbia Heights. Ever since the Elwood Thompson’s debacle, it’s been tough to find out scuttlebutt for new tenants looking into the DCUSA mall on 14th St, NW between Irving and Park Rd. Thanks to a reader for sharing some promising leads they heard.

In addition to a bike shop, they hear a Lime Fresh Mexican Grill is looking as well as a DSW (which we’ve previously spoken about here.)

You like the idea of a Lime Fresh and/or a Bike shop coming to DCUSA in Columbia Heights?

Photo of DCUSA by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

  • Anon

    Thrilled to hear about a bike store coming to DCUSA. I suppose DSW is a good score too but Lime Fresh? It seems that the Columbia heights market is already saturated with central and Latin American cuisine, burgers and pizza. Considering the interest in having some healthy, organic options, I am surprised that no other organic grocer has filled the void.

    • Anonymous

      +1, and also surprised that something like Chop’t or Sweet Green hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon.

      • Good call, I think a Chop’t or Sweet Green would have Chipotle like success there.

  • SF

    Great news re: The Daily Rider. Love seeing new, eclectic retail on H.

    • Very much agreed!

  • A bike shop in DCUSA would be fantastic. Not so keen on Lime Fresh, but just having the storefronts filled would be a plus.

    • I’m still holding out for a Great Clips or Hair Cuttery….

  • Ace in DC

    Sorry – I want to vent for one second. Why won’t a grocer sign a lease for the big spot in DCUSA. I just went to a Trader Joes in the crappiest of crap strip malls in Springfield, VA (has a bankrupt K-Mart and plethora of other crappy strip mall stores) and is literally next door to a Giant. I don’t understand why a organic / upscale grocer does not take the location at DCUSA because of any reservations with another grocery store nearby – the suburbs do it all the time. Sorry – just ranting. Still glad Trader Joes is coming to 14th and U – but would like one at DCUSA.

    • http://www.traderjoes.com/about/location-requests-form.asp

      maybe if enough people clamour for it we can get our own Trader Joe’s in DCUSA

      • David


        I believe that a location in DCUSA at 14th and Park N.W. in the nation’s capital would do very well. It is accessible to pedestrians, bikers, metro riders as well as those who drive in the city. Your locations in the Va suburbs have always done well, as well as the DC, Bethesda, and Arlington store that just opened. I think that DCUSA would be more profitable then 14th and U, where the focus is more on nightlife then residents who are out shopping. It is upscale enough that I think it would be a great location for you.

        • David


          • Thanks David! I submitted my request. I would love to see a DSW too. What I really want in DCUSA is a movie theatre.

    • Anonymous

      After a weekend trip to YES, I think that “organic market” is all about the ambiance rather than the food. There is plenty of organic food at Giant and Target, and it’s a lot cheaper. Organic milk at YES was $8.50 per gallon, and about $5.60 at Target. They have a lot of the same organic cereals and frozen foods as well, and Giant has an extensive organic produce section.

      What you get at YES and Whole Paycheck is the aisle upon aisle of water options, lotions, nutraceuticals, and wood floors and high end lighting. I guess if that’s important to you, happy shopping. But, I’ll save my money by shopping at the big stores and spend it at the farmers market.

  • Keri

    Columbia Heights is in desperate need of a sushi restaurant!

    • Anonymous

      We had one. It went broke.

      • john

        it was an upscale sushi joint. not the right market for upscale.

        • eric_in_ledroit

          yikes – downscale sushi? no thanks.

          • randomduck

            Sushi need not be “downscale” to be affordable: witness Kotobuki on MacArthur Blvd in the Palisades (great sushi, affordable prices, simple ambience).

      • First, the Columbia Heights demographic has changed dramatically since that sushi place closed down (I think it’s been, what, two years?). More importantly, it was terrible, the worst sushi I’ve eaten, by far, anywhere in D.C. I guarantee that a place featuring the quality of a Sushi Ko, Sushi Taro, or Tono Sushi would do incredible well in Columbia Heights.

  • why not a Whole Foods or a Trader Joes or even a Yes?

