Scuttlebutt Confirmed – Apple No Longer Coming to CityCenter

by Prince Of Petworth January 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm 67 Comments


Back in October I shared some scuttlebutt I heard saying Apple would no longer be coming to CityCenter [still no confirmation on Uniqlo]. Apple no longer coming has finally been confirmed by the Post:

“But Apple withdrew from negotiations last year, according to Howard Riker, managing director at Hines, who is overseeing the project. He and the company declined to comment further.”

Ed. Note: Earlier in the month we learned an Allen Edmonds would be opening this spring next to the Tumi store.

  • anonymous


    • Downtown Dave

      Really? Apple is a little past its prime… hopefully they won’t put another glorified cell phone store there. Bring in something new and different.

      • Anonymous


        • Downtown Dave

          Like Shinola… or Hermes or some other shop which isn’t in DC.

          • Anonymous

            Those stores don’t do nearly the volume of an Apple store and wouldn’t take nearly the same square footage.

          • Beth

            Yes to both/all of these!

        • alpinepaq


          • Duponter

            Can everyone just stop fawning over this glorified H&M? Do not get the obsession. Just go to Zara one block over. Same crappy made clothes for the same price.

      • Loganite

        Apple is past its prime? Check the market shares. Or you know, the crowds in any Apple store compared to every other store next to it in any mall anywhere? I’d say when you have to book an appointment when you walk in just to buy something, they are doing pretty well.

        And downtown definitely needs one – here or elsewhere. I schlep to Bethesda or Pentagon City and it’s annoying as hell.

  • kcr

    Business must be brutal for Tumi, opening during the middle of winter with no surrounding businesses to bolster foot traffic. And, I mean, who’s going there even under normal circumstance? The long silence on announcing other retailers is growing concerning.

    • domrep

      Right, at the end of the day its a luggage store. Why spend $225 on a bag, when you can get a 3 piece for like $90 at Macy’s? Who’s approving these stores, and who’s asking for them?

      • Anonymous

        I assume the only party approving the stores is the only party that needs to do so — the landlord who receive rent payments.

      • Anonymous

        Who’s asking for them? People who invested well more than a billion on the project. (I think it’s mostly foreign investments, but may be wrong.)

      • Anon5

        “Why spend $225 on a bag, when you can get a 3 piece for like $90 at Macy’s? ”

        The answer is simple: Quality and warranty. I wouldn’t pay anything for Tumi (they only have a one-year warranty) but a $200 Briggs and Riley bag will last far longer than a cheap $30 bag and more importantly will come with a lifetime replacement warranty. They will repair or replace a bag that has been damaged in any way, for free.

        I’ve had my Briggs and Riley bag for about seven years now and it’s still in great shape. If I ever have problems with it I know I can get a replacement at zero cost.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t mind seeing them open a store in the Golden Triangle area, maybe somewhere between Farragut North and Dupont Circle, where there are already lots of high-end retailers.

    • BBBB

      Like Burberry, which is moving out and rumored to be opening in City Center? Dupont losing tenants left and right.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I really hope this project grows DC’s retail base and not just moves some stuff from Georgetown and Conn Ave.

        • Anonymous

          Considering DC is growing by 1100 residents a month, the former seems likely.

      • Anonymous

        Dupont retail is alive and well. These storefronts don’t stay empty for long.

        • Duponter

          Tell that to North Dupont.

  • anonymous

    Any word on Uniqlo? I’d love if they opened here.

  • jcm

    It’s weird they are having so much trouble filling this place. I wonder what’s going on.

    • Anonymous

      lack of folks willing/able to afford $3,000 1br’s.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, I understand the residential and office space is being filled quite quickly. It’s the retail space that’s being discussed here.

    • RC

      Yeah, I’m wondering if the rent is so high here that no one can reasonably afford it. They shouldn’t have such a struggle in what seems to objectively be prime real estate.

      • ET

        That is what I suspect.

        Retail rents are likely such that only bigger chains (or at least some name recognition) with deep enough pockets to keep it going until it is established.

        Then there is the fact that so much of what can be sold via retail can often be sold online, makes it harder for retail no matter where they try to start.

  • shawguy

    That’s really a disappointment. The Georgetown store is so difficult to park anywhere nearby and of course there is no Metro, so I usually end up having to go out to Clarendon. This store would have been so easy to get to. And certainly, the DC Apple product user market could use another Genius bar!

