Wal-Mart may open its first location within the District, according to a report by The Washington Post. While not yet certain, the company is "expected" to sign a lease this fall for space near the intersection of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road near the city's northeast border with Maryland (map).
The location is the same that renowned local developer Jim Abdo had planned to develop into a massive billion-dollar mixed-use project. Those plans unraveled earlier this year due to lack of financing. Abdo himself told The Post that he believes the site could be perfect for Wal-Mart given its location as a gateway to the city. "When you've got 80,000 cars that go by your front door, that's about as good as it gets from a retail perspective."
The news that Wal-Mart could be coming to DC has already (and predictably) stirred debate. Supporters argue that it will bring jobs and economic activity to the city, and offer a good retail alternative for lower-income residents in particular. They also point out that having a Wal-Mart within the District versus in nearby Virginia or Maryland will keep the revenue in the city. Detractors worry that it will worsen traffic at an already congested intersection. Many are also opposed to Wal-Mart on principle due to its reputation for poor treatment of employees and the harm it can do to local retailers.
There is one thing that both sides appear to agree on, however: Wal-Mart would be a more economic utilization of the land than the current tenants, which include a strip club and used auto parts shops.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/wal-mart_likely_coming_to_dc/2235
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