- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2003

The vacant Hechinger building at 4500 Wisconsin Ave. in Northwest is about to get some new life.
The historic location, which has been closed since the hardware chain shut in 1999, is being transformed into a new retail space with several tenants, residential units and plenty of parking.
So far, two major retailers Best Buy and the Container Store have signed on, taking up about 71,000 square feet of space combined. The property's developers are still in search of a hardware store to fit into 12,000 square feet underground and a small service-oriented retailer, like a bank, on the street level.
The $95 million project, which is located near the Tenleytown Metro stop, is being developed jointly by the property's owners, Roadside Development and Madison Marquette.
"This represents an entire city block that's really been a blank wall," says Richard Lake, a partner at Roadside Development and managing principal at Madison Retail Group, the leasing agent for the property. "It will generate an enormous amount of sales-tax dollars. [Residents] will shop at home, and the sales-tax dollars will be reinvested in the city."
The building, on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and River Road, housed Sears, Roebuck and Co. for 52 years before Hechinger took over the space in 1995.
Because the 186,000-square-foot building is historic, the developers are limited in what they can renovate or demolish making it more difficult to find retailers that will fit into the space.
The location originally was going to be transformed into a 160,000-square-foot Home Depot, but because of space restrictions, that deal fell through. The developers decided to rethink their plan. Now, instead of having just one massive retailer, the property will include several retail tenants and have enough room for a residential component.
The site will have 209 residential units above the retail space and 320 new parking spaces.
The 45,000-square-foot Best Buy, slated to open in the fall, is part of the electronics superstore's urban expansion plan.
"We're really dedicated to bringing the [Best Buy] experience to urban areas," says Jenny Bohuslavsky, a Best Buy spokeswoman. The new store, which will have 125 to 150 employees, is the company's first in the District.
In addition, Best Buy also plans to open one store in Tysons Corner in the spring and another location in Waldorf, Md., this summer.
In other news
Archives, the new fine-dining kosher restaurant in the District, has closed temporarily to finish renovations and upgrades to its location. The restaurant had a "soft opening" in mid-December but closed its doors last week. It will reopen in early spring. After feedback from customers and requests for private dining areas, the restaurant, located at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. in Northwest, will expand its kosher menu and create a 2,400-square-foot private dining room to accommodate 50 diners.
Stacks, the New York-style kosher deli located next to Archives, will remain open.
Target, Kohl's and Shoppers Food Warehouse are expected to open later this year at the new Stafford Marketplace in Stafford, Va. The three retailers will take up about 284,000 square feet combined of the 720,000-square-foot center. H&R; Retail handled the transactions on behalf of the McLean-based Pence-Friedel Developers Inc., which owns the shopping center. The center will have other big-box retailers, specialty stores and restaurants.
A new Home Depot store opened in Manassas last week. The 95,000-square-foot store will have about 140 employees.
Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.

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