How many WalMarts Can Fit In DC? **Updated


According to an article on Wal-Mart’s DC-specific website, the company is planning on four new stores by 2012 within DC. All of the stores will have full grocery components to them and be between 80,000 to 120,000 sq ft stores. The locations slated for these locations are:

801 New Jersey Avenue NW in Ward 6; Georgia and Missouri Avenue NW in Ward 4; and East Capitol Street and 58th Street in Capitol Heights in Ward 7, and the last one being proposed for Ward 5 at New York Ave and Bladensburg Road. 

Of course, there will be people who oppose these developments and according to the Washington Business Journal:

“All four sites are zoned for mixed-use and would require few, if any, zoning approvals. It is unclear whether Wal-Mart is asking for any taxpayer assistance, but the company is launching a public relations offensive, asking its supporters to “help get the word out about the benefits.”


The answer apparently is less than 10.

According to chatter among the Councilmembers in DC, Wal-Mart is eyeing to bring in multiple Wal-Mart stores into the District with Ward 5 and Ward 7 leading the way. Councilmember Yvette Alexander started the twitter-fest. The stores being considered for DC are much smaller than the average Supercenter that Wal-Mart builds (150,000-200,000 square feet). Instead, they plan to build stores starting at around 80,000-90,000 sq ft according to Councilmember Tommy Well’s tweet in response.

Walmart’s coming to DC.

As for the Ward 5 Wal-Mart store, the current proposal is slated for the area off of New York Avenue NE and Montana Ave NE. There are a lot of issues that will come with this proposal especially with concerns to traffic already being a headache along New York Ave throughout the day and not just during the peak hours of travel (which is when they will most likely conduct the traffic counts).

8 thoughts on “How many WalMarts Can Fit In DC? **Updated

  1. I welcome Walmart coming, but why can’t these stores be placed near Metrorail stops? The Target in Columbia Heights is acccessible by car, bike, and Metro. We’ve got 4 Metro stops in Ward 5. I wish Walmart would consider these instead of highly congested New York Avenue & Bladensburg Road.

  2. I think you’re overlooking a little bit the statement that these will be groceries- and essentials-focused stores (their size indicates the essentials, but there were other statements indicating that they would be grocery-based). In that regard, I don’t think this is such a bad thing. The District is sorely lacking in grocery stores. When I lived in Massachusetts (urban environment) there were *4* grocery stores within walking or brief-bus-ride distance from my house (including 1 low-cost “ethnic” grocer). Here, there is *1*, about to be 2, neither low-cost (OK, Giant is fairly cheap, but you so get what you pay for there, which is not much of quality). When I lived on the Hill, there were **ZERO** real grocery stores within walking distance to my house, and the buses and Metro didn’t efficiently connect me to these stores. Pathetic. As these stores will be located in largely low-income areas (according to the current sites they’re scoping), they’ll provide a much-needed service. Wal-Mart has its labor problems, but they don’t pay that badly by low-skill labor standards. Besides, sometimes you just need a cheap gray t-shirt, and if you think Foreman Mills or AJ Wright treat their workers better than Wal-Mart, I think you’re on something.

    Wal-Mart moved into the small college town I went to school in. Everyone screamed and whined that it would drive everyone out of business and drive down wages. We lost the crappiest K-Mart known to man (but probably would have lost that anyway) and exactly one grocery store chain (that no one shopped at anyway because it was super awful and super expensive). Kroger was forced to lower its insane prices (it was the only decent grocery store in town before Wal-Mart), and Wal-Mart actually paid better and had more shifts available than any of the aforementioned stores. The local shops were either already specialized enough to withstand the Wal-Mart onslaught or started providing a higher-end product to differentiate themselves. Since Wal-Mart went into the area, at least 10 new stores have cropped up, bus service has expanded to that part of town (Kroger is right next door, and it was previously hard to get to that neck of the woods without a car), and locals piped down a little bit about college students stealing all of their jobs bagging groceries and hawking junk.

    Wal-Mart has its problems, but is not the devil to areas in need. The fact that Wal-Mart is willing to jump through all of DC’s regulatory hoops and go up against the resistance in the area is telling about how valuable of a market we are, and that they are willing to adapt to our needs to get a foothold is great. I do wish the NY Ave. location was less car-centric, but that’s a good area for them to grab some land, and the residents of that area shouldn’t be penalized by not having ANYWHERE to shop because of the pathetic transit access in the area. I’m not sold that Wal-Mart will substantially increase traffic in the area. Where do those people shop now? In the ‘burbs. How do they get there? Car. Are people going to drive all the way across town to shop at Wal-Mart? Not if there are several of them throughout the city, some Metro accessible (for the record, I will drive to that Wal-Mart, but only in lieu of going to one in MD using NY Ave., and going to that Wal-Mart should not require me to use NY Ave.). And I’m sure they’d be willing to do some traffic mitigation (new access roads and stuff). Everything has SOME drawbacks, but the question is do the benefits outweigh those drawbacks? Maybe the traffic will get bad enough that some of those Marylanders who use NY Ave. to access the city will start taking Metro. 🙂

  3. They just opened a new store on Rt. 1 in Alexandria. The took over a long ago abandoned Kmart and totally rehabbed it. Needless to say, it’s quite an improvement.

