The Washington Post

Target yanks plans for Northeast D.C. store

Target’s Columbia Heights store is the only one in the District. (Tim Boyle/Bloomberg)

The big box retailer has just one store in the District, on 14th Street Northwest in Columbia Heights, where it anchors a 500,000-square-foot complex that also features Best Buy and Bed, Bath & Beyond. The store in Northeast would have joined Costco, Shoppers Food Warehouse and Marshalls in a 430,000-square-foot retail development at the corner of New York and South Dakota avenues called the Shops at Dakota Crossing.

Michele V. Hagans, chairman and chief executive of Fort Lincoln New Town Corp., the project’s lead developer, said she was close to landing another big-box retailer to replace Target.

“Target did withdraw from the project, as they did from some other urban projects. We are close to signing another big box retailer for that space. However, we did not need Target to continue to move forward,” she said.

Target officials declined to comment.

Hagans did not name the big box retailer she is considering as a replacement, but said she is in “final negotiations” on an agreement. She said Costco and Shoppers Food Warehouse were still committed to the project. Fort Lincoln New Town is developing the project with Trammell Crow Co. and CSG Urban Partners.

Hagans said Target officials did not give her a specific reason for the chain’s withdrawal, but she said she believed it was part of a larger movement to slow expansion in some urban markets. Other major retailers have had to cut back on planned stores or close existing ones as the national economy struggles to grow.

Some are still showing interest. Big-box chains such as Kohl’s department showed interest in opening stores in the District at the Las Vegas convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers earlier this year.

Target’s withdrawal also represents a setback for District officials, who are banking on the Fort Lincoln project to capture sales tax dollars and create jobs but have watched as delays repeatedly sidetracked the effort. The District agreed to provide $10 million in tax increment financing for the project and another $3 million to build replace existing wetlands on the site. The city expected the project to draw $6 million in tax revenue its first year.

Jose Sousa, a spokesman for Victor Hoskins, the District’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, issued a statement about the project:

“We look forward to seeing this project close this month and to the site work that will commence soon after. We know this site to be a great retail opportunity and are confident that a great development will take shape at the site to complement both the existing residential community and the one currently under construction. The District is in full support of this project.”

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter here.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.



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