Dan Reed (Dan, by the way, used to write this blog you are now reading) in the August Washingtonian writes about how big box stores are shrinking their square footage to fit walkable communities like Bethesda and Rosslyn. He also discusses how the mix of retail is changing in urban and urban-lite communities, focusing on stores where shoppers hunt for bargains and interesting wares (i.e. Marshall’s and Nordstroms Rack) rather than more traditional department stores like Macys.
“As young, upwardly mobile Washingtonians flock to urban corridors such as 14th Street as well as town-center-style developments around Metro stations like Tysons, national chains—many of them traditionally wary of stores that didn’t come surrounded by ample parking—are trying to follow them. And they’re trying to do so via buildings that fit into their environments,” writes Dan in Why Washington’s Big Box Stores are Shrinking.
I (Executive Director Amy Ginsburg) have said for years that the transformation of the Pike District re-creates the Main Street life of the 1950s when most folks lived close enough to walk to their friendly neighborhood corner store and movie house. Dan confirms this theory when he writes “The future of retail in Washington looks a lot like shopping did 50 years ago, when city dwellers and close-in suburbanites headed to the open-air shopping streets that prospered before the rise of the mall.”