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Must be lease-losing time in the District: Both 14th Street fixture Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot and the M Street Barnes and Noble in Georgetown are on the way out. Pixie Windsor broke the news to Harry Jaffe in this morning’s Examiner, and Topher Mathews passed on the bookstore bit from an anonymous source, which I’ve just confirmed with B&N HQ. They’ll be out by the end of the year.
The relationship between an independent furniture store and a giant corporate chain may not be immediately obvious. But it’s there: While I don’t share Jaffe’s weepy nostalgia for used car lots and chain link fences, Windsor is a big champion of local retail in the increasingly upscale corridor, playing a big part in the yearly MidCity Dog Days event and serving as something as a neighborhood hub underneath MidCity Caffe. Last year, she said sales were good, so it must have been a big rent hike that forced her to leave.
Barnes and Noble isn’t local. But it’s one of the only large, welcoming “public” feeling indoor spaces in Georgetown, a refuge from the heat, the cold, the sometimes overwhelming hustle and bustle of M Street. Of course, being a hangout place doesn’t pay the bills. But Barnes and Noble was supposed to be the smart large book retailer. So whomever the landlord is working with to take over the space, they’ll likely be paying serious cash (Mathews is hearing $65 a square foot, which certainly isn’t out of line for Georgetown).
In any case, a sad day for two D.C. neighborhoods.
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m. – Just noticed DCist’s update, in which Windsor says she’s looking for space in her old neighborhood of Adams Morgan as well as Bloomingdale. According to reporter Aaron Morrissey, Windsor also said her landlord was looking to quadruple the rent to $80 per square foot, which is pretty astronomical for that area—-although $20 per square foot is lower than you’ll find most anywhere as well.