Housing Complex

Georgetown-bound Target Thinking Different About Parking

There are a few interesting things about the news that Target is likely heading to the Shops at Georgetown Park, along with Bloomingdales.

First, how could the new owners welcome a retailer rejected by Lady Gaga?

Okay, actually first is that it comes after Target withdrew from Skyland Town Center, the long-stalled retail complex planned for Ward 7. Now that community is likely stuck with a Walmart, while Target takes one of the highest-density, highest-income areas in the city.

The second is how stodgy bodies like the Old Georgetown Board will react to the neighborhood's first real big-box store–sure, it'll be smaller than its average branches, and tucked away in the Mall's basement, but outward signs of its presence will be strictly confined so as to comport with the area's "historic character."

The third thing isn't what the move says about Georgetown, but rather what it says about Target: That the store would even think of opening a location without acres of parking. It came to DCUSA in Columbia Heights only on the condition that the city build a 1,000-space garage, which ended up being embarrassingly underused due to its proximity to Metro. The other store it has planned for the District, a 136,000 square foot location at Fort Lincoln, will share just under 2,000 surface parking spots with a Costco and a Shoppers.

Parking in Georgetown: Decidedly more scarce, and not because there's a metro nearby. There is some parking nearby though, in the Colonial Parking lot right underneath the Mall. Colonial isn't eager to let on how many spaces they have, exactly; when I called the company, they declined to specify the number, citing "strategy." And the Business Improvement District, which usually keeps track of such things, says it doesn't know either. Finally, another reliable source told me that there were "over 600" spaces in the lot.

That's better than nothing–but it's pricey. So while Target is playing it safe with the demographics in the area, it's breaking from its established mold of pairing big-box stores with cheap, plentiful parking. So is CB2, Crate and Barrel's mini-version now under construction on M Street, which will require people to carry pieces of furniture to their cars. We shall see how this grand experiment goes.

  • Rick Mangus

    What an odd combination it will be interesting to see what happens!

  • Poster Nutbag

    would it be a safe assumption that CB2 on M street might offer delivery servies for the parking impared?

  • Jeremy Jones

    Target's downtown Minneapolis store has attached parking that is subsidized by Target, but otherwise quite expensive if you're a non-Target customer. Watch for something similar to happen on M Street.

    That said, there are copious ramps in downtown Minneapolis that offer alternatives that far surpass the limited parking in direct proximity to Shops at G'Town Park — so the decision to have faith in foot traffic is admirable. Local gourmet nook Dean and Deluca might want to watch out if Target comes out with an Archer Farms-branded caviar.

  • KC Comalli

    To the author of the article:

    The title is missing the adverbial suffix -ly, as in "thinking differently." Thank you for listening,

    KC Comalli, RDMS

  • John M

    I can't imagine why Target is coming to Georgetown. No Metro, no parking, and snooty residents don't necessarily equal success for their business model.

    Maybe I'm wrong...

  • Nina

    There are a ton of furniture stores in Soho (NYC) without parking, including CB2. Been there for years, so I'm not sure how this is a 'grand experiment'.

  • Paul

    I think the City Center DC development at the old convention center site would have been better for Target.

  • Rich

    There already is a long line of furniture stores on M St which manage w/o parking. Much of what C&B sells is pretty lightweight anyway. Georgetown has many buses, plus the Circualtors which will serve Target just fine.

  • Scoot

    "There are a ton of furniture stores in Soho (NYC) without parking, including CB2. Been there for years, so I'm not sure how this is a 'grand experiment'."

    I agree, I think people are both overestimating the demand for retail parking in Georgetown and underestimating the parking supply. In addition to CB2 there are already a ton of furniture stores in Cady's Alley (where CB2 will be located) as well as on 14th St where there are few large parking lots and little street parking. Somehow commerce finds a way to continue even without large storefronts opening out to enormous, mostly empty surface parking lots.

    And further ... according to the Georgetown BID website there are 3800 combined parking spaces factoring in both on-street parking and lots/garages, which is actually significantly higher than most retail corridors in the city. Even though the area is not directly served by a Metro stop, it is well served by buses.

  • Rick Mangus

    Interesting, 'Big Brown Bags' with Red Shopping Carts, very interesting!

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