So, over a year ago I pooh-poohed a rumor that a Trader Joe’s was nosing around near 14th and U streets NW. Well, I’ve since heard from a very good source that Trader Joe’s is, in fact, headed for the massive new development just getting underway on the intersection’s southwest corner: The project formerly known as Utopia, which will include 267 apartment units above 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail. No leases have been signed yet, so neither JBG nor Trader Joe’s would comment. Councilmember Jack Evans‘ staff hadn’t heard about it, and neither had the local advisory neighborhood commissioner.
But nobody told me no. And it makes all the sense in the world. Trader Joe’s only needs between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet, on “high-traffic community strips,” according to a checklist passed on to me by a development consultant. Their only other D.C. location in Foggy Bottom has absurd checkout lines. Other than Best DC Supermarket on 15th, and the nichey Yes! Organic Market at 14th and V, there are no grocers in that immediate area. And the surrounding community has very high income and education levels, which are the main demographic characteristics Trader Joe’s looks for in a new location.
So consider that a solid bet. If I’m wrong, I’ll shop at Walmart for a month.