Georgetown Gap’s Closing Leaves Huge Gap 

There will be a big vacant space on Georgetown’s main avenue, come the new year — and it comes as not quite a surprise. The Gap store at 1258 Wisconsin Ave. NW has been quietly looking to leave for a few years.

The clothing retailer has been operating out of a huge historic building — Forrest Hall, built in 1851. An assembly hall, it was used during the Civil War for offices and a prison. Mark Twain spoke there. It was the site of many community meetings.

The building is 16,266 square feet divided over four levels, as the Washington Business Journal observed in October 2019: “Is Georgetown even Georgetown without a Gap? The neighborhood could soon find out. The retailer’s store is being marketed for lease, according to Dochter & Alexander Retail Advisors, which represents Gap in the market.…The space cannot be divided, so the sublease would be for the store’s entire footprint. If someone does sublease the store, Gap would close. Dochter said the consideration of a sublease isn’t a reflection on the strength of the Georgetown market, but rather, a change in Gap’s approach to its stores. ‘It’s too large for what they’re currently doing now,’ Dochter said.” 

Billy Martin, owner of Martin’s Tavern, next to the Gap store, told The Georgetowner, “Georgetown has been going through a transition phrase due to covid. This will be another vacancy among vacancies. But, hey, I hopeful. Our corner at Wisconsin and N will be a pretty nice corner soon. There’s us, Foxtrot — along with Pressed and Digg coming. That big space likely requires a big, national chain, but I’d like to see something higher end.”

So, the Gap Inc. North America Store Fleet Transformation has hit Washington: “As we adapt to the current market conditions and meet the increase in online demand, we are looking thoughtfully at our real estate to support the best path forward. In October 2020, we shared that we plan to close approximately 350 of Gap and Banana Republic stores across North America by the end of 2023, with the goal of having a smaller and healthier fleet of stores.”

Nearby in Old Town Alexandria, the Gap Outlet and Banana Republic, owned by Gap, at the corner of King and Washington streets will also close in January. While these parts of the Gap empire underperform, its Athleta and Old Navy brands are increasing in market share. 

What’s to come? Could the Banana Republic at Wisconsin Avenue and M Street be far behind?


One comment on “Georgetown Gap’s Closing Leaves Huge Gap ”

  • The Gap CEO announced today she is stepping down on 7 13 21. This looks like the trend of things to come, with a 9.1 percent recession. If President Biden would take heed, he should back track out of the Ukraine offensive and put the monies spent on the Ukraine into a stimulus and bailout, pay off mortgage debt and rental evictions rehousing homeless Americans, and reduce interest rates which will stave off inflation.
    Maybe the Gap should consider production in the US, like in Manhattan, Kansas, with the LGWU, which recently closed its factories. Could those same workers be used to produce Gap clothes for their Indonesia/China/Vietnam production staff? Could these foreign workers be permitted to work in the US or US workers trained to sew garments? USA jobs? Cheap labor = higher prices. Domestic labor = US jobs and stable prices.
    Maybe Gap should maintain it’s flagship stores in NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Maine, NC and reopen DC and use its internet sales from production. The vacantvspave is needed to attract retail and consumers who to purchase. Many people come to Georgetown looking for Gap and leave empty handed but ready to purchase. Restoration Hardware is now a convenience store! What of garment and home furnishing retail on a median price scale?

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