GM came into possession of a flyer that Vornado is circulating to retail brokers whose clients may be interested in opening a restaurant in the renovated Georgetown Park Mall. The flyer is the first relatively concrete document GM has seen that reveals what is likely going to be the shape and makeup of the mall; and it’s not pretty. (GM reached out to Vornado for confirmation of the information contained in the flyer, but did not receive a response).
The flyer is requesting proposals for two restaurants to be located along the canal. The first would be along the southeast corner of the building, near the Wisconsin Ave. bridge, and the other would be at the southwest corner, adjacent to Dean & Deluca. Both spaces have a ton of potential (particularly the second one) but that’s not the thing that jumped out at GM the most.
The flyer confirms what GM has been hearing for a long time: that a primary tenant in the new mall will be the budget clothing store T.J. Maxx. The flyer also shows that the space will be shared by HomeGoods, which is a sister store of T.J. Maxx that sells budget home wares, like sofas and rugs.
The store will have an entrance along M St. but will primarily be below grade (much like the Bed Bath & Beyond in Gallery Place).
The flyer also shows an expanded J. Crew.
GM also learned that while the flyer doesn’t show it, one of the other primary tenants will be a Michaels arts and craft store.
Essentially, when Vornado is done with it, the bulk of the mall will have been converted into a couple big box stores that have all the charm and destination-appeal of Rockville Pike.
GM hates to say he told you so, but…:
GM predicts that all they want to do is gut the property, put in three or four large tenants (whoever they can sign, GM doubts they care much) and turn around and sell it. It would come as no surprise that they’re not interested in the long haul seeing as they’re simply acting as an agent for the mall’s actual owner: Angelo, Gordon & Co. This firm specializes in distressed properties, an investment strategy that normally involves buying a property cheap, tarting it up and turning around and selling it for quick buck.
Sadly, we’ll be the ones stuck with the outcome long after Vornado and Angelo, Gordon & Co. cash their check.
Maybe the restaurants will redeem this whole project. It could happen, but given Vornado’s bland suburban taste in tenants so far, GM is afraid we’ll end up with an Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory…