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The District’s first Walmart development is ahead of schedule. The complex at First and H streets NW—-the most “urban” of the six Walmart stores coming to town—-was initially scheduled to finish in February 2014; now, Walmart plans to start fitting out its interior space in May and is shooting for a Nov. 1 opening, says Rafael Muñiz, senior vice president of The JBG Companies, which is developing the site. People will start moving into the first floor of residential units above the store in August, with the three higher floors opening thereafter.
But it’s not there yet. I joined Muñiz and a couple of colleagues for a tour of the space.
Before we get to photos, a few notes. First, this is not your average Walmart. There is no giant surface parking lot. There’s a decent amount of natural light. It is, says JBG Rosenfeld Retail’s Ralph Bell, the first-ever full-service Walmart with residential units on top. It has a brick exterior to match the neighboring Government Printing Office. At 76,000 square feet, it’ll be smaller than your average Walmart. And 40 to 50 percent of it will be devoted to grocery and pharmacy, says Muñiz.
The building will have 373 parking spaces—-193 for Walmart customers, and 180 for residents. That’s not nothing, but it’s also not a suburban amount of parking. It comes out to 0.6 spaces per apartment unit and under 2.5 per thousand square feet of retail (versus the typical suburban retail ration of four spaces per thousand square feet, says Muñiz). There are also two bike parking cages in the garage.
There will also be other retail in the building, lining H Street on the ground floor and totaling about 10,000 square feet. Muñiz says he’s “not ready to announce names,” but the retail will include a combination of food uses and resident amenities like cleaners.
There will be 303 residential units on four stories, wrapping around two courtyards. About 85 percent of the apartments will be one-bedrooms, one-bedrooms with dens, and studios; the other 15 percent will be two-bedrooms. The one-bedrooms, at around 600 to 650 square feet, will rent for about $1,900 a month. But there are also 26 inclusionary zoning units, set aside for lower-income residents per city law.
So, without further ado, a virtual tour of the place. Click on the photo below to start the slideshow.