    • Caleb

      I agree. There must be an issue beyond even the cost of rent–Apple has stores in far pricier areas of the world. My guess either the leasing contracts or management are not suitable to retailers.

      • Anonymous

        If Hines or their standard contracts were a problem for retailers, I’d be confused as to why they do so much retail leasing elsewhere in the city.

        • CNN

          Ten Penh would disagree with you.

          • Anonymous

            Excellent anecdotal evidence.

          • DRB

            The Tenh Penh space in the Hines managed 1001 Pennsylvania Ave has been empty for nearly three years. Tenh Penh moved out over a dispute on rent, not because it was closing up shop. It’s undoubtedly a fantastic space in a great location. There’s a reason it has been empty for so long.

  • bb

    Blah blah blah. Where’s my Uniqlo?

  • Anonymous

    Its definitely an eerie feeling walking past Tumi with nothing else open. There are delays in lots of retail spaces (even 14th street) so my guess things are slowing down slightly. Still no reason to worry, imo.

  • Jay

    man, if I dropped crazy-stupid dime on these $1,000/sqft condos to learn I was about to live above five dozen empty storefronts. ..

  • andy2

    I always thought that Microsoft was going to open a store – Apple has one in Georgetown, Clarendon, Pentagon City. The nearest Microsoft store is Tysons – so seems smart to locate here.

    • Anonymous

      say it with me: m-i-c-r-o-s-o-f-t

    • anon

      there’s an MS store in Pentagon Row

    • Loganite

      LOLZ. Microsoft.

  • Anonymous

    This is disappointing. But, hopefully not a sign of things to come. I’m really hoping the developers are just playing coy and just want a big bang announcement where there announce of marque stores at once. Granted the stores announced so far have been run of the mill non-destination stuff, so there is not a lot of hope.

    This has been billed as the “Union Square/Rockefeller Center/Mich Ave” of DC in the making for years. This is maybe the last best chance DC has to become an actual urban shoping destination. Or even to have downtown shopping choices to rival Pentagon City.

  • Rich

    It’s taken decades to revive much of anything in the F Street corridor, which is the historic downtown and very Metro accessible. The promise of this area is more academic. GTown has huge customer counts and people are there to shop. This complex needed a destination anchor and one that would provide a reason to go past existing shopping areas. REI once was rumored or at least hopes for and would fill the bill but they avoid super high rent space.

  • Jay Black

    Why the obsession for Uniqlo? Seems like a lower end store for skinny hipsters. Doesn’t seem to belong in a potentially high end retail development.

    • Anonymous

      There are a lot of skinny hipsters in DC!

      • Anonymous

        Haha..yea I hear you.

    • power of flight

      It’s so disorienting to think that there are entirely different Washingtons for different people who live here to the point where this makes sense as something to ask.

      • gotryit

        Really? I don’t think that’s just a DC thing. Different people are into different things and often don’t understand why someone else is so into whatever it is that they like.
        For example, I like running. But I don’t expect most people who aren’t into running to understand a store like fleet feet.
        I don’t understand what a uniqlo is.

      • Jay Black

        It makes sense to ask because why would there be a low end store targeted for 20 somethings in a space with 3.5 million condos n 3k rent?

        • Anonymous

          Because it’s centrally located and close to similar shopping (Forever 21, Zara, H&M, American Apparel, etc). I’m a 30-something non-hipster, by the way, and would love to have a Uniqlo.

          • Jay Black

            Understood. But all of that retail u mentioned is not in City Center; which is supposed to be reserved for high end retail. Put the Uniqlo on F St near those stores…or even better on that corner of 11th n G I believe with th empty bank and storefront.

    • anon

      Skinny hipsters aside, Uniqlo has some very well made and high quality items for reasonable prices. Great for wardrobe basics like cashmere sweaters, slacks, jackets.

    • Neither Skinny Nor A Hipster

      Not all of their garments are lower end, they’re better quality than H&M, and they carry clothing in larger sizes, at least for basic layering pieces. I’m currently not freezing my plus-sized ass off in this ridiculously cold weather thanks to their thermal range of clothing.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I just moved into a 1br in City Center apartments. Crazy nice I must say!

    They did just open..and it’s been a soft opening at that.

    The building is still very much under construction. Retail spaces are still being built out as well.

