We at Capital Retail Group will be featuring different neighborhoods in Washington D.C. for the next several months in addition to other ongoing blogging. Our intent is to give an overview of each neighborhood with an emphasis on the retail community.
NoMa: Leading the Way
NoMa stands for the area North of Massachusetts Avenue and is located just north of Capitol Hill and Union Station. Union Station features 130 shops and restaurants, and more than 32 million visitors pass through the station each year. In addition to the Metrorail stop at Union Station, NoMa is also home to the New York Avenue Metrorail Station, the third-fastest growing station in the Metrorail system. This station opened five years ago and now hosts more than 10,000 daily riders. For cyclists, the 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail runs from Silver Spring through NoMa; it is slated for completion in just a few months. In addition to public transit and biking, more than 87,600 vehicles travel daily on New York Avenue, a major thoroughfare bordering NoMa.
Neighborhood Blog – NoMa was formerly home to Irish and Italian working-class immigrants. When Union Station was built in 1908, the neighborhood was largely cleared out and became an industrial shipping yard. For decades, the area was neglected. Now, with the creation of the new Metro station and billions in private investment, NoMa is becoming a walkable, vibrant neighborhood. Fifteen million square feet of mixed-use development is planned over the next 15 years, and five million square feet have already been completed or are currently under construction. NoMa already boasts a mix of private and government tenants such as NPR, Sierra Club, YWCA, CNN, and Kaiser Permanente. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice will be consolidating several offices into Constitution Square by July 2010.
The General Services Administration recently announced two large leases in NoMa. In a 288,255 square foot lease, GSA will be relocating over 1,200 workers from its headquarters to One Constitution Square while their headquarters at 1800 F Street, NW, is upgraded to meet federal green design standards over the next five to seven years. In addition, GSA just signed a 167,000 square foot lease for the IRS at 77 K Street, NE, a new property owned by Brookfield Properties.
With these lease announcements, NoMa has seen more than 1 million square feet of space leased in 2009 alone.
Besides just office tenants, NoMa is leading the way in both the size and number of sustainably designed mixed use properties.
There are currently 20 LEED buildings and 1,200 hotel rooms planned for the neighborhood, and many more retailers on the way.
Pound Coffee was NoMa’s first new retailer in decades; the popular independent coffee joint was followed by Au Bon Pain, Five Guys, Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, Sister’s Mussels & Pizza, and a variety of other small shops and delis.
To really kick off the retail swarm to NoMa, Harris Teeter will open a 50,000 square foot full-service grocery store in fall 2010, just as NoMa’s first three residential projects (with more than 1,200 units) begin leasing in the summer.
Current retailers looking to open in NoMa include: 7 Eleven; Potbelly; Subway; TD Bank; Tynan Coffee & Tea; Georgetown Valet; Cosmo Café; T Mobile; as well as a cupcake shop and newsstand. Café Phillips, signed a lease and will be opening at 77 K street NE in early 2010.
In addition to these new tenants, NoMa is growing into a vibrant neighborhood with public art, an annual movie series for residents, and more events planned in 2010. For more information on NoMa, visit www.nomabid.org.