Thursday, July 07, 2016
Target opening in Bethesda (Photo)
Flexible-format stores can fit in urban areas, and also skirt anti-business regulations like Montgomery County has that prevent certain big box stores like Walmart from expanding here. Walmart has a similar urban-scale design, their Tysons location being an example.
The 35,500 SF Bethesda Target store will carry apparel for all ages, toys, sporting goods, fresh and "grab-and-go" groceries, health and beauty products, home decor items, portable tech devices and even a CVS-branded pharmacy. Essentially, it sounds like it is well-geared to downtown apartment and condo dwellers who need groceries, prescriptions, or a new table lamp on short notice.
Opening day is currently expected to be March 2017.
Target's announcement raises some interesting issues. First, the parking garage at this shopping center is notoriously unpleasant to deal with. But it's likely that, as with anchor Trader Joe's, the diehard Target shopper is going to go ahead and deal with it. Owner Douglas Development has been renovating the center for several years, but new parking has not been part of that project. Douglas has not responded to inquiries as of this writing.
Second, is competition. A new Trader Joe's is the anchor tenant for JBG's stalled 7900 Wisconsin project. Until that project is delivered, Target groceries will be serious competition for general grocery items at Trader Joe's upstairs. And CVS has a pharmacy directly across the street. Why go there, if you can kill two birds with one stone at Target?
Now that Target is entering the market, maybe Walmart will wake up and open one of its urban format stores in a new or existing development in downtown Bethesda.
Rendering courtesy Target
Photo: Robert Dyer