13 Jul 2011

Rumor Has It… JoS. A. Bank Coming to Blockbuster Space

Originally Uploaded to flickr by Hallenser

I want to be clear that right now, this is just a rumor, but I have it on pretty good authority that JoS. A. Bank is in negotiations to be the tenant replacing Blockbuster on Barracks Row. This is great news for all of us clamoring for retail on that stretch!

“Jos. A. Bank is the kind of business that we hope can serve as a retail anchor for Barracks Row and the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, ” said Julia Christian, executive director of CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce. She went on to say, “I hope this rumor turns out to be true!”

Now, if you’re like me, you’re saying, “Well, that’s great, but I don’t shop at JoS. A. Bank.” But, let’s not be shortsighted — hundreds, possibly, thousands of young men just a few blocks away at the Capitol DO shop there and it is my hope that they will add the crucial “foot traffic” that everyone talks about when lamenting the lack of retail options in the neighborhood. I’m optimistic that this will bring more and different retail to Barracks Row, and the wider Hill. It’s not the answer to my personal retail dreams (REI, are you listening?!) but it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

But again… so far, it’s just a rumor — but it was too good not to share!

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18 responses to “Rumor Has It… JoS. A. Bank Coming to Blockbuster Space”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think we can do better than a national chain selling cheap merchandise sewn by kids in China.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m standing here in the middle of 8th Street SE looking up and down the block for that retail store you say we “can do” that’s “better” than Jos. A Banks. As for Jos. A Banks, faster please! Would love to see them here.

  2. fisherdm says:

    I think we can do better than a national chain selling cheap merchandise sewn by kids in China.

  3. DG_rad says:

    retail diversity = good news!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think that would be awesome. It would also send a signal to other retailers that Barracks Row is not just restaurant row.
    FYI – there is a JoS Bank in Union Station.

  5. I agree with both David and Ken. It’s the combination of diversity of industry and neighborhood-serving retail that creates a draw that will help sustain and grow the other surrounding retail. The combined foot traffic that a Jos A Bank coupled with a Chipotle could generate is nothing to sneeze at. We all want independent retail to flourish and survive, but that’s difficult when you’re talking about a neighborhood that does not currently have the residential density to support the kinds of things we all seem to clamor for.

    These two businesses opening up (assuming the Jos A Bank rumor comes true) would not only generate much needed tax revenue for the city, they will (as Ken says) send a signal to others that the doors are very much so still open for successful neighborhood retail in the Barracks Row/Penn Ave SE market.

    So often these conversations revolve around independent vs. corporate, as if there’s a clear black and white line to be drawn between the two. The reality is that not all corporate owned businesses are evil, or offer no community benefit. It’s just that often these benefits are intangible. The Hill Rag ran an article this month focused on what makes a business a good neighbor. One of the important things that I pointed out when interviewed was that we typically think of “good neighbors” as those who get involved in the community, donate to causes, etc. And those are indeed characteristics of a good neighbor — and qualities that just about each and every one of our local businesses possess. But–not donating money or not getting involved with community initiatives does not necessarily equal being a bad neighbor. Again, it’s the intangible “gray area” benefits that you have to look at here — and the individual industries that we’re discussing.

    Now, if Sur La Table opened up next door to Hill’s Kitchen, I would be less than enthusiastic simply because there’s an industry overlap there that could allow for a negative effect on one of our cherished locally owned businesses. But, in this instance, we are talking about Jos A Bank. We do not have an independently owned men’s apparel store on the SE side of the Hill and the price points that would be necessary for one to exist would, in some ways, stunt its ability to succeed and flourish simply by being pegged into a limited customer base, based on spending power. So, if Jos A Bank moves in and generates enough foot traffic for 3 other independently owned apparel shops to open nearby, then I’m all for it.

    To be clear, I’m not saying that we should litter the rest of the neighborhood with big box stores or non-independent business. What I AM saying is that dismissing these opportunities simply because they are corporate vs. independent without studying the offset benefits (on a case by case basis) that they can bring would be a bad idea. In just about any successful commercial corridor, you see a limited number of specific types of corporate retail carefully combined with a larger number of independent retail.

