Harris Teeter in Georgetown?

Last week commenter Downtown Dave left an intriguing comment regarding the Jefferson Court building at K and Thomas Jefferson St. GM linked to a WBJ article stating that JBG, the new owner of the building, was considering adding first floor retail to the building. Downtown Dave added:

I have heard that the JBG folks are talking to Harris Teeter about putting a grocery store there… Not a done deal but a very real possibility.

GM checked with JBG and didn’t hear back. But that’s no reason not to idly speculate!

This would obviously be a huge development for lower Georgetown. There are about 2,000 residents that live south of M St. and they would likely become loyal customers. But beyond this group and perhaps the lower East Village residents, it’s tough to see where Harris Teeter would draw customers to this store. North Georgetowners would probably stick with the Safeway. To the east, Foggy Bottom residents have Trader Joe’s and a brand new Whole Foods. Finally to the south, well, there’s a river.

Skepticism aside, this would be a nice statement supporting the idea that not all large scale retail in Georgetown needs to cater to visitors.

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9 Comments

Filed under Rumors

9 responses to “Harris Teeter in Georgetown?

  1. Sandra Cheldelin

    This is a terrific idea; Harris Tetter would be a welcome addition.

  2. Guest

    I agree about the limited geographic appeal. Other than those in immediate walking distance, who wants to deal with M Street/lower Wisonsin Ave traffic to grocery shop? Safeway is away from the mob, not in the middle of it.

  3. Jacques

    Not a massive customer source, but there is a fair amount of foot traffic (tourists, but also locals) at the Georgetown Waterfront Park, as well as crew teams/rowers/spectators out of Thompson’s Boathouse that might make small-to-medium sized grocery runs after practice.

    And there is a significant stream of bike commuters that come through K Street en route to the Capital Crescent Trail or the C&O towpath (or in my case, on my way home to West Georgetown) that would find this a significant benefit.

    Not only that, but the recent and continuing developments in West End (and to a lesser extent, Foggy Bottom), as well as those in the apartment complexes southwest of Dupont Circle could also provide a significant customer base, for those looking for groceries more comprehensive than TJ’s and less expensive than Whole Foods.

    I would agree that overall, it seems unlikely, but I don’t think it would be an impossible business proposition.

  4. Me want. Signed, Happy Cherry Hill Resident.

  5. Waltr

    Anyone familiar with Jefferson Court would realize the building is not configured for a supermarket. Its called Jefferson Court because the center consists of two large courts, on separate levels, open to the sky above. The commercial space surrounding these courts, and bounded by the street, is quite narrow in width. Its probably five times worse as supermarket space than is Georgetown Park with its atriums. Plus there is no parking. I believe the commercial tenants have nearly all the parking spaces assigned to them.

  6. Jerry

    Downtown Silver Spring had been teased for years with the prospect of a HT and nothing has ever come of it.

  7. It seems grocery stores are more often nowadays making money selling prepackaged goods, and that location would ideal for that. While it would be a horrible location for car-filling grocery trips, they could make plenty of money from visitors and nearby residents shopping just for dinner or a party. Ideally it would move a wee bit west so it could front the park, but, close enough. (Alas, the plot south of the park – http://flickr.com/mvjantzen/6827621938/ – is too small for a big grocery)

  8. Walter

    A Google search indicates that Harris Tweeter likes stores 50,000 sq ft and up. About three times bigger than Dean & DeLuca. Good luck squeezing 50,000 sq ft into Jefferson Court.

  9. Jacques

    Harris Teeter’s recent store in Shirlington is only 24,000 square feet, and their typical stores include at least one and a half stories, which can maximize on space. I’m not sure how this compares to the availabiliity in Jefferson court, but 50,000 isn’t hard-and-fast, and like M.V. Jantzen mentioned, urban format grocery stores are becoming popular among some chains because they dedicate more of their space to high-margin products such as prepared food and beer/wine, rather than the lower margin traditional grocery items, which have general gross profits of 2-3% (wholesale to retail prices, so you still have to figure in space/labor costs).

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