City Desk

From Housing Complex: D.C.’s 5th and 6th Walmarts Will At Least Get Urban Design Right

The proposed Fort Totten Wal-Mart

Lydia DePillis takes note of the schmancy-looking surprise Walmarts opening up in the District:

From a local perspective, one of my biggest qualms about Walmart is what the mega-retailer could do neighborhoods: Can a big-box store integrate well with its surroundings, creating walkable places where other kinds of small businesses can thrive? The District's experience with other chain-centric developments, like Home Depot in Brentwood, has been rather terrible. And we're still building suburban-style strip malls on D.C.'s increasingly precious land, both with Walmarts and without them—the Shops at Dakota Crossing, the Point at Arboretum, the Georgia Avenue Walmart, and the Walmart at Capitol Gateway will all be one or two story single-use buildings, and most with large areas of surface parking.

But it's hard to have much of a problem with JBG's Walmart development on New Jersey Avenue, which has all the right elements as far as urban development is concerned: Decent architecture, apartments on the upper floors, smaller stores fronting the street. And fortunately, Walmart's fourth and fifth stores—both at 120,000 square feet—are more in that vein.

Read the rest at Housing Complex.

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  • 8th and el

    How is the District's experience with the Home Depot terrible? Every time I go in there, it's packed and every time I visit, I see more and more development around the store. Did you have a singular bad time there one day and it translate to the entire city hating Home Depot?

    I also notice you didn't use Wal-Mart's competitor in the market, and apparent retail saint Target, which is already using this business model in their stores in the area.

  • Mrs. D

    I live near the Home Depot. It's horrible. I never shop there because the few times I have tried I have encountered the rudest, least helpful staff I've ever run into. The day laborers leave trash, urine, feces all over the parking lot and surrounding areas. They drink publicly from 8 AM until 9 PM. The traffic in the parking lot is terrible. Walking across that lot is putting my life in the hands of DC and MD drivers (bad choice), and there is NO sidewalk that you can use to cross the lot without entering a store or walking out into traffic (even the sidewalk on the Giant side drops down to about 6" in front of the entry).

    It's a suburban store/plaza plunked into an urban environment. I'm sure the sales are high, and I'm sure we're making lots of sales tax off of it, but I wish every day that it would be replaced. It's not worth it.