Rhode Island Station

At long last, the redevelopment at the Rhode Island Metro station is finally underway, evidenced by all of the fences, signs, and media around the redevelopment. We now also have a website to track its progress.

According to the developer’s website, the Rhode Island Station will have nearly 300 apartments, sidewalk cafes, funky bars, and tons of retail opportunities. The largest retail pad according to their plans for the ground level retail is 14,700 sqft. So, what stores are coming? Well, according to their leasing documents, there is a Starbucks, CVS, FedEx Express, BCBG, Pizza Pizza, Blockbuster Total Access, and a wine store. There are all types of smaller pads that could accomodate coffee shops, dry cleaners, etc. The total square footage for retail pads is 70,000 sqft. Also part of this center will be a new DMV, which is expected to draw nearly 600 visitors daily.

Other good news about this area. The Giant Food Stores is already considering expanding, the AJ Wright is the top one in the nation, and the Home Depot is among the top 3. Pretty exciting if you think about the potential for this area!

The residential pads will total 274 upscale luxury apartments. The 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments will be in two separate buildings with private parking and a rooftop terrace.

It is encouraging for all of us along RIA that this is becoming a reality. Hopefully, we will move forward with the entire Avenue and get our area on the map.

18 thoughts on “Rhode Island Station

  1. That’s a pretty nice list of retail, so far. I can already tell you who will be using what of that in my building. I’ll be frequenting the wine shop and any drycleaner that moves in (pretty please?). One neighbor will probably live at the Starbucks and another better not end up in foreclosure from being so close to a BCBG. Also, we could all use a quality salon.

    Hopefully the move to that plaza will push CVS to provide some modicum of an acceptable standard of service (I assume the CVS in the former Safeway plaza is moving, and not planning on trying to float two stores in the area). While I’ve never had an exactly thrilling retail experience at any CVS – heck, I’m not even sure I’ve had a “fully statisfactory” retail experience at a CVS – the one up there is abysmal. It would be a huge bonus for the entire east side of the city if that CVS were 24 hours both store and pharmacy. Right now I think the closest 24 hour CVS pharmacy is near Foggy Bottom. Of course, Giant could beat them to the punch…

  2. What is a BCBG?

    Also, can we have a 5 guys and Au Bon Pan? Aren’t those a requirement for any new development? I’m semi-serious, I like eating at those places.

    1. Girl stuff. BCBG Max Azria. Not really my style, but pricey clothing, nonetheless. Sold at places like Nordstroms, plus in independent retail outlets. That’s a HUGE step up for this area.

  3. BCBG is clothing. I don’t know a lot about the style, but it’s more upscale than, for example, Rainbow and AJ Wright. 🙂

    Au Bon Pain, while ubiquitous, is something I could pass on. I find myself always drawn in by their pastries in the window, but usually disappointed. I’d love for a more local bakery/coffee place to take a shot, though I know Starbucks would be a lot to compete with. 5 Guys – I don’t even eat beef, but I’m totally about having those fries close enough to walk to.

  4. I echo the request that some entrepreneurial businessperson PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BRING US A $1.99 CLEANER SO I CAN STOP DRIVING TO VAN NESS EVERY WEEK!!!

  5. Sorry to break it to you, but the “list” of retailers on the website are just from a mock up of a tenant sign. We’d be very lucky to get any of those, but there are no signed leases yet. BCBG wouldn’t think of coming here. Blockbuster is facing bankruptcy.

    If anyone has an idea on how we can convince retailers to come, I’d be happy to help. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with more of the same stuff that is next to the Giant.

    1. Developers usually publish future tenants in their leasing info to attract other tenants. They would not be able to use their logo without the company’s permission. You may be correct that there are no signed leases as that usually comes later and these are confirmed interest and verbal commitments to lease. Again, BCBG has given them permission to use their logo in leasing materials so there would need to be some level of interest for them. And this area is not out of reach for BCBG especially given future buildout and sales per square foot of other retailers. The market for this development is not reliant on the immediate area but DC in general, just like Home Depot did not open for the sole reason to only service Ward 5, etc. Their projections show a very wide service area. Also, bankruptcy doesn’t mean that Blockbuste is going away or cannot open stores. There are MANY levels of bankruptcy and theirs could be a simple restructuring, closing underperforming stores, etc but they still operate as a business. This one would be a “Total Access” which is a new format for them and I think you will see more and more of these type of new formats from them in other areas as they reorganize their company.

