In Search of New Retailers in D.C.

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor The first Wegmans grocery store might finally open in the District. City officials have been trying for years to attract the chain but could not provide a site large enough to accommodate the store. Now, with [...]

The first Wegmans grocery store might finally open in the District. City officials have been trying for years to attract the chain but could not provide a site large enough to accommodate the store. Now, with the redevelopment of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center ready to start, the city can offer Wegmans a real opportunity to set foot in the area.

Mayor Vincent Gray and several council members were scheduled to meet Wegmans Food Markets’ senior management at the International Council of Shopping Centers RECon conference this week in Las Vegas, with Wegmans senior vice president Larry Damore meeting with Mayor Gray, while Councilmen Harry Thomas Jr., Vincent Orange and Michael Brown were to meet separately with the retailer.

Michael Stevens, executive director of the capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, said that a series of major retailers such as Target, JoS. A. Bank, the Container Store, Home Depot and Best Buy opened stores in the city after fruitful meetings at previous RECon conferences. Stevens and other city officials planned to meet with AMC Theaters, Under Armour, Bloomingdales, Wal-mart, Lowe’s and Michaels to find opportunities for potential locations on the city’s strategic sites.

While the city’s officials are trying to lure new retailers, Montgomery County is seeking approvals for more mixed-use zoning that would make way for new redevelopment projects in Kensington, Wheaton and White Flint. According to The Washington Examiner, the new mixed-use projects will also bring changes to the existing zoning code; they will vary in height and size and they will act as step-downs from the taller zone. It will take years for the entire county zoning code to be rewritten, but the mixed-use development projects are moving forward steadily.

The existing MontCo zoning was approved by county officials back in 2009, and the new amendments will focus on the more urban and commercial-residential aspects of the initial plan. For example, the new town zoning will allow for mixed-use developments as high as 150 feet tall, with the height limit for neighborhoods 65 feet.