  • Agree that at this point, the one realistic thing (not counting a movie theater, book store, independent record store, or other things not coming any time soon, if ever) I’d love to see in the neighborhood is some sort of organic / alternative grocer. It would make an absolute killing in DCUSA, and heck, another huge new apartment building is even under construction right across the street. Also still stunned we don’t have a sushi place, that would also make a killing anywhere in CH.

    Bike store sounds great and would do well. I agree regarding a mexican chain: why?? There is already chipotle plus a zillion places further north on 14th. There are still so many areas where there is no culinary competition, Japanese, Chinese (not counting fast food chinese), Indian, French/Belgian, Middle Eastern, seems like any of these would do great. A Hummus Place (do they have those outside of NYC) would absolutely KILL IT in DCUSA, for example.

    • Jiveturkey

      NO Movie Theatre please, CoHi does not need any more teenagers loitering and causing problems…i.e. Gallery Place/Chinatown

      • I dont think movie theatres = teenagers. There are rarely any at the Uptown or Mazza Gallery theatres.

  • It really isn’t suprising that the numbers don’t pencil out for another grocery store, regardless of how trendy or specilized.

    Between Target and Giant there is currently 100K sq/ft of grocers in a two block area. No, neither Target or Giant completely meet the “specific” demo of a Yes or TJ’s, but the relatively low priced combined offerings of Giant and Target would be incredibly difficult for another grocery to overcome.

    • Anonymous

      @Joker – what would you think about a really great green grocer? Perhaps local farms could also sell their cheese, meats and other localvore wears.
      Wouldn’t need to be huge and would fill the gap left by Target and Giant.

      • Well, the Farmers Market vendors in the CH Plaza for 10 months of the year, multiple of which local meats, veggies, cheeses would probably be upset.

        Assuming they didn’t care, I still don’t think that there is enough of a market in CH to support a business. I am not saying the Giant/Target options are equal, but there just aren’t enough people in CH willing to (for example) pay $20/lb for meat, when they can get “similar” quality for half that at one of the existing options.

        U Street is a fine example of the unsupportability of narrowly focused, high end retailers. How many super trendy and expensive furniture, clothing, wine, chocolate stores in U Street have gone belly up in the past few years? Quite a few.

        Columbia Heights has certainly changed in the past 7 years. Lots of new faces with higher incomes, but Dupont Circle it ain’t and a lot of the “desired retail options” people express just wouldn’t be supported by the demo living there.

      • Bullwinkle

        Anon- there’s one down 14th @ V – Smuckers. They sell PA meat, produce and dairy.

  • mmm

    as much as I would love a TJs in CH, putting it at DCUSA would create a traffic nightmare. Park Road already is a mess. Add a TJs to the mix and Park, Irving, 14th, and the parking garage would become unbearable.

    • 15th St. NW Resident

      That was a big fear when they built DCUSA and put the Target in. Turns out most customers get there via public transport and/or foot, and the parking lot is a money loser (plus half empty at best most of the time).

  • Anonymous

    It’s lycra, not spandex. And Bobbin bikes are made of hi-ten steel and they make me sad.

  • Anonymous

    Yea, bike shop is cool. Lime Fresh, come on, another chain? I am going to boycott DCUSA except for target. The mall is already full of chain retailers. They used to be cool because there wasn’t any national retailer here. After the 15th consecutive national retailer, it’s just too much. Chipotle makes a pretty good burrito, we just don’t need another Baja or Lime Fresh.

  • MtP Gal

    Not to be a stereotypical gal, but DSW! Sweet!

  • dp

    not a fan of either

  • Jiveturkey

    Would’ve loved to see a bike shop on Georgia Avenue, but will take one at DCUSA if that’s the case

  • bb

    +1 on Sweet Green/Chop’t. Those would do very well. I’m personally fine with another Mexican place. The huge success of Chipotle seems to indicate that there’s plenty of market space for that.

    DSW would do well, but I think an Old Navy would do better. And a competitor for WSC would be a money machine.

    TJ’s would be fine, but I’m not part of that particular cult. Whole Foods seems to have a competitor nearby in Harris Teeter. In general, however, it seems that the neighborhood is under groceried and could easily support more entrants.

    • Anonymous

      I like the Old Navy idea.

