City Sports opening flagship store in Georgetown

By Danielle Douglas
Monday, October 18, 2010

Athletic-gear retailer City Sports is opening a flagship store in the Cady's Alley section of Georgetown in December, according to Eastbanc's president, Anthony Lanier, who owns the property. A sporting goods store may seem counterintuitive in the design district, but it speaks to the same urban, style-conscious crowd. Lanier hopes to bring that same kind of sense-of-place retail design to his latest major development on Capitol Hill.

In Georgetown, Boston-based City Sports will occupy 10,434 square feet at 3338 M St., sandwiched between Bo Concept and Baker Furniture. In many ways, City Sports could be Sports Authority's citified friend, catering to the urban jock, who prefers yoga and running to hiking and canoeing. The store carries apparel, footwear and some equipment, such as racquets and basketballs, but for bikes or skateboards, shoppers will have to go elsewhere.

North Face, which sells its own brand of rugged-terrain apparel and equipment, has its only store in the District across from City Sports' future home. A few blocks down, the ever-chic, ever-pricey Lululemon Athletica, solely trading in apparel, has one of two of its D.C. locations. Placing City Sports near such exclusive neighbors helps create a unique destination, Lanier said.

"Our goal in Georgetown, if we assume for a moment that it is the preeminent retail hub of D.C., has to be to bring tenants that are not freely replicated all over the place," he said.

Though City Sports has three other in-town locations, the new store will have a few distinguishing features, including an energy-drink bar and interactive listening stations. "We're surrounded by other great stores, the university and residences. Those things combined makes [Georgetown] a sweet spot for us in terms of our demographics," said Michael Mosca, executive vice president of merchandising for City Sports.

Lanier said that if City Sports succeeds, they should attract "a demanding customer," the kind that tend to frequent Cady's Alley. The district within a district is more known for its high-end home furnishings stores and upscale cafes than sporting goods retailers. Lanier, however, said he is trying to create a tenant mix that speaks more to quality than theme.

Having leased space to City Sports, Eastbanc has only one available spot in Cady's Alley now, next to North Face. Italian home goods retailer Alessi debuted its store last week, while Crate & Barrel spinoff CB2 will settle into its new digs next spring. All told, vacancy rates in Georgetown are holding steady at 5.2 percent as of the end of the third quarter, according to the real estate data firm CoStar Group.

As he continues to look for opportunities to expand Eastbanc's retail portfolio, especially in Georgetown, Lanier said much of his attention these days is focused on the redevelopment of the former Hine Junior High School site on Capitol Hill.

Eastbanc, along with Stanton Development, Dantes Partners and Escoff & Associates, was selected by the city last year to turn the 3.5-acre site into more than 500,000 square feet of housing, office and retail. The joint venture is currently working on the full design of the project, slated to break ground next year. Lanier expects to start marketing the retail component, which will be between 60,000 and 80,000 square feet, within the next six months.

"We're certainly going to favor local tenants over national ones because [Capitol Hill] is the kind of market that is more excited about something that is symbiotic with the neighborhood, than another Gap," he said.

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