Bloomies, Bloomies, who gets the new downtown Bloomingdales Department Store?
For months every developer with a block of downtown real estate to his name has been courting the trendy department store chain, hoping that if and when a third Bloomingdales store is built here, it would be on his block.
The Oliver T. Carr Co. had the Metro Center site on H Street downtown, Western Development suggested the Gallery Place block north of Hecht's. Pentagon City and the Garfinckel's store block were in the running.
But the best bet-as they say in New York Magazine-is that any new Bloomingdales store here will be built by the same developers who built the first two at Tysons Corner and White Flint.
Theodore Lerner and partner Albert Abramson have talked to Bloomingdales President Marvin Traub about building the store at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and L Street, where the LaSalle Building now stands.
While most of the speculation about what will go up ager the LaSalle Building comes down has centered on the future of Duke Zeibert's restaurant, the real issue has been who the major tenant on the block will be,
Officially neither Bloomingdales nor Lerner is saying anything. No contract has been written, let alone signed.
But the talks are significant enough that both sides are looking seriously at how major department store could be fitted into the LaSalle Building block, what Zerbert has called "the best corner in the city of Washington."
And Bloomingdales' name no longer is being discussed among possible occupants for the other blocks that looked like good sites.
The Connecticut and L Corner is considered the safest location for a big new store in downtown. Atop a subway stop, a couple of blocks from the White House, within noon-time-shopping distance of K Street's wall-to-wall offices, it is the surest spot.
The Garfinckel site is barely big enough-and would require a partnership with a major retail rival rather than a pair of old associates.
The gallery Place site across from Hecht's is on the fringe of the downtown shopping district, real estate too risky for a multi-million dollar merchandising machine.
Metro Center looked more likely, but the Carr company is less experienced than Lerner in major developments.
Carr is still talking about a possible department store along that block, but has yet to show its hand to the Redevelopment Land Agency, which owns the property.
Carr and RLA officials are preparing to take their Metro Center plans to the District of Columbia Planning Commision next month, seeking a series of revisions in requirements for the use of the parcel. The rules were written 10 years ago, and the economics and philosophy of development have changed since then.
RLA also owns the Gallery Place site and has just called for proposals from developers for that block-square location. Officers are due Aug. 13. The first application was picked up yesterday by Western Development Corp., which was the only developer interested the first time RLA accepted proposals.
At Metro Center, a small block that was pulled out of the Carr property and assigned to developer Nathan Landow ahs grown into a major office project. RLA action is expected shortly on that plan.
Over on Pennsylvannia Avenue, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes of Boston already is clearing the block it bought between 12th and 13th Streets and is planning a big groundbreaking ceremony next month.