    Seems that with almost 500 apartments with high income earning dwellers, and 250 or so wealthy condo owners….the retail will come. Just gotta be patient…just opened.

    A couple high end restaurants from NY n Philly are slated to open already as well.

    • Jay Black

      (Jay Black, not anonymous…lol)

  • JNo

    Considering this place is almost finished and still no retailers it’s concerning but indicative of the larger trend in brick and mortar retail. An REI or Northface would be awesome and a draw. I was recently in an REI in ABQ, I could just kept buying stuff.

  • Duponter

    I was really, really hoping for some higher end department store similar to the Bloomingdale’s in Friendship Heights (in terms of quality).

    • CT

      I think the best bet — and maybe best fit — would be something that’s not here already. Maybe a Barneys. The Barneys Coop closed in Friendship Heights — but I think they misjudged the market. A Barneys (not the Coop) would be a destination retailer, and provide something new to the area. And I agree, an Apple store would be great there.

      • Duponter

        I’d love a Barney’s. Really anywhere I can buy a suit that isn’t Jos. A Bank or Brooks Brothers. Or that horrific Macy’s.

  • JT

    Too bad about Apple. I think it could have been a real catalyst for this project.

    So far, I’ve been underwhelmed by the announcements involving this project. For so long it’s been advertised as being comparable to the great city centers and boulevards of the world. At this point, however, there’s been very little mention about the retailers who are coming. Either there aren’t that many retailers interested or the developers are waiting to make one big announcement. I really hoping for the latter.

    As far as the restaurants are concerned, there was an announcement about Del Frisco’s Double Eagle steakhouse, but I haven’t heard much about that since. And then there’s Daniel Boulud’s DBGB. Don’t get me wrong. I respect the hell out of Boulud. But this is basically just a chain restaurant with his name on it.

    I really would like to see this project succeed and deliver on its promise. But so far, it looks like it may be more hype than anything else.

    • CT

      I wonder if retailers are waiting to hear about other confirmed retailers? I don’t know how this works for a new area, but if I were say a Cartier, I’d be ticked if I had a long term lease and ended up next to a TJMaxx. I know it’s unlikely given the prices, but does it work like that? Meaning do prospective tenants wait to find out the prestige of other confirmed tenants before committing to a lease?

      • Anonymous

        Tyson’s is like that. A mix of high end and trashy. Somehow it works!

  • Jay Black

    Just had a very nice conversation with the proprietor at Tumi. According to her both Hermes and Burberry are on their way! Of course, I’d heard this before. Just nice to have confirmation.

    • Anonymous

      Hermes and Burberry have been confirmed.

  • Noj

    I too had high hopes for this development but am growing very concerned about the lack of announcement about retail and the recent news that Apple has pulled out. Rumor has it Hines was not willing to drop rent prices to what Apple wanted to pay and this was after Apple paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to black out the windows and keep their interest a secret. I fear Hines is going to sign a handful of ultra high end retailers that won’t draw any foot traffic and will make for a dull and empty development. Hermes and Burberry won’t draw crowds. Hines will probably fill 25% of the space with these ultra high end retailers and the remaining spaces Willl likely be empty for a long time. The notion of a single grand announcement seems nice in theory, but is highly unrealistic given that two retailers have been announced. It seems odd that they would open one store (Tumi) and officially announce another (Allen Edmunds) and then make some grand announcement.

    Also, the only other permit we’ve seen is for Kate Spade.

    DBGB and Del Friscos have both publicly announced they will be in CityCenterDC, but I don’t recall whether Hines has officially/publicly confirmed that. I also think Steven Starr opening is only an unconfirmed restaurant at this point.

    • Jay black

      The question is can this development become a regional retail and entertainment destination? Will low to mid end stores achieve this goal?

      Don’t think short term. Retailers probably have a bit of a wait and see attitude. High end attracts other high end, as well as really good high mid retail, like North Face, etc.

      Although, there’s other residential close by, this is the first development to take DC residential up to NY, SF, Boston levels. Retailers may understandably be a bit skittish about whether the demographics in the area can support them.

      They may trickle in a little slower than expected, but when the residential portion is full, and a few high end anchors are there as a regional draw, I think we’ll see it fill up.

  • anon

    I’ve heard the residents of the condos at cityCenter have had nothing but problems with Hines and lots of residents are very unhappy. Perhaps Apple wasn’t pleased with the digs…


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