|Whole Foods Or Ross?|
|Written by Columbia Heights News|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2007|
Page 1 of 4
We apologize for the delay in providing an update on the Whole Foods situation. We regret even more that this latest update may be the least hopeful. The situation does not look good. And it looks even worse when you consider who the top contender for the space maybe now...you guessed it - Ross Dress For Less.
Ms. Riley informed us that the negotiations with DC USA developers have stagnated. In fact, Ms. Riley said she hadn't spoken with a representative from DC USA for many months now. She stated the primary reason for the impasse was the lack of dedicated parking. We asked her to provide an official statement from Whole Foods regarding its decision and a detailed explanation for why it was made. Unfortunately we are yet to receive such a statement. We would like to publish such a statement to bring some finality to the hundreds of community residents who demonstrated such strong support for Whole Foods.
To date, we have been copied on 332 emails that were sent to Ms. Riley by residents expressing support for Whole Foods. We wish that everyone could be privy to these emails and not just us and Whole Foods. Then you would get a sense of just how powerful our campaign was. But we are bound to protect everyone's privacy and guard your identities from spammers, telemarketers, and the like. Nearly every email was extremely heartfelt. We were amazed by the insight and persuasiveness of so many of them. We don't know how any retailer could, in its right mind, back out with the kind of support that this community has demonstrated. It is with our deepest regret to have to inform you of such a disappointing outcome after the valiant effort put forth by so many community members.
If there is anyone who wouldn't mind having your emails published here, please let us know. We can strip out any personal information that you may have included. In the mean time, you can get some sense of what residents have been writing to Whole Foods by reading some of the petition entries. As a last ditch effort, we will compile all the emails and petition entries into a single document and send it Whole Foods Chairman, John Mackey.
We hate to be bearers of such bad news so we thought we could provide a positive update on what other retailers have expressed interest in the space left behind by Whole Foods. But as we mentioned above, the news doesn't get any better. Last week we spoke with Peter Mallios of Newmark Knight Frank, the leasing firm for DC USA. Despite being very difficult to get a hold of, Mr. Mallios was very informative when we finally reached him. He confirmed our fears of Whole Foods backing out. The retail space that had been allocated for Whole Foods is 50,000 square feet which is nearly equally divided on two levels. Mallios stated that the space can now be cut to whatever size required by a prospective tenant. The current plan is to set aside one level and a half to Ross Dress for Less, and the remaining space to a furniture retailer (maybe La-Z-Boy).
Aside from a specialty grocer, we still feel that one thing that this community would be lacking is a good bookstore, whether it be independent (Olsson's, Kramerbooks, etc) or national (Borders, Barnes and Nobles, Books-A-Million, etc). Perhaps we can explore this or any other suggestions you may have.