      • Anonymous

        Me too! And a competitor to WSC would make a killing.

      • Anonymous

        Old Navy, H&H would be awesome

    • you think WSC would sign a lease that would allow DCUSA to lease another space to a direct competitor?

  • Love me my bike stores, but with City Bikes not even a mile away would this be that beneficial?

    (I am new to DC and maybe a mile is just too far…)

    • Jiveturkey

      Except that they are condescending at City Bikes and some folks don’t like that

      • Anonymous

        It’s true they are very unpleasant to deal with.

  • Anonymous

    A bike shop on 11th street would do better. Bikes are not a mass retail kind of product and don’t need that expensive high traffic space. Don’t even know what a fresh lime is.

    Judging by how long the lines are at Giant, I think a Yes would do well at Lamont and Georgia Ave.

  • Ricky Bobby

    I agree that a bike shop on GA or 11th might be a better fit. That new retail space that will be under the Avenue or the Heights on GA would be perfect!

  • Maybe Maoz wants to move up to Columbia Heights? (please please please)

  • Organic Sainthood

    It’s shocking to me that there is still a lot of vacant space at DCUSA. This really speaks to the economic downturn of the times. It’s crazy that they’re having a hard time filling these spaces. DSW makes the most sense to me, I love that place, just bought shoes from their Wheaton mall location yesterday. That Lime place will probably be popular, but it seems like a wasted opportunity for something better. I’m not sure what all the ORGANIC MARKET fan fair is about, I mean, Isn’t there a Harris Teeter a few blocks away? I agree with an earlier comment that these upscale organic markets are just about presentation rather than actual quality. A lot of people just like the pretention of shopping at places where they don’t have to deal with “undesirables” and they can feel like they’re apart of some trendy high society of people who purchase lettuce for two dollars more because it sat under better lighting.

  • I

    Lime Fresh lists DC as coming soon on its site, so it seems it will be coming somewhere to the city at least.

  • I know I’m jonesin’ for an Olive Garden or Red Lobster.

    In all seriousness, at this point I’d take a leased storefront vs. vacant space. There are still a handful of bays available in DCUSA and it’s surprising to me how slowly they’re filling up. I’ve also thought both a Chop’t, Sweet Green or Old Navy could be a good fit. A pet store would also be good for metro-riders, although there is already a smaller pet shop on 11th and a Petco on Conn. that’s convenient by car if you cross Rock Creek Park.

    • What is really frustrating to me is what seems like a total lack of effort / interest by DCUSA to reasonably accomodate true LOCAL retailers, of which there are none save for the weird always-empty chicken place (and no, I don’t count the heavily-subsidized IHOP franchise as “local”). I know that DCUSA received an enormous public subsidy to pay for the parking lot, and part of the reason was that they were required to fill up a certain amount of their space with local retail. Clearly, the modest-but-useless rent discount they’ve offered to local retailers is totally inadequate, because every other commercial space, essentially, neighboring on DCUSA is filled up, primarily with unique, local retailers. If DCUSA had just charged a realistic rent for the many of the smaller spaces that have sat vacant for years, it seems like they could have easily attracted a few local retailers, which would have put money in their pocket in the short run, fulfilled their promises to the community, and spiced up / made more interesting the commercial mix at the mall.

      Beyond that, I am also frustrated that DCUSA doesn’t seem to do a lot of community / charitable outreach. It could creatively use some of its huge vacant spaces for an artomatic-like function. It could have public functions in the rotunda (like even a Santa Clause on the second floor). IT could offer its ample spare parking up gratis for certain categories of public workers, like local teachers. It could provide some modest financial support to the community market. Why is something that benefits / profits so tremendously from the community seemingly interested in interacting with no one or no thing save for massive national retailers? I’ll happily stand corrected if folks have info about stuff DCUSA has done that I don’t know about, but I’d love to see some returns to the community, in partciular via more creative / generous use of vacant space.

      I am particularly curious about what exactly DCCH, the quasi or wholly public entity that helped start up DCUSA then did exactly nothing for years afterwards, could have or should have done to push DCUSA to become more integrated into Columbia Heights beyond pure profit. An area for an intrepid journalist to explore.


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