Seems like everything is in transition right now, Georgetown included.
Though some businesses — like Martin’s Tavern and Georgetown Tobacco — have become iconic Georgetown brands that everyone needs to visit, some businesses will shudder or retire (as did Appalachian Spring and Unum) and others make their entrance, more and more often as pop-up shops.
The demographics of Georgetown are changing, and so are the services in demand. Here are five broad predictions for 2018.
The business environment in Georgetown will keep on improving in 2018. Yes, there have been some disappointing closures, but there has also been renewal. Consider Thor Equities’ Latham Hotel reconstruction, which is moving along and attracting other investors to the block.
There is the added support from the Georgetown Business Improvement District, the Georgetown Business Association and the newly funded Georgetown Main Street.
While there is serious new competition for Georgetown’s restaurants and shops from other parts of redeveloping Washington, D.C., “Georgetown’s advantage is to continue to be a unique destination,” one restaurateur told The Georgetowner. “We will draw visitors and locals alike to Georgetown because of our world-renowned charm and historic places. We need to offer unique experiences to be that destination place.” Expect more Classic Georgetown destination events — perhaps along the lines of the Georgetown House Tour. Here is where Georgetowners need to get creative.
Georgetown has evolved into a family town of professional working millennials, 40- somethings with small children, well-off empty-nesters and international professionals. They are multinationals who prefer the green, urban, engaged lifestyle: walkable neighborhoods near to shops, markets, restaurants, parks, bike paths, museums, think tanks, the river, historic sites, cafes and nonprofit volunteer opportunities and events. The challenge for developers and architects is how to address this diverse population within the footprint of tightly spaced homes and properties.
As parking and driving space becomes more restricted, Georgetown’s highly engaged population is increasingly taking to transportation alternatives outside of private cars, the Circulator and Metro (buses and rail). Not only will Uber and Lyft ridership grow in 2018, but so will another form of transportation: bikes. In addition to privately owned bicycles and the red Capital Bikeshare bicycles operated by the city from docking stations, Georgetown is becoming a preferred destination of dockless bicycles, controlled by companies that depend on GPS and apps to monitor their businesses. Come spring, expect Georgetown to be filled with the green, blue, yellow, red and multicolored dockless ride- and-drop-off-anywhere bikes.
With an increasingly age-diverse population, Georgetown will see more growth in services and facilities for families and seniors. Public schools, parks and senior-citizen organizations like Georgetown Village and Georgetown Senior Center — part of the “aging in place” or “aging in the community” movement — are definitely about to boom. This will also support the expansion of home-delivery services, the vehicles of which will come to clog more Georgetown streets more frequently.
The working world is changing, perhaps fastest of all, because of the internet and robots. But people are social creatures and the human touch is irreplaceable. Job counselors now tell high school students and midlife career-changers to choose a field that cannot be done by a robot or be “Amazonized.” Creative tasks remain that require human intuition and relationship building — jobs safe from robots, according to experts. These include service jobs, especially in the health, teaching, social and law-enforcement fields. In Georgetown, personal attention, friendliness, flexibility and personal customer knowledge have kept — and will keep — wonderful little stores in business for decades.