The Shops at Georgetown Park are being renovated as a fashion hotspot, specifically catered to university students.

In addition to a new Bloomingdale’s SoHo concept store, many unique international shops will be opened within the Shops at Georgetown Park.

The developer, Western Development Corporation, who initially built the Shops in the 1980s, bought back the property in February 2007 with the purpose of modernizing the mall.

“The Shops are simply tired and antiquated,” Ben Miller, owner of Western Development Corporation, said. “The mall needs to be rejuvenated.”

As part of the plan for the renovation, unique fashion shops from around the world will be introduced to the mall.

“We are redoing the inside of the mall to make it a high-end fashion retail area for vendors from all over the world – Paris, Milan and other such places,” Miller said. “Georgetown used to have a lot more unique boutiques but has started to shift away from that, leaving behind few unique, local chains. We want to bring back that uniqueness to Georgetown. We want to bring something that is not seen in malls or stores nationwide – something more avante garde and chic.”

While maintaining the historical and traditional look on the outside, the entire inside will be redone to incorporate many new shops. Additionally, 25 new residential units will be added to the 120 existing units above the mall. In doing so, the developer hopes to turn Georgetown into more of a fashion district.

“Washington, D.C., has never traditionally been considered an urban fashion capital,” Miller said. “But with the growth of the Shops at Georgetown and by bringing Bloomingdale’s SoHo into Georgetown, D.C. will become a fashion hot spot. We’ve had a rare opportunity landing a Bloomingdale’s SoHo, which will make it possible [to make D.C. a fashion hotspot]. By building the new shops around Bloomingdale’s SoHo, we will bring D.C. to a whole new level of fashion.”

“Georgetown and George Washington University students were a big reason why Bloomie’s SoHo wanted to land in the Georgetown Shops,” Miller added. “The students are young, hip and in tune with fashion. Additionally, the international aspect of tourists in D.C. pushed this over the edge for Bloomie’s.”

iller has dispelled all qualms about construction work obstructing M Street and causing traffic inconveniences. The developer will be working with the existing structure for the Shops with respect to the side of the building that faces M Street. Most of the construction will occur on the back side of the building, away from M Street.

“The design will be more traditional on the part facing M Street but will be more modern away from the street. M Street has a historical character to it that we would like to maintain,” Miller said.

The Shops at Georgetown entail the entire area from Dean and Deluca all the way to Wisconsin Avenue. The project is scheduled to be complete by fall of 2011.

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