Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, May 08, 2015

DC resident retail preferences, will they shape the DC agenda at ICSC?

The International Council of Shopping Centers is the major trade organization for shopping center developers, property managers, chain retailers and restaurants, and support organizations.

Each May, the group holds a massive convention in Las Vegas, complemented by regional events throughout the year.

-- Mid-Atlantic ICSC meeting, February 2015

Since the Mayoral administration of Anthony Williams, DC Government has exhibited at the event, to highlight the economic advantages of the city and to recruit retailers, such as Target, to the city and specific developments.

When the city first started exhibiting, it was still a major stretch for national chains to consider center cities as a preferred location for expansion.

The city has come a long way since then, even if I do believe that retailers for the most part still aren't thinking urbanistically, but are more about bringing their stores to the city without much in the way of changes from suburban formats. See:

- It ain't true: chain retailers are entering the city, but not necessarily on the city's terms
- Another point about urban retail: Whole Foods, Design within Reach, and American Apparel

In preparation for this year's exhibiting and recruiting at ICSC, the Washington DC Economic Partnership is seeking resident input for their "preferences."

Washington DC Economic Partnership Marks 15 Years at ICSC RECon in Vegas, press release

From email:
Poll: Residents Retail Wish List - What Would You Like The District To Have

Next week, the Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) plans to attend the annual global real estate convention – the International Council of Shopping Centers Conference (RECon), taking place May 17 to 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. RECon is the global convention for the shopping center industry and provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for over 35,000 retail real estate professionals from around the world.

This year marks 15 years WDCEP has had a presence at the global convention representing Washington, DC for retail attraction. The District government and WDCEP’s presence at ICSC RECon, have led to deals that landed many popular retailers and restaurants into the District of Columbia. Some key retail successes due to WDCEP’s ICSC RECon efforts include Apple, Costco, H&M, Harris Teeter, Nike, and Nordstrom Rack.

This year, WDCEP and the District government will focus their efforts on promoting retail opportunities throughout the District with meetings scheduled with nearly 80 retailers including restaurants, grocery stores, clothiers, specialty stores, and national retailers.

Sound Off! Tell Us What's On Your Retail Wish List? WDCEP would like to hear from DC residents regarding what retail brands they would like to see place an "open for business" footprint into the District. What's missing? What's necessity? What's a want? Tweet @WDCEP #WeDC your thoughts!

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At 12:43 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

couple points:

1. WF coming to 965 Florida. Orginical concept want a "market", moved to a harris teeter, after Kroger acq. are they still interested in urban market/focus? WF intereted in typical supermarker saturation in strong market areas.

2. WF coming up with "half-food" convicence store for. Details are unclear at this point.

3. City center bring some serious high end (hermes, loro piana) along with "high end" stuff you mind in nice malls. Still a lot of rooom to expand on that, but these high end brands can't exist in DC without foreign shoppers.

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

1. hmm, I hadn't considered that Harris Teeter, now under Kroger, would change away from their pro-city orientation in this market. It is unusual for HT, compared to their other markets, and for Kroger, even though Kroger claims to be interested in other formats, we haven't seen it.

Maybe a year ago or more, I came across a story in the Cincinnati Business Courier about a talk one of their store people gave about their new interest in this.

I dug up the guy's email, and sent him some of my writings, and they never responded.

We haven't heard much of Kroger doing nonstandard stores in any of their divisions, with the exception of the some urban stores, when it was still a new idea. E.g., they had an in-town Atlanta city store long before HT started building stores in this market.

2. I think the issue with this is that millennials probably don't know how to cook. So stores focused on buying ingredients and ingredients aren't good long term maybe.

I keep bringing this issue up with Eastern market, and we've discussed it in the blog in the past. To buy food to prepare it yourself, you have to know how to cook.

This could become an issue with WF too.

a. wrt their Tysons store announcement, I thought the Post analysis was a bit off. That's a logical market for them, it's growing, it's high income. They have some stores out there already, e.g., Reston.

There definitely is room for one of their flagship stores. (I wrote about the first one in Austin in 2005...) The one in Tustin, CA--near where Suzanne's parents live--is an example.

... but it's like how Wegman's does their stores. In fact, Wegman's should have built a store in that area to preclude Whole Foods.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

wrt your third point, EXACTLY. I think that City Center is a bit oversold in terms of potential because of what you say exactly, there aren't enough indigenous high rollers in the city. And even at its best, there isn't enough of an agglomeration of such stores at City Center to get people from McLean, Loudoun, Middleburg, etc. to come into the city.

... I was gonna participate on a bid team for a market study for Golden Triangle. But the team "fell apart" when one of the people who was the "secret sauce" for the team got a new work engagement and couldn't do this on the side.

I was talking about how to make Dupont Circle to Farragut Square a Miracle Mile and around Farragut Square like Union Square in SF, but the reality, is that there is only so much market for that kind of retail in the city.

Between City Center, "Golden Triangle," and Friendship Heights, let alone the suburbs, there just isn't enough demand.

The other guys are based in NYC, and when I explained to the lead that City Center is less than one mile from Connecticut Avenue (e.g., Burberry moved to City Center), that it makes developing retail there pretty tough, because of all the money that City Center has behind it, versus the grab bag of incentives that can be offered by a BID or individual less capitalized property owners.

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've not seen many "retail preference survey" results that weren't a total mismatch between fantasy and reality.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

that, and everyone wants the same things.

The big thing, but I decided to be nice, is that by definition exhibiting at ICSC is about attracting chain retail. So you're not going there to find or support independent business development.

Plus, aAs chain retail sectors consolidate, it becomes not a particularly good way to get distinctive retail.

E.g., you have Target, Walmart, maybe Kohls, in general merchandise and discount clothing.

Bed, Bath and Beyond is now the only major successful big box retailer in that category.

Best Buy and HH Gregg in electronics.

Barnes & Noble in books.


At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a list of retail coming to the "shay" -- also in Shaw/North Shaw -- very good list, innovative, high end, but targeting actual DC residents as opposed to arabs visiting.

(We don't get a lot of chinese money in DC, but there are a boatloads of arab money floating around)

And yes, City Center is best positioned for that. I think they are sellign the higher end units off to arab buyers.

There was a survey of the Watergate Retail after the garage collapse in the post. I'll see if I can find it.

There is still some interest, although fading, in same day delivery. I see a lot of Google Shopping Express trucks, and Uber obviously wants to place too.

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