The proposed Fort Totten Wal-Mart

Lydia DePillis takes note of the schmancy-looking surprise Walmarts opening up in the District:

From a local perspective, one of my biggest qualms about Walmart is what the mega-retailer could do neighborhoods: Can a big-box store integrate well with its surroundings, creating walkable places where other kinds of small businesses can thrive? The District’s experience with other chain-centric developments, like Home Depot in Brentwood, has been rather terrible. And we’re still building suburban-style strip malls on D.C.’s increasingly precious land, both with Walmarts and without them—the Shops at Dakota Crossing, the Point at Arboretum, the Georgia Avenue Walmart, and the Walmart at Capitol Gateway will all be one or two story single-use buildings, and most with large areas of surface parking.

But it’s hard to have much of a problem with JBG’s Walmart development on New Jersey Avenue, which has all the right elements as far as urban development is concerned: Decent architecture, apartments on the upper floors, smaller stores fronting the street. And fortunately, Walmart’s fourth and fifth stores—both at 120,000 square feet—are more in that vein.

Read the rest at Housing Complex.