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K Street Restaurant Sites For Lease


Joe H
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This afternoon we drove down K street from Washington Circle to Connecticut Avenue. I saw two locations with signs in the window noting they were for lease. One is next to the Prime Rib and the other a block or two further east. At the corner of Connecticut and L is a new office building under construction advertising 15,000 quare feet of retail available as well as the top four floors. I don't remember ever seeing several prime spots on K street in a several block area with signs in the window.

Is the industry softening? Or is this a comment on K street no longer being the prime spot that it once was?

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This afternoon we drove down K street from Washington Circle to Connecticut Avenue. I saw two locations with signs in the window noting they were for lease. One is next to the Prime Rib and the other a block or two further east. At the corner of Connecticut and L is a new office building under construction advertising 15,000 quare feet of retail available as well as the top four floors. I don't remember ever seeing several prime spots on K street in a several block area with signs in the window.

Is the industry softening? Or is this a comment on K street no longer being the prime spot that it once was?

I think maybe the latter. K Street was the "power address" back in the 80's& 90's, but I think today it's just another street in DC. There seems to be no shortage of restaurants opening up in DC, just not on K St.

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A lot of those building are also older and need renovating, closer into Farragut they just took down and rebuilt or refaced a ton of those buildings so things should be going back in those, I know my doctors office is on K in that area is probably moving soon so they can town down their building and re-do it.

I used to work at 17th and I and the amount of tear down and rebuild all around was just crazy, although the recession probably slowed a lot of those projects. The recession actually hitting lawyers probably didn't help all those places either, like Smith and Wollensky's.

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A large part of the problem in that area, I believe, is the lack of people in the evening. I used to stay in a hotel on K st fairly frequently (though further down, closer to McPherson Square). In the evenings, the area is fairly dead with not very much to draw people to the area. So for a restaurant to operate it has to stay afloat almost solely on lunch volume or be good enough to be a restaurant that people will go out of their way for (such as The Prime Rib). The true 'power restaurants' can sustain that as they'd be in the later category, but other places would have trouble I'd expect. I used to stop in at Restaurant Kolumbia fairly frequently in the evenings and ended up talking to Jamie quite a few times. The time or two that I asked him about evening volumes, his theory was pretty similar. The lack of people in the evenings made it tough to sustain (though that wasn't what ultimately causing the restaurant to close of course).

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So this comment is only 8 years out of date.  ;) (I was looking up the term lease in content titles for a different post).

By 2010, 2011, a number of very very very old leases in some of the buildings at roughly the corner of Ct and K had expired.   The owners of those buildings (actually they owned adjacent buildings,, knocked down the old buildings and built new.  Some of the former properties dated back to the 1950's or late 1950's.    (to rephrase what Mel Brooks once said--  "It's good to be the King of Connecticut and K.)

The more I thought about it and recalled old info I'm quite sure there was a lease in the old small 1700 K Street building that was both sizable and 50 years old at a crazy low price.  l bet the landlord/owner(s) waited it out and then rebuilt.  They also owned the building next door (much larger).   The same owner were partners in the building at the NW corner of Connecticut and K which was built around the same time (circa 1959).   It was quite possible they may have also negotiated  a lease or two like that to get tenant(s) to move in.    More than anything I bet those old leases finally ending were the reason for that construction at that time.

Some other comments.  

By 2010 or so, much of the downtownish activity in DC had moved from the Connecticut and K  area, the old 19th street retail restaurant strip and M Street from Connecticut to about 21st street, to the East Side of town with all those newer office buildings and better more attractive retail and restaurant draws.   The hot spots of retail had moved.

As to signs:   A landlord should put up for lease signs ASAP imho.   The landlord is doing other things to also attract retail tenants.   The more interest the landlord generates the higher the rent and the better the tenant (at least theoretically).

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