    Anyways, I believe this store may be the model they’re looking to bring to DC. It’s seems about the sq footage listed in the article, but it contains a full grocery. The other departments are scaled back somewhat, they have less variety in the automotive, hardware sections, and it seems like there’s more workers on hand to restock items since they don’t seem to have as much inventory on the shelves for some items.

  4. The NJ Ave location is 3 blocks from union station, so it’s metro accessible. The 58th St NE is 2 blocks from the Capitol Hts metro, so it’s also accessible.

  5. Why can’t all Walmart’s locations be Metro accessible? Not just one!

    At last night’s ANC 5A meeting Harry Thomas told us that not only would Walmart bring it’s scaled down stores/grocery/pharmarcy to New York Avenue and Bladensburg but that there would also be a Lowe’s Home Improvement on that site. I love Lowe’s, but it’s just too congested at New York and Bladensburg. We were also informed by the Commissioner in Fort Lincoln that Costco has officially signed to come to South Dakota and New York Avenue, but there will be NO Target. He has not heard from Shoppers.

    NBC Washington’s video report ( indicated only 3 locations for the Urban Walmart. They left out the New York Avenue & Bladensburg Road location!

  6. People are always complaining about the possibility of traffic in the New York Avenue corridor getting worse because of development. Does that mean nothing should ever be developed there and it should keep looking a giant junkyard? I mean really? Traffic sucks and it might suck worse, but at least while your sitting in traffic it’ll look a hell of a lot better than what it does now.

    The people who live in this area of DC shouldn’t be denied the benefit of progress and better shopping choices just because it might make someone’s commute to and from Maryland longer.

  7. Roy,

    About 8 years ago there were meetings to redo that very intersection on New York Avenue. The plans included an underground bypass for NYA traffic, a traffic circle for Blandensburg Road, and others ways to make that corridor pedestrian friendly. All you have to do is try crossing NYA by foot. You can’t make it even walking at a brisk pace. And that’s not providing an Urban environment, which NYA is not. NYA is a freeway environment. No one objected to ABDO’ project, the PUD got approved. I heard there were funding issues so the project got aborted.

    As with other major development projects in the area, all people want is traffic issues resolved, then let the building begin!

    NYA & Bladensburg has to be the most seriously neglected area for traffic concerns. I just don’t understand why DC keeps neglecting this area. It well worth using TARP and other funding for this. They used TARP money to redo the Brentwood Avenue and NYA bridges/overpass. They even used it to repave sidewalks.

    So it’s not just about idling in your car and having something to look at. It’s about safety and environmentally urban soundness that’s at stake here.

    1. I would love to see traffic updates that facilitate a more urban environment resurrected. Unfortunately, between DC’s budget issues and the ousting of Klein, I’m not sure there’s much hope for that in the short-term. I could easily, and would, walk to this facility and the new shops at Dakota if I could safely cross NYA. We could further facilitate this by having bus-only lanes, curbbed-off from NYA, along the segments between the underpasses and circles (to be honest, Dakota is a bit of a stretch for walking for me, not there, but back with my stuff 🙂 but I would gladly take the bus home). Of course, the stores were not pushed to act like this was a possibility, so we’re ending up with suburban-style developments with acres of parking surrounding single-story, single-use sites. Yes, it’s an improvement. And yes, I stand by my earlier argument that any increases in traffic will be minimal as it’s mainly just a swap between using NYA to access these amenities in the ‘burbs versus using NYA to access these amenities within city limits. But I would like to see a set-aside from tax dollars generated by these shops for traffic, pedestrian, and transit improvements along NYA, to make these stores and this corridor even more successful and beneficial to residents and the city coffers. And to do my little part, I will continue to carpool to Walmart and Costco, like I do now when shopping these stores in the ‘burbs. 🙂

      And I must say, maybe there’s hope for getting these stores and any new developments to pay a portion of the improvements. After all, look at the money developers are spending to deck over 395 near Union Station!

Leave a Reply to Ms. D Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s