Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Box Land Rush

Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending a great deal of time focusing on the retail environment just outside the Washington beltway in both Virginia and Maryland. We are tasked with finding strong retail sites for Bob’s Discount Furniture, a New England based home furniture chain that is expanding into the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. market. Our prime candidates are empty big box stores (30,000 square feet plus).

As I previously posted, we have limited choices and some real competition. Hhgregg has already leased virtually every vacant Circuit City store in Northern Virginia. They recently leased the former Circuit City store at Arundel Mills and I expect they’ll soon pop up in Columbia too. They’ve had a few months jump on us.

There are other new furniture chains out there as well. Room and Board, a Minneapolis based chain recently leased distribution space in the Troy Hill Commerce Center to support new stores in the region. Their first store will be at 14th and T Street in downtown DC.

The hottest retail development around the Beltway is Woodmore Town Centre at Glenarden. The 245 acre mixed use development with almost 800,000 square feet of retail including Wegmans, Costco, Best Buy, and JC Penney. There are no other big box spaces available.

In Columbia, a portion of the former Expo Design Center at Columbia Crossing II has been leased to Baby’s R Us, and there are a couple of large tenants circling the former Comp USA space in Columbia Crossing across the street.

That retail corridor along 175 between Snowden River Parkway and Dobbin Road still has my vote for one of the most ill designed shopping areas in the region.


Alan said...

How about that big Sears empty warehouse.

Freemarket said...

Interesting. One of the 2010 predictions I kept hearing about was a commercial real estate crash. I guess that's unlikely to occur (at least around here).

Babies R Us in the former Expo building? Yay.

wordbones said...


That building was leased last year.


Anonymous said...

WB, spot on in your observations. You are a pro at this.

Looking down the road ten, twenty, thirty years, what do you see?

Particularly, how do you see the ICC changing the balance of...retail influence?

And then there's BRAC.

Tim said...

I've wanted a Baby's R Us in Columbia for a while now. Any idea when it will open?

Bob O said...

Posting as myself. ICC. BRAC. What do you...anticipate?

John G. Boyle said...

Dang. When we heard someone say that "Babies R Us" was coming to Columbia, my wife guessed the Expo site, but I thought that the CompUSA site was the more likely bet. Guess I'm getting crow for dinner tonight...