M Street Mall's New Tenants Draw Opposition
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 02:02
After being closed for renovations last fall, the Shops at Georgetown Park are set to reopen this spring and will feature a lineup that has drawn criticism from area residents.
According to the president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, Jennifer Altemus (COL ’88), the new stores coming to the mall include DSW, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, arts and crafts chain Michaels and high-end bowling alley and restaurant Pinstripes.
“We are excited to see Georgetown Park finally revitalized, and I am really looking forward to the bowling alley,” Altemus said.
Although CAG is enthusiastic to see the retail center open again in the spring, Altemus added that many Georgetown residents feel that these new additions to the mall are not well-suited to the area and have expressed their concerns to CAG.
“Most neighbors I have spoken with are disappointed in the store lineup,” Altemus said. “The discount brands don’t seem to be a good fit for Georgetown.”
Georgetown has a reputation for being a high-end shopping destination, and the neighborhood houses a long list of expensive vendors including Brooks Brothers, Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
Pinstripes has already run into problems; the establishment was opposed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E before being approved Jan. 15 by the Board of Zoning Adjustment, after promising to address noise complaints.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Peter Prindiville (SFS ’14), however, did not share the neighbors’ concerns about the discount chains. He hopes the stores at the mall will attract new customers who live outside Georgetown.
“I think it’s important to stress that the Georgetown retail district serves the entire District and the metro region,” Prindiville wrote in an email. “Georgetown should be a welcoming and inclusive community. To say a certain retailer is beneath the supposed standard for Georgetown ignores a large portion of the residents living in our community who find it difficult to shop in Georgetown.”
Georgetown students seem to agree with Prindiville’s position and are excited to take advantage of the lower prices that the mall’s new line up will offer.
“I think it’s snobbery on the part of the residents here to be upset about stores like DSW coming to Georgetown,” Katie Mangialardi (COL ’16) said. “This is a great opportunity for Georgetown students because for years, the neighborhood has lacked low-priced discount stores. Personally, I know I am excited to hit up DSW.”
Others, however, can see how area residents would disapprove of the new stores.
“On one hand, it’s disappointing to me to hear such an elitist argument coming from some of the people who live in Georgetown, but on the other hand, I do sympathize with their side as well. If you were walking down M Street and passing by Dean & Deluca and then the Coach store, wouldn’t it be weird to suddenly see Marshalls?” De’ahna Johnson (SFS ’16) said.
Nonetheless, Johnson expressed enthusiasm for the arrival of the new merchants to the area.
“All in all, this is a college town, and although the neighborhood is one of the wealthiest in the country, Georgetown should have an interest in making its retail area more cost effective,” Johnson said. “I think the new mall will be a big win for students here when it opens.”