Downtown Retail is Booming This Holiday Season and Beyond

Friday, December 5, 2014

By DowntownDC

Ready. Set. Shop Downtown DC!

From unique boutiques to high-end fashion, Downtown DC is a holiday shopper’s paradise. And an influx of new players in Downtown DC’s retail sector has put the District on the cusp of creating a major shopping mecca.

For the retail industry, it’s all about following the people. According to a 2013 poll by the Urban Land Institute, Millennials and empty-nesters are leading the movement back to cities large and small. The survey of 1,200 adults also found that more than half prefer to live within walking distance of a mix of shops, restaurants and offices.

Downtown DC has definitely felt the growth. According to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Washington DC had the second largest numeric gain in downtown residents after Chicago. The report, which compared 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census data, found that DC’s Center City area had a net increase of 36,000 residents over the 10-year period. The number of residents earning over $100,000 per year has increased by 31,000 to 58,000 in 2013.

In response, an emerging Downtown Shopping District is beginning to take shape. The DowntownDC Shopping District stretches for more than 15 blocks from Mt. Vernon Square, New York Avenue to the north, 7th Street to the east, F Street to the south, and 13th Street to the west. The Shopping District is anchored by department store stalwarts Macy’s at Metro Center and Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, high-end luxury goods emporium CityCenterDC, Gallery Place and new retail along F Street.

DC’s downtown area has welcomed a wave of development in recent years. From 1997 – 2014 almost $13 billion has been invested in Downtown, including $1.7 billion invested in 2013 and 2014.  Seven development projects totaling $693 million were completed in Downtown in 2013. The development highlight of 2013/2014 was the completion of the office, retail and parking portions of CityCenterDC, the site of the former convention center. CityCenterDC will be home to over 3,000 employees, approximately  1,000 residents, five or six restaurants and over 20 exciting retailers. Famous luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, David Yurman and Carolina Herrera will soon join just-opened stores from Burberry, Kate Spade, Hugo Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, and French retailers Zadig & Voltaire and Longchamp.

South of CityCenterDC, the Gap just opened in September in the Lerner Building at 664 11th Street across from H&M; and Potomac River Running Store is now open on the 900-block of F Street.

“Downtown retail will meet the demand of increased residential, large office workers market and a growing visitor base -- the outlook is extremely upbeat for an emerging Downtown shopping district,” said Richard H. Bradley, executive director of the Downtown BID. 

This year, as part of a new holiday season promotion, the DowntownDC BID is actively promoting the area as a retail destination, creating a DowntownDC Holiday Retail Walk. The Holiday Retail Walk leads shoppers to retailers anchored by the Downtown Holiday Market , CityCenterDC, Macy’s and back along F Street and the area in between. Wraps and banners on lights and poles along the route will help draw consumers eyes to the many offerings, while an interactive story map provided by BID will provide descriptions and links to store websites and more.

The 10th Annual Downtown Holiday Market  is a diverse, fun and festive open-air marketplace open for 26 days. The market, produced by the DowntownDC BID and Diverse Markets Management, features more than 150 exhibitors offering everything from fine art to holiday edibles, photography, clothing and more daily from noon to 8 pm on F Street between 7th and 9th streets NW.

As shoppers stroll through the unique marketplace, they will be treated to live performances including gypsy jazz from the Hot Club of DC, updated classics from Ian Walters & Friends and more and can enjoy tasty treats, hot beverages and holiday decorations.

Read a copy of the 2014 Downtown DC Summer Retail Survey, which provides extensive data on retail demand drivers and market statistics and projections.