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03/16/2011

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I agree with Jonathan, and support the idea of a target/bloomies. Target particularly would be very useful to a lot of local residents, I know I would appreciate it. Tucking it away in the mall where it would be very accessible but yet hidden is a perfect solution.

Frankly my only problem with the mall in georgetown is that the stores aren't any good. Get a few good anchor tenants that create foot traffic and this will lead to better stores throughout the mall. Absolutely no reason to tear it down.

I agree with the comments supporting bloomingdale's/target. We don't currently have any hardware stores; the closest is Glover Park hardware, which offers far more than Target ever would and will still have its niche. And target might even keep me in DC for staples, rather than running to Costco in Pentagon City.

As for a Soho Bloomingdales, would you rather have a Cusp by Neiman's? Oh wait... Fact is, with the increasingly young neighborhood Georgetown is becoming, there is a market for such things, and gtown park stores will not survive without drawing students there from the university -- a soho bloomies will do that, while a traditional one would not.

If Carol is worried about cvs and safeway, would anyone actually start buying their groceries at Target? Have you seen the produce they have there? Safeway will be fine, and CVS will survive also (unless Target has a 24 hour pharmacy...).

I have only lived in Georgetown for 20 years, but having read of its history...there seems to be a rather normal back and forth swing of the community and the types of businesses it attracts.

Personally, I think Georgetown could greatly benefit from a Target or Bed Bath & Beyond type store in its midst. Burying that store in an otherwise decomposing mall also avoids having to deal with the visual elements of those style of stores. I miss being able to walk down the street to buy a spatula, hit the long lost Circuit City Express for some tech gadget or one of the countless other items that real humans use in daily life. This is about making Georgetown a livable neighborhood. As is, we leave the District for much of our shopping needs. It is frustrating that many folks seem to want to create an image of Georgetown that basically is that of a gated community, if they want that...it exists out in the suburbs. It may not be a port town anymore, and it isn't the run down slum it was before the Roosevelt administration started to breathe life into it...but does it have to be unlivable?

What this area really does not need is one more ultra chic over-priced, over hyped clothing emporium...or another designer furniture store charging prices that are out of whack with materials, workmanship and reflecting a poor understanding of the reality of the city and world we live in...oh, and no more cupcakes places either.

One thing I have always thought would be a great fit for the Georgetown Park Mall would be an old fashioned night club or music hall. Put it down on the first floor (say where the art shop was next to the food court). It has parking, easy to control access in and out and would bring people in to partake of the other businesses too. Of course, that won't fly...since the powers that be would never want anything so "common" in their "town".

All in all, even if you are not a fan of Target or "big box" stores...isn't a full tax generating, job creating, mall more attractive to the community than an empty relic?

Luckily, it all will continue to evolve. The only constant is change.

I don't think you are in the minority when it comes to a revitalized, potentially brand new concept for the Shops. We deperately need that horrible mall redone, but unfortunately I don't think Vornado nor the flood of NIMBYs have the kahunas to support that because of the math not working for the owners and the need to oppose everything from the NIMBYs. The good news is I think as people continue moving in to the area, they are breathing some new life into the neighborhood that want transportation solutions other than more pavement, and do not necessarily have an attraction to knick knack stores, gritty college bars, and assorted average mall stores.

I disagree with you though about Georgetown and your opposition to the neighborhood transition. Georgetown of some years ago was funky and "wierd", with boutique shops selling odds and ends, a little grittier as well with a big social and college scene. These are all the first sign of an emerging, gentrifying neighborhood. The question is what we want to emerge to. I support continual evolution of the neighborhood to become the high end fashion and shopping district, with cafes, high end stuff that you can't buy in the 'burbs. (e.g. better than a Target, Bloomies, etc) similar to a Rodeo Drive, 5th Ave, Newbury St, etc neighboorhood -- only with more beauty, charm and personality from the houses, canal, waterfront, etc plus being the capital of the free world doesnt hurt. It sounds like you like the gritter 'good ole days' of knick knack stores, and college bars and want to impede the natural progress towards this (correct me if I am wrong).

