The Washington Post

Wal-Mart delays stores planned for the District

Wal-Mart has extended its timeline to open stores in the District, and now does not plan to open its first store in the city until the end of 2013.

When the discount retailer first announced plans to expand into the District, in November of 2010, it announced four sites and said it planned to open stores by the end of 2012.

It was an aggressive schedule. Now, after facing some resistance from activists and opponents, those plans are delayed. Wal-Mart now says that only one of the six stores it currently plans will be open by the end of 2013. Others are components of mixed-use projects that require regulatory approval or the right set of economic circumstances to become viable.

“While construction time lines are fluid and driven mostly by the developer, we’re using the extra time to further engage with the neighborhoods that surround our stores and build even more support for Wal- Mart,” company spokesman Steven Restivo said.

The first Wal-Mart to open in D.C. will likely be at the corner at Georgia and Missouri avenues in Northwest, where the retailer and developer Foulger-Pratt demolished a former Chevrolet dealership and plan to build a stand-alone store that should open by the end of 2013. They expect to break ground this spring.

No other Wal-Mart site has been issued building permits, according to the company. Developer JBG Rosenfeld has applied for building permits to begin a mixed-use apartment-retail complex at 801 New Jersey Ave. NW, where a ground floor Wal-Mart could open in early 2014.

Developers at two others sites — on New York Avenue NE and in the Northeast neighborhood of Fort Totten — have received approvals via the Office of Planning’s large tract review process. But the Fort Totten store is not expected to open until late 2014 and Wal-Mart has not cemented an opening date for the New York Avenue store.

The most complex of the planned Wal-Marts is the one expected to anchor a mixed-use Skyland Town Center, where control of the site has still not been secured. Restivo said that store does not yet have a scheduled opening date.

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