    More often than not, it’s this kind of strategic recruitment and development that actually creates an environment where the independents can generate more revenue and be more successful because of their proximity to the larger, draw-creating businesses entities.

    Julia Robey Christian
    CHAMPS Executive Director

    P.S. And in terms of non-independents that exist in the neighborhood and DO dig in and support the community … Marvelous Market, Edible Arrangements, the UPS Store, Firehook, MotoPhoto (just to name a few) … these are all places that have some level of corporate ownership and these are all businesses that have not only made in-kind donations to neighborhood events, but many are invested personally in this neighborhood and get involved with community issues, events, and initiatives.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Woohoo! My husband is pretty excited…but I’m not sure my bank account is going to be excited if he can stop in Jos. A. Bank on his walk home every day!

    The Marines down the street frequently have to be in a shirt and tie, so this will be very convenient for them as well!

  7. JessInDC says:

    Woohoo! My husband is pretty excited…but I’m not sure my bank account is going to be excited if he can stop in Jos. A. Bank on his walk home every day!

    The Marines down the street frequently have to be in a shirt and tie, so this will be very convenient for them as well!

  8. J says:

    Bad. Idea.
    Now if it were a Thomas Pink on the other hand…..

  9. Anonymous says:

    Jos Bank, the Wal-Mart of suit stores

  10. Anonymous says:

    What suit store is not the Wal-Mart of suit stores? Everything is made in China unless it’s hand tailored. Shirts are $160 at Thomas Pink, no thanks.

    I’ll shop at Jos A Bank, absolutely.

  11. Tim krepp says:

    Great to hear! For the community of course, the chance of me buying a suit is, of course, laughable.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I swear, one could shat a gold brick on 8th and you folks would complain it wasn’t heavy enough. Jos A Bank is a stalewart of Cap Hill closets. Is it the greatest? No, but there are a lot more worker bees than peacocks strutting their Thomas Pink ties in our neighborhood. It’s a good fit, if true.

  13. John says:

    So when do we get an Apple store?

  14. Amy Reger says:

    Please God, stop the development on 8th Street. There is already too much now. Some of us living nearby (such as one block West) are beginning to weigh the pros and cons of how much we love the neighborhood vs. the traffic/parking mess on our street and our skyrocketing rents, which don’t get us in any faster to the over-packed restaurants. Why do we need an “anchor” store to bring in more traffic/parking space clogging, higher rents, more chain stores, more trash, and an even longer wait to get into restaurants that already have us waiting 45 minutes to an hour if we’re lucky?

    • But development has been happening there for years and has resulted in a much safer and more beautiful neighborhood. 8th Street is one of the city’s oldest commercial corridors — this development is needed to keep the neighborhood thriving. The boutique retail stores that so many people say they want can’t survive without more foot traffic. An anchor store like this will help bring what we need to allow our businesses to succeed!

  15. Anonymous says:

    “…stop the development on 8th Street…”

    Huh? It’s a commercial street. One business is closing, another is taking its place. This is a good thing. Busy resturants. Also a good thing. Urban living may not be as convenient as suburban living (actually it’s more convenient but in a different way) but most city dwellers appreciate the vibrancy even if we have to circle the block a few times for parking. At least I do — and I lived off 8th street “back in the day” of plentiful parking along with heroin dens and empty storefronts.

  16. Also, the community does get tangible benefits from these developments – for example, several of the benches and bike racks that you see were paid for by money generated by parking fees paid by those visitors. Not to mention that the more successful a commercial corridor is, the more value the nearby housing stock becomes. Having grown up here – on the 100 block of 8th Street, SE with my parents’ businesses being in 2 different locations (over about 10 years) on what is now Barracks Row, I’m incredibly grateful for the positive development we’ve seen on 8th Street. It certainly beats the way it was 20 years ago when most parents would ground their kids for weeks if they were caught going south of Penn Ave.

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