In summary:

Phase 1: Poor but Pretty Neighborhood
Phase 2: Gritty Shirt Shops, Mom and Pop Stores, Pawn Shops and Porn Theatres
Phase 3 (Where we are today but beginning to transition out of): Some High End Restaurants Emerging, Mall Stores Coming In and the Neighborhood Transitions to a Destination, Mom and Pop Odd and Ends begin Fading, College Bars Getting Tired, Drinking Scene Moving to the Grittier new "Fun and Funky" Cheaper Areas

Here's where we have a choice or try to keep the area at Phase 3...

Phase 4: High End European Shops Clustering, Fashionable Style Stores (Furniture, etc) Clustering, Cafes, Moving Away from Pavement/Cars, World Class Destination and Neighboorhood to Live In

Other Phase 4B: Some High End Stores Coming In and Out but nothing sticking, Choking Car Only Pavement/Transportation Continuing, So afraid of change that stifle the evolution as the neighborhood begins declining as Capitol Hill or Downtown become the desination for high end products, college scene stays tired but remains because of GU, etc; rents begin declining due to lack of demand and Mom and Pop Odds and Ends start moving back in along side funky stores, pawn shops etc...see Phase 2 after that.

Neigborhoods always must change. Grow or Die, but staying the same can't happen - or you die.

Sorry for the ramble.

@Jonathan: I don't know who you are, but I agree with every word in your posting - I don't think I ever written something like this before. Every word you wrote could've been written by me to describe both myself and my feelings on this topic. Amazing....CHEERS!

You're right, of course.

The owners don't seem to understand that the Mall can't compete with Tyson's. etc. and shouldn't even try. Target is very unlikely to succeed at that location. (Shopping carts down in that garage? I don't think so.)

It could, however, be much more like Boston's Quincy Market -- particularly if the rear of the Mall was re-configured to exploit the presence the canal. OTOH, being more like Quincy Market would probably also require several liquor licenses, which as you know can be a fraught subject in G'twn.

Carol, I am no fan of malls, a reason why I choose to live in Georgetown. But I have to point out some flaws in your argument.

1) The news that Vornado is wooing Target and Bloomies is hardly a big scoop. They have been trying to score an anchor tenant in that space for years and years. You can count the number of those potential retailers on one hand.

2) Why not Target? Georgetown has no hardware store or cheap place to buy home furnishings like sheets and the random tv stand. We don't all live in historic mansions with heirloom furniture. And with a university in the neighborhood, a Target would be really helpful to students. Obviously, small local retail shops have proven that they can't sustain themselves in the mall. Target can. I'd rather the space go to good use than be a ghost mall of cheap jewelry stores and pinball machines.

3) Why not Bloomies? You say it's not the USEFUL Bloomingdales? Not sure what that means. I've been to the Soho Bloomingdales and it was a great place to get a Christmas present for my wife. Contrary to your argument, the Soho type Bloomies would complement the shopping experience in Gtown. Its the larger Bloomingdales that would cannibalize the smaller retailer in the neighborhood. And since when was Georgetown not a place for TRENDY shopping? You may be thinking of an idealized and anachronistic version of the neighborhood when everyone wore bean boots and shetland sweaters, shopped at Britches, and drank pitchers at Nathans. The neighborhood has evolved.


4) Target and Bloomies will nto be followed by other similar stores. Thats the point of getting a bog anchor tenant, they pull the weight and provide security for the property in exchange for a little exclusivity.

5) Why do you go to Tyson's? To get those essentials, those few thigns that Gtown doesn't have? Well, those of us that don't have cars need to do that to. It would be nice not to have to leave the neighborhood.

I appreciate your point of view and love that someone is passionate about the neighborhood enough to write about it and defend it. But you seem to be slipping into cranky here. We get it malls are bad, thats why we live here. But Georgetown mall is not going anywhere, might as well make it work. And cmon tearing it down is a pipe dream. I mean if you couldnt make Nathans work, you think the owners of the mall can afford to tear it down and replace it with...nothing?

Yes! I agree completely. We should enlist the help of Project for Public Spaces (PPS). http://www.pps.org/ With the Georgetown Waterfront Park upgrade, the last thing we need is to be suffocated by box stores. We need to embrace the beauty and potential of the views of the C&O Canal National Historic Park, parts of which are completely ignored by the mall's design.

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