Bloomie’s to bring ‘SoHo’ to M Street

Originally posted in The Georgetown Current on Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Written by Carol Buckley, Staff Writer

Macy’s Inc., the owner of the Bloomingdale’s department store chain, announced last Wednesday that a “SoHo concept” version of Bloomingdale’s will open at the revamped Georgetown Park retail complex in August 2011.

The D.C. store, the company noted in a news release, will be only the second of its type outside Manhattan. Ben Miller, the developer of Georgetown Park, said last week that the then unannounced department store would “provide an anchor” for the other shops in the complex.

Bloomingdale’s spokesperson Sharon Bateman said that D.C. shoppers will not get a replica of the four-year old New York store. Rather, the new Bloomingdale’s will offer a “merchandise mix tailored to D,C. and to Georgetown.”

Still uncertain is the city’s level of involvement in the project. When developers were courting department store Nordstrom last year, officials were prepared to offer at least $20 million in subsidies to the retail giant.

City spokesperson Sean Madigan wrote in an e-mail to The Current that no discussions have taken place yet about a financing package for Bloomingdale’s.

Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans was involved in last year’s negotiations with Nordstrom but would not comment on whether similar financial incentives should be offered to Bloomingdale’s. “We’ll have to see what happens.” Evans said. He added that the announcement was a welcome one. “It’ll be a great addition there,” he said.

Doug Smith. executive director of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by last week’s announcement.

“It’s great that a store of that national prominence is looking at our marketplace as a place to do business,” said Smith.

The Manhattan store offers clothing from designers that typically appeal to younger shoppers: Zac Posen, John Varvatos and Rock Republic, among others.

The Georgetown store will not necessarily focus on that demographic, said Bateman. The Georgetown store, like the one in Sotto, will have a smaller footprint than the traditional Bloomingdale’s found else wherein the Washington area. Those stores, said Bateman, typically range from 150,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. The Georgetown store will be 82,000 square feet.

Space constraints demand that some departments be left out. In the Georgetown Park Bloomingdale’s, there will be no children’s department or home department.

The result said Bateman, is a “tightly edited” mix that will suit the store’s spruced-up home:  “The developers are looking at Georgetown Park as an urban fashion destination,” Bateman said.