Last week Wal-Mart broke the news that they plan four stores in DC
. I've been researching the proposals and have been writing a series of articles about their urban design. Here are the first three of those articles (the 4th is yet to come):
Will Wal-Mart be urban? Part 1: Brightwood
Will Wal-Mart be urban? Part 2: New York Avenue
Will Wal-Mart be urban? Part 3: H Street
The most interesting of the 4 is the one on H Street, which I think may be the most well-designed new urban big box in America. Here is a rendering:
Click here for a much