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Will Anyone Want To Be Next To Walmart?

JBGR's Walmart/residential development at Fort Totten Square—a 105k SF Walmart below 300 apartments—is about to finish construction. Will the anchor be enough to draw today’s picky retailers? (Maybe nobody wants a falling price to land on them.)

"Retailers are much more selective than they used to be. Most are in attrition mode," says Grant Ehat (here, celebrating Holi in India), who initiates most retail development projects affiliated with the the 50-year-old firm. He works with two managing partners, Jim Garabaldi and​ Rob Rosenfeld.

His team went with Walmart, which was experimenting with structured parking and flexibility with smaller floor plates. In 2014, the firm developed the first Walmart-anchored mixed-use concept in North America at 77H 1st and H NW, here in DC​. JBGR has been shifting its focus from new development to repositioning existing retail and sourcing unique urban retail opportunities in under-retailed, transitioning DC neighborhoods.

Here's a rendering of Fort Totten Square. (One day we hope our shrubs match the ones we see in every rendering.) JBGR is also responsible for a small-format 80k SF Walmart at Tysons, with the aforementioned structured parking adjacent to the store ​and a health club, ​plus an additional office building, ​which was put in place ​to screen the parking. This one is still in the works, much like Tysons itself, and Grant tells us multiple phases of office, multifamily and retail are coming soon.

Out in the 'burbs, JBGR just sold a Gathersburg, MD, project consisting of a 260k SF lifestyle center, anchored by Harris Teeter with an LA Fitness, Old Town Pour House and a Ruth's Chris (rendered). It went for $630/SF, a “very aggressive price for suburban Montgomery County," says Grant. 

Retailers are more selective about opening stores in general. More business is just being done online,” Grant says. Yet, there is hope: online retailer Frontgate is opening one of its first brick-and-mortar stores at JBGR's foray into King of Prussia (pictured), where the firm is repositioning a 260k SF lifestyle center that also includes an REI and an LA Fitness.

We’re excited that JBGR has joined us as a Founding Partner of the Bisnow Beltway Bash on May 18, which we’re holding during ICSC’s annual expo in Las Vegas. You can join us.