Housing Complex

Walmart’s Fifth D.C. Location: Skyland?

Speaking on his home turf Saturday, as Veronica Davis reports, Mayor Vince Gray dropped some not-terribly-surprising news: It appears that Target has bailed as a prospective anchor tenant at the still-unbuilt Skyland Town Center, and the developers have sent Walmart a letter of interest in locating there instead. Even if Gray is able to nudge forward the litigation that has kept Skyland in a deep freeze for years, the Rappaport Companies need a big box to take the 129,000-square-foot space–and if Target's not interested, that doesn't bode well for other retailers (there's already a Safeway across the street).

A Rappaport spokeswoman confirms that they are in "preliminary discussions" with Walmart.

If the deal goes through, what would that mean for Walmart's intentions to locate at its first proposed Ward 7 location, at Capitol Gateway on East Capitol and Southern Avenue? Almost certainly nothing–they're far enough away that both could survive. Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander hadn't heard about the company's intentions for Skyland, but does understand that their ambitions aren't limited.

"I do know that they would be interested in coming to as many sites as possible with this new urban model," she told Housing Complex this morning. "Overall, all things being equal about jobs and wages and community benefits, the Capitol Gateway looks like it will be a go."

There has been no organized resistance to the Capitol Gateway site to date (it will have to go through a planned unit development process with the Zoning Commission). Like Capitol Gateway–and unlike the Georgia Avenue location–the intersection of Good Hope Road and Alabama Avenue has little in the way of neighborhood retail that would be threatened by the always-low-prices superstore. However, it is surrounded by the higher-income Hillcrest community, which might react differently to the idea of a Walmart in their neighborhood.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE, Wednesday, 10:45 a.m. – Walmart spokesman Steven Restivo says nothing has been signed yet. "I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw lots of similar rumors over the next couple of weeks given the number of developers, landlords and brokers we’re talking to," he notes.

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  • er

    my understanding was that walmart stores use a five store minimum for their distribution centers. this allows for maximum profitability or something.

    so, where will their distribution center for dc be?

  • Bob See

    "Like Capitol Gateway–and unlike the Georgia Avenue location–the intersection of Good Hope Road and Alabama Avenue has little in the way of neighborhood retail that would be threatened by the always-low-prices superstore."

    There are stores in the Skyland area and they are a carbon copy of the ones on Georgia Ave, from CVS and McDonalds to Skyland Liquor Store and Hong Kong Inn. Why is this area "unlike the Georgia Avenue location"?

  • http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com Richard Layman

    Interesting, at our W4 Walmart response committee meeting last night, one of the committee members who works in the retail development field posited that there was one missing store location, that four wasn't enough...

    WRT distribution centers. Walmart doesn't have distribution centers for every five stores, they have a limited number of centers (about 130) that serve dozens of stores (on average about 36 stores). Likely the distribution centers in Maryland can easily accommodate the addition of stores in DC.

  • Mike Wilson

    In the original reporting you reference, Veronica Davis' blog, she says, "One thing the Mayor mentioned that raised a few eyebrows is the developer for Skyland has sent an interest letter to Walmart to be the anchor tenant." You have it the other way around, that Walmart sent the letter of intent to the Skyland developer, which is it?

  • Lydia DePillis

    Mike - You're right, I read that backwards, and have corrected. Thanks for pointing it out.



  • drpolisci

    Skyland Liquor is closed. Murry's is still open but will probably close soon. I heard a rumor that Discount Mart is scheduled to close soon. Do not know if that is true. As a resident of Ward 7, I am beyond ready for action on the Sklyand project. I moved to DC in 2001 and shortly thereafter I heard rumors about Skyland being redeveloped into something better. It is now 2011. My hair salon is across from Skyland so I get to monitor "progress" on a regular basis. The only tangible progress I have seen is the tearing down of the old pizza place across from CVS.

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