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DC’s Newest Bookstore, Walls of Books, Opening Dec. 12th in Park View

by Prince Of Petworth November 22, 2015 at 10:22 pm 22 Comments

bookstore Park View
3325 Georgia Ave, NW

Phenomenal news from a press release:

“DC’s newest bookstore, Walls of Books, is having a soft opening 12/12/15 in the Park View community on Georgia Avenue NW! The bookstore, with 2400 square feet, brings over 30,000 affordable books to the neighborhood, a book trade-in program for store credit, and a wide selection of Melissa & Doug® children’s toys.

“Walls of Books is excited to join the Park View, Petworth, and surrounding neighborhoods – providing social and economic value to the community and individuals through our affordable books and toys, community events and programs, and economic opportunities,” said Pablo Sierra, owner of Walls of Books-DC. “At least 99% of our books are quality used books at discounted prices. And with our trade-in and store credit program, you can often purchase our books at more than 75% off the retail price. The store also carries Meliessa & Doug toys and educational products – promoting eduction and creativity.”

The District is one of the most educated cities in the world – full of avid readers – and according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the public schools have made considerable progress in reading and math skills – but more could always be done. Walls of Books® brings a wide selection of books to the neighborhood for those avid readers and for the aspiring child looking for new adventures and skills.

“We want to support the local reading and writing community by providing a family friendly environment where people can attend culturally diverse events, participate in community centered programs, and buy and trade our affordable books,” said Pablo. “This mission comes from my own love of reading and writing and what I’ve seen it do in my life – self-confidence, exposure to other’s ideas, and the need to explore our outer and inner worlds further…and now I have the opportunity to bring those same things, and hopefully more, to my community.”
Come in, check out the books and toys and bring in your own books for the “trade-in for store credit program.”

Walls of Books – Washington, DC
3325 Georgia Ave NW (a 5 minute walk south of the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro; Next to the Post Office)”

  • sanantino

    How fortunate we are to live in a city where independent bookstores (and hardware stores) are actually opening.

  • Love the store credit idea! There aren’t enough Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood to share all the books I’ve been wanting to give away.

  • Anon

    Great news! I fully support more restaurants along Georgia Avenue in Petworth and Park View, but we also need some quality retails options that aren’t bodegas, liquor stores or (gasp) strip clubs. More family friendly places to shop. Probably wishful thinking.

  • jcm

    Another temporary tenant for another delayed Zuckerman development project on Lower Georgia.

    • Julian

      Would you rather it sit empty? Would you prefer a Cricket store?

      • jcm

        I would prefer the development that was well under way before Zuckerman bought the property.

        • Keefer

          When I pressed Zuckerman on the status of the PUD application for this site and the fact that he had filed an extension on the false pretext of the gas tanks in the ground and not the fact that he was trying to buy the whole block, he seemed to suggest that they had given up on trying to buy out the block, at that point I thought he was still two building short of owning the block, but I have now learned he is only one short and that is the building that has the little restaurant in it. I don’t believe him anymore on this, clearly if he is putting a tenant in he is still trying to get that last building and have the whole block.

  • petworther

    Nice to see a bookstore, although I agree with jcm. What I’d really like to see is this plot developed. And to be fair to Zuckerman, I imagine they’re thinking it doesn’t make sense until movement on Park Morton is at least in sight. The difference between condos next door to Park Morton vs. not next door to Park Morton is enormous.
    Also it was a little unclear, is this a used bookstore?

    • Lisa

      You’re so funny. From the above: “At least 99% of our books are quality used books at discounted prices”

      • petworther

        Ha. Coffee had not kicked in yet I guess. I read right through that three times trying to figure it out.

    • jcm

      I think that’s way too generous towards Zuckerman. They should stop buying projects if they think the neighborhood isn’t ready for them.

      • Julian

        I guess you don’t understand how commercial real estate works.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I think it’s more a question of how capitalism works than a question about how commercial real estate works. Buying properties and sitting on them for years on end while the neighborhood deteriorates is not an inherent feature of commercial real estate; it is a feature of an economic system in which doing so is legal, incentivized (sort of), and considered a perfectly legitimate way to do business.

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            Agree with Haile. The fact that they don’t have to pay vacant (and blighted in some cases) taxes on these properties is really frustrating and helps them sit on these properties too.

