INSIGHTS: Articles

Unraveling the Clues - is a New Bloomingdales Headed for Georgetown?

Earlier this year, SLS noted that many stores had gone dark or closed their interior entrances at that Georgetown institution, The Shops At Georgetown Park, 3222 M Street NW.  While a mystery at the time, the reason for those closings now seems clear. 

The mall’s owners, Vornado Realty Trust and Angelo Gordon & Co., have obtained permits for demolition and interior renovation to tear down large, non-structural sections of the mall’s interior.  Both garage and retail spaces will be reconstructed.  (Shops at Georgetown Park poised for makeover)  Currently, two additional permits for construction at Georgetown Park are pending with the D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs; one awaiting electrical and fire approval, the other pending structural and zoning approval.

Georgetown Park held approximately 100 retail stores at its opening in 1981, and now lists 64 stores and restaurants on its website.  Reconfiguration of the interior is likely meant to create space for big-box retailers and to lure a national chain retailer such as Bloomingdale’s or Target (Redevelopment planned for Georgetown Park mall).  As one Georgetown community specialist, Topher Matthews, has noted, it is likely that the Georgetown Park reboot will create long spaces running from M Street to the Canal, effectively “de-mall”ing the mall (Mall Moves Ahead with Radical Reshaping).

As our readers know, we’ve pondered the many reasons why Bloomingdales shuttered its White Flint location this year.  An earlier deal with Bloomingdales to enter Georgetown Park by 2011 fell through in 2009 and it opened up as the anchor tenant in the Shops at Wisconsin Place in Chevy Chase, Maryland in 2007.  Many factors suggest that Bloomingdales could thrive in a reconfigured Georgetown Park given (1) its prime location, (2) the lack of department stores in upscale Georgetown, (3) the Ritz-Carlton hotel and residences around the corner, (4) the Four Seasons hotel a few blocks away, (5) Bloomingdale’s prior enthusiasm for having two stores in the area, and (6) the interest of the mall’s owners in high-end retail and in Bloomies in particular. So, could a Bloomingdales finally be coming to M Street?  We should soon find out.