Help Bring Whole Foods Market To Columbia Heights!
Would you like Whole Foods Market to come to Columbia Heights? You can join our campaign to bring Whole Foods Market to the DC USA retail complex! The best way for you to voice your support for Whole Foods is to email Karen Riley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Karen Riley is the real estate coordinator for Whole Foods Market. She can demonstrate the level of our support directly to the Whole Foods team working on the negotiations. Please be as descriptive as you can in your emails. Please also cc or bcc your emails to Ms. Riley to us at email@example.com. We need to keep a running tally of how many messages have been sent to Whole Foods Market so we can gage how much more work we need to do. The more people who can email Whole Foods Market the more powerful our collective voices will be! It looks like we are facing an uphill battle but as a community we can make a difference! Please spread the word!
As we mentioned in our last post, we had some email correspondences with Robert L. Moore, the president of Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH). Again, DCCH is one of the development partners of DC USA. We really appreciate Mr. Moore for taking the time to provide us with some insight into this situation with bringing Whole Foods Market into the DC USA retail center. We thank Mr. Moore for allowing us to publish his words. First here is the email we sent to Mr. Moore last Friday, January 13, 2006:
Dear Mr. Robert L. Moore: Can you tell us if Whole Foods will be coming to your DC USA development? We have heard very conflicting information on whether they are coming or not. We spoke with Marc Katz, a leasing agent for H & R Retail who is representing Whole Foods Market. Mr. Katz told us that all bets were off for the following reasons:
- The DC USA space designated for Whole Foods is 35,000 sq. ft. where Whole Foods would like to have 60,000 sq. ft.
- Whole Foods would like dedicated parking in the garage but this can't be done because DC government will own and operate the garage.
We have spoken with other representatives from Grid Properties and Newmark Knight Frank who say that the deal is still under negotiation.
Can you please shed some light on this situation? An overwhelming number of Columbia Heights residents would love to see Whole Foods at the DC USA and would love to help with the effort. We can put together a petition to send to Whole Foods Market corporate. But we need to find out if it would be worth the effort. Is there still some hope or is the deal completely off the table?
Details From DCCH
Mr. Moore responded with the following message:
The DCUSA partnership set aside 53,000 sq. ft. for Whole Foods. This is the amount of space requested by Whole Foods in their letter of intent. The major issue appears to be dedicated parking requested to be slotted singularly for Whole Foods. The parking facility will be owned by DC NCRC and they can not dedicate sole use of parking spaces in a publicly owned facility. DCUSA is in a complicated closing (involving three commercial condos, publicly financed parking, zoning requirements, building permit issuance, and traffic requirements for ingress and egress during construction, and temporary air space use agreements for construction cranes and underpinning - tieback agreements for execution by nearby building owners (including old Bell school).
My discussion with our DCUSA partners indicates that they will go back to Whole Foods to see if the parking issue can be resolved after closing. We clearly want Whole Foods as part of the project. The deal remains in play if we can minimize concern that there is an overwhelming need for dedicated parking in a 1000 space parking facility and in a community in which many residents will walk to the Whole Foods store.
Of course a petition to Corporate can help if we can impress upon them that many of their customers will walk to make purchases. Be assured that DCUSA is still actively courting Whole Foods as a tenant.
Robert L. Moore
53,000 Square Feet?
We were particularly interested in the new figure of 53,000 sq. ft. of retail space that the DC USA Partnership has set aside for Whole Foods Market according to Mr. Moore. There's a major discrepancy in that figure versus the 35,000 sq. ft. quoted by both Karen Riley, the real estate coordinator for Whole Foods Market, and Marc Katz, the leasing agent from H & R Retail, Inc. representing Whole Foods Market. We expressed this concern to Mr. Moore. In response, Mr. Moore wrote that he had just spoken with the other DC USA partners and confirmed that 53,000 sq. ft. is the amount of retail space that is being offered. According to Mr. Moore, the space being offered to Whole Foods Market is on two floors on the Irving Street side of the DC USA project.
We also asked Mr. Moore to provide us with some more insight into the parking situation. Because the parking would be owned by the DC government, we thought some kind of arrangement could be made with Whole Foods Market so that it could lease the appropriate number of parking spaces directly from the City. In response, Mr. Moore stated the following facts about DC USA's parking:
The developers of the DC USA Partnership do not have much influence over NCRC and have no decision making authority on this matter.
The lack of dedicated parking at the DC USA complex for Whole Foods Market is an issue that keeps coming up time and time again. We urge you to contact NCRC and express your support for Whole Foods Market and their need for some parking at the DC USA. Again, Karen Riley, informed us that they would only need 40-45 spaces to accommodate their employees and customers who must drive to get to Whole Foods. We are unable to confirm which email address you can use to contact NCRC. We will let you know as soon as we do. In the meantime, here is the contact information that NCRC provides on their website:
2025 M Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036
Mr. Moore fully supports our efforts to demonstrate to Whole Foods Market just how much we want them to come to Columbia Heights. Again, we urge you to continue emailing Ms. Riley at
and cc or bcc us at
so we can keep count. For those who will be primarily walking to Whole Foods Market if it were to come to the DC USA, please stress this point to Ms. Riley. You guys have been doing a great job so far. But we need to work harder in getting the word out. For those who have access, please inform those on the Columbia Heights , Mt. Pleasant , Petworth , and other neighborhood Yahoo! Group sites as you deem appropriate. Talk about it with your friends, family, coworkers, organizations, etc. We will keep you updated on any additional information that comes our way. If you have some relevant information that you would like to share with us, please contact us. Thank you for your efforts. Again please keep in mind the tremendous effort that the Logan Circle community put forth to bring Whole Foods Market to its neighborhood:
"[Fresh Fields] began eyeing a site on the corner of V and 13th streets NW. But when a group of Logan Circle citizens. . .learned of Fresh Fields' interest, they launched a campaign to persuade the company to consider P Street instead. The group produced a 52-page demographic study that showed the 1997 market price of a home within half a mile of the P Street site was $342,000. It flooded Whole Foods' headquarters in Austin, Tex., with more than 3,000 written pleas."