Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown is more and more a ghost town these days. The level of vacant storefronts along the street through Georgetown is surely near or at an all-time high. And it just seems to keep getting worse.
The stretch of the road between O and Q Streets has always been a bit of an outlier. For decades this stretch was dominated by cheap suit and jewelry stores. But those are almost entirely gone now. Only a couple remain. And in some cases the formerly decrepit building has been transformed into a beautiful new space. But the space still is mostly empty.
But the vacancies on Wisconsin Ave. are not limited to just these couple blocks. Vacancies pockmark the street from M all the way up to the Safeway. On the lower stretch, GM counts six empty storefronts, including the recent closures of Paolo’s and American/Holiday. In the middle stretch there are eleven empty spaces. Book Hill has a smattering of empty spaces. And Upper Wisconsin, above R, has been struggling with long empty spaces for years.
What will finally turn this around? GM’s hopeful the Compass Coffee at the Georgetown Theater building will help. And turning the Prince and Princess building into a restaurant (as is planned) might change the foot traffic a bit. But too many spaces have sat empty literally for years. Will landlords ever finally lower their prices? Is the retail apocalypse to blame?
GM wishes he had answers to these. They are questions he gets from people all the time. What is absolutely certain is that the opening of a Chase Bank at the old Neam’s Market is the absolute last thing this stretch needed….