Thursday, July 28, 2016

14th Street near DCUSA has some of the highest pedestrian traffic in the city

This is interesting -- Bisnow, a business website, and Dochter & Alexander, a business analyst, have released a report that 14th Street in Columbia Heights, specifically around DCUSA, has some of the highest and most consistent foot traffic in the city:
“It’s the densest residential neighborhood in DC with a population density over 85,000/square mile and residents who make, on average, over $98k/year. It’s not surprising the pedestrian counts are on par with Georgetown and Galley Place,” Dave Dochter says. “The branding opportunity that exists with frontage on these busy high streets combined with the inflow of customers is part of the strategy of choosing a location for a flagship store."
That's good news for us, as there are a few empty storefronts in the area -- the one where Office Depot Staples used to be, plus a few on Park Road just around the corner.  (You have to sign up to get the full report, which also includes other areas.)

Let's hope that high traffic and density means something cool will come to the open spaces in the area. I'd like to see something like an H&M, Trader Joe's (obviously) or other cool big retail in the Office Depot Staples space. Any other ideas?


  1. I think one of the big problems with DCUSA is how unappealing it is from the sidewalk. You have so many doors that don't open, windows into service hallways, and nothing to draw you in. Having to walk around the corner from Target to get to DSW and Petco is also detrimental.

    A Trader Joes in the Office Depot space would be a complete disaster. The one at 14th and U has demonstrated that they can't exist in an urban setting without being enormously disruptive to anyone not in a car. The intersection there (Park/Kenyon and 14th) is already so poorly designed that adding a Trader Joes would make it nearly impassable.

    I'm not sure what I'd like to see in that space. Maybe something more like Glen's in Dupont, not really a grocery store but some place to grab a sandwich or a few things to go cook at home?

  2. I don't agree about Trader Joe's, it's very popular for people who don't have a car. I go there and take the bus, lots of others I know do that. Plus DCUSA has tons of parking -- too much, really.

  3. First a minor correction; it was Staples that departed DCUSA, not Ofice Deport. A sad departure as I found as a person who works from home in the neighborhood it a great place to get all my office supplies.

    I am a bit unclear why the previous poster thinks that a Trader Joes whould be a complete disaster; my sense is that the vast majority of their clientele is on foot and from the immediate neighborhood. If anything a second location just up the street would take some of the pressure off of the demand that the U Street stored faces. Personally, I don't care what brand it is, but I do think that a small speciality grocer would be helpful to have in the area.

    I think the complaints about the design of the building are well taken, but it is what it is; this is an urban mall designed in large part to bring in street traffic.

    It would be helpful to hear from the Mall management with regard to their plans to recruit new stores into the mall. Perhaps they could engage in some type of community dialogue to learn what neighbors would like to see. Granted what the neighbors want is not always economically viable to merchants. With such high traffic in the neighborhood it is surprising that there are have been so many empty storefronts for such a long time.

  4. Thanks -- Office Depot didn't sound right but the only other one I could think of was Office Max.

  5. It's not that Trader Joes doesn't attract foot traffic - it's that their loading trucks and the cars entering and exiting the parking lot block crosswalks and bike lanes and generally make that area unpleasant. If we add Trader Joes to that corner, the car traffic through that terrible intersection will go way up.

  6. Jon, I would assume they would use the back areas to load and unload like Target, Best Buy etc do, right? I haven't seen any of those trucks on 14th or Irving.

  7. As a ColHi resident, I vote for a good salad place (SweetGreen?), but in general I would hope that the new tenants of DC USA will serve a broader demographic than the "$98k/year" range. I suspect that the demographics of DC USA shoppers are much more diverse.
    As to grocery, there's already a big Giant around the corner, which already creates plenty of truck traffic along 14th St and Park Rd.

  8. @Andrew - Maybe. But the s**tshow on 14th at U suggests otherwise.

    And even if the trucks don't get in the way, I really don't think that intersection needs any more cars in any direction.

  9. I have literally never noticed a shitshow at 14th and U due to Trader Joe's trucks. It's a busy intersection, and was before Trader Joe's too. To me, worries about parking and traffic is not enough to say no to something that will be really useful and nice to have.

  10. I've lived a block away from there for going on three years. Now there's approximately a half-dozen empty storefronts in that complex, most have been open for a few years. The usual suspects such as fast-casual restaurants, cell phone stores, pharmacies, etc already have homes in the immediate vicinity. What types of places can fill those spots, even the smaller ones? Is the landlord overcharging for square footage? An empty space does not bring any income to a landlord.

  11. I have given some thought to organizing a panel discussion on "Community Economic Development in Columbia Heights". My thought is invited represenatives from the Mayor's Office, DCUSA management, Columbia Heights Economic Development Corp; open to other ideas. I am on the board of the Mt. Pleasant Library Friends who has expressed a willingness to sponsor such a discussion. Are there folks who would be interested in working with me on this? If so please contact me at Eric Scharf

  12. I'd love to see a Chop't in Columbia Heights, specifically in the space where Radio Shack was.

    The back corner of DCUSA, at Irving & Holmead, could be where a mini Trader Joe's or H&M/Zara go. There's a lot of retail but only Marshall's and Target offer options for clothing.


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