          • Anton

            Holding property and doing nothing with it is a business model that doesn’t work in DC. Anyone who has tried to build out or develop a commercial property in DC can tell you that the city is very aggressive about classifying property as vacant or blighted. They’ve done it to the company I worked for with our permits in the window. You have to be in some stage of building, leasing or selling in order to qualify for a lesser designation and trying to sell or lease for an inflated price isn’t a loophole anymore. OTR puts the onus on the owner to prove that the building qualifies for a lesser tax rate rather than the other way around. There is also no guarantee that you won’t find yourself taxed at the blighted rate again 2 weeks after you’ve marched down to OTR and shown them your permits. If one buys something for $1,000,000, the city will probably assess it for $825K. taxes at the blighted rate come to $.82,500 per year. That certainly wipes out most if not all of the gains on the property. And guess what? If there are significant gains, the city just assesses you at a higher value anyway. What makes the most sense for a property like that is for one to sign shorter term leases with good tenants whose presence will bring the neighborhood up a few notches. Once the neighborhood has maxed out or is close to maxed out, then one can build their 70 unit building. In the mean time, however, It takes quite a long time to attract and line up a suitable commercial tenant and complete negotiations.. You need either a deep pocketed chain or a mom and pop with a good business model and enough personal assets so that they can guarantee the lease and that doesn’t happen overnight like it does when you are renting out a house. That tenant then has to permit their buildout which can take months and sometimes over a year and then they buildout. Each stage of construction has to be inspected prior to the next stage and that takes time. A final inspection takes time to arrange. After that, the tenant still has to wait on their licenses and certifications before a business can open. I bet that the owner and the bookstore owner have been working on this for over a year. Most people think of developers as evil and greedy people and that may be true in come cases but most are simply investors looking for a good return on their money. If there isn’t a god return, then they won’t invest and there will be nothing but the bodegas/K2 stores, liquor stores and check cashing places that everyone on this blog complains about. It’s just the world we live in.

          • well


            Tell all that to Douglas Jemal, and lots of other developers in town. This is exactly their MO…wait and wait and wait until the place is assessed as vacant/blighted (which can take a while–DCRA isn’t always as vigilant as you assume) and:

            * get a construction permit and put in a single new window or something (easier if you let the building fall into disrepair; then you have something to fix!)
            * put it on sale for a ridiculously high price
            * pay the tax knowing it’s a small price to pay for a much bigger development down the road
            * donate a lot to politicians and watch the property mysteriously come off the vacant/blighted rolls

            bonus points if you don’t pay when the tax bill is due and wait until there’s a lien and it’s the day before the tax sale.

          • Anonymous

            Wait. They aren’t paying vacant property taxes? Or blighted? That’s just wrong. No wonder they have no sense of urgency. Where is Councilmember Nadeau at on that? Is her office involved?

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            Anton, what you wrote may be true for some, but it is not the case for Zuckerman Partners. At a meeting, I asked them point blank if they were paying vacant property taxes, and if not then why not? The guy got uncomfortable and said no, but that they didn’t have to because they have “development plans” for all their properties. Basically if you have development plans on the books all is good in DC’s eyes and you don’t have to pay vacant/blighted taxes. Nothing Nadeau can do about it because it appears to be a legit DC policy, which of course developers take advantage of. And then the Zuckerman guy had the nerve to whine and say when they rent these properties out they’re “barely breaking even and in some cases losing money.” Cry me a f!cking river. Maybe that’s true, but at the end of the day they’ll make a killing once the neighborhood turns and/or they sell!

      • petworther

        I hear that. But put yourself in their shoes. If the redevelopment is going to happen it would be a huge mistake for them not to wait. I’m disappointed it won’t happen sooner, but place more blame on the city for moving so slowly with Park Morton.
        That said, they could do more to mitigate the effects of the abandoned properties. The bookstore is a start. Maybe gets some temporary galleries in there? On the other hand, I see why developers are wary of those kind of temporary leases. The owners at 411 NY NE got some temporary arts tenants. Now when the owners are on the verge of developing the space after a few years, the tenants are essentially trying to claim squatters rights on their lease.

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        It’s way better than it just sitting there empty. I have to say I am impressed that Zuckerman is finally moving on these properties after having pressure put on them. Yes, it would be better if they were actually moving to redevelop the whole plot, but there is an environmental issue. They were actually digging up the ground a couple weeks ago so hopefully that is mitigated soon. They’re supposed to move on the Murry’s plot soon so hopefully they do. In the meantime they’re having some sort of Winter party there.

  • samanda_bynes

    oh neat!

  • DK

    I gotta say, I was SUPER disappointed when I stopped by this bookstore for their “soft opening” this past Saturday and it was most definitely not open yet! The sign on the door says “coming in January 2016.”


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