      1. Thanks for responding…I totally agree. The stores would not allow their logos to be used unless they had at least expressed interest, and maybe signed an intent agreement (a non-binding lease that usually allows them out if certain peramaters are not met, such as other stores or pre-leasing percentages, or they can buy out for a fee). There are no BCBGs in DC, and they may see this as their opportunity to break ground in the District. Cheaper rent for them, high-end tenants upstairs, and a Metro a few steps away to bring their other customers to their doorstep. If they sign a long-term lease, they may ALSO be able to ride the development wave. And if things don’t work out exactly as they envisioned, they could always open a cheaper BCBGeneration store, or another one of their lower-cost brands.

  6. Our Home Depot is among the Top 3 in the nation? Where that tidbit of information come from? It’s the most ghetoo-fabulous HD I’ve ever experienced, and the only one that makes you show your receipt when you leave the store – even when the security guard has watched your entire transaction at the cash register. And if AJ Wright is No. 1, then there must not be too many around. Sadly, I still prefer to shop in MD or VA.

    1. I’ve never had the security guards at HD ask me for my receipt, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they did. The very nice super Wal-Mart in Frederick makes me show my receipt upon leaving when I stop passing through, as do other stores, and, in any big-box store, it’s a simple step to prevent theft. I don’t find anything “ghetto-fabulous” about our Home Depot, it’s pretty typical of my big-box home improvement store shopping experiences. Some of the staff could use improvement, but it’s really nothing compared to staff I’ve run into at other stores in nicer and worse areas, alike.

      In the same vein, the AJ Wright is a little trashy, but nothing much different than any other discount-type store I’ve been to, in nicer and worse areas, again. The Filene’s Basement at Downtown Crossing in Boston (the original, where they have the running of the brides) has nicer stuff but ruder staff, trashier patrons, and is much more disorganized. I currently have a number of items from our AJ Wright in my home, and, while the store is not an A+ for retail, it’s definitely on-par with other stores of its stature. Many of my friends from all over the city and metro area shop there for a number of common personal and household items. It’s no worse than a TJMax or AJ Wright in any other DC Metro area, or almost anywhere else in the country.

      1. I agree. I’ve spent a lot of time in Home Depot over the past year. On a rare occasion, I go to the store in College Park or Hyattsville if the local store doesn’t have what I want. For the record, both of those stores in MD ask for a reciept when you leave.

        But yes, the Home Depot is pretty typical. As with any big box store, staff typically have limited product knowledge. You need to research online and know what you need before you go shop. This applies to stores like Best Buy, Target, etc. Having said that, I’ve been in the Home Depot enough that I know who the knowledgable staff are and where/when to find them, so there are people there that can provide product knowledge to you if you are lacking.

        I just think some people are extra sensitive to businesses that are “ghetto”. If you don’t like a litle urban grit, move to NW. If you can’t afford NW, go to Nova. If you can’t afford Nova, move to Kansas.

      2. I agree, I think the word “ghetto” gets tossed around too much, usually by people that have no idea what ghetto is. I’ve lived in NE for a number of years, part of the time in the rougher areas. I’ve come out and found stray bullet holes in my car and have come home to find my block taped up with police tape, unable to enter my own home. That’s ghetto. Home Depot not providing the most stellar service is hardly ghetto.

        I’m by no means advocating that we just sit by and settle for less, but there’s a clear distinction between pushing for better services and whining. Calling every little thing ghetto because it’s not exactly like it was in Nova or wherever you came from comes falls into the category of whining. I think it’s been pretty well established that NE DC is a developing urban environment. If you’re going to live here and pay less for housing, you have to be willing to make some compromises and appreciate what you have.

  7. BrentwoodGuy: The developers of this project (as well as other developers working on projects of this area) are not necessarily developing these projects for Ward 5 residents en masse, they are developing them for people they would like to attract to this area (ie, people who can afford higher rents who would pay for more “upscale” offerings.

    Stephanie: Top 3 in the nation is by $, not by quality. Also, there are other HD’s in the metro area that make you show your receipt at the door. Hopefully your disdain for shopping in DC will subside once the area has become nicer and meets high expectations.

  8. I’m excited about the possibilities for the continued elevation of retail on RIA. I hope this spreads to the strip at Montana Ave.

  9. On the strip at Montana Avenue, you have the Premier Development Corporation which is involved in economic development for that area, and William Shelton, the ANC 5B01 commissioner. I undertand Mr. Shelton testified at the Mayor’s hearing on the Rhode Island Avenue Great Streets Small Area Plan. Have you contacted either of them about your interests in retail on that strip?

    Also, has any one seen the final document for the Rhode Island Avenue Great Streets Small Area Plan. I’ve heard that the plan was passed. Is this correct?

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