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Monday, August 26, 2019
Tenleytown Target construction looks ahead of schedule (Photos)
Will Target be the new CVS? After opening a number of smaller, urban-format stores - including the new one in downtown Bethesda, the retail giant is preparing to open a full-size location at CityLine, at 4500 Wisconsin Avenue in 2020. But as you can see here, the construction appears to be ahead-of-schedule, with the interior shell, lighting, and a good amount of flooring nearly complete. No signage has been installed yet, and there are obviously a lot of shelves, counters and massive inventories to be brought in.
This location, as longtime residents of Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Northwest Washington know, is one of the most historic department store sites in town. It was originally the first Sears Roebuck in Washington, D.C. when it opened on October 2, 1941. The parking structure was a marvel of engineering itself, and a heck of place to be when the nearby Civil Defense siren was tested Wednesdays during the Cold War. Only the rear pick-up at Toys R Us in Rockville, or underground pick-up at Montgomery Ward at Wheaton Plaza, could match the excitement heading down into the interior tunnel at Sears to pick up an oversize purchase.
The Tenleytown Sears, at the intersection of River Road and Wisconsin Avenue, was the Sears of choice of most Bethesdans in those days. In more recent years, Sears closed in the 1990s, and the structure was converted into a luxury residential development with retail below. Alas, the grand parking structure was lost, replaced by a new garage when Best Buy took over the 46000 SF that was left of Sears, with the rest going to housing and other retailers. When this was Best Buy, the garage was fine, but it used to try to close before Best Buy did. Not a way to encourage repeat business, to threaten to lock your car in for the night.
Alas, most of the great aspects of the legendary department stores, including Woodward & Lothrop in Chevy Chase, White Flint Mall's original anchors, and the old Tenleytown Sears, will be unknown to future generations. Target is quite pale by comparison, but it's what we've got left. And of course, it has groceries, and sometimes pharmacies, which department stores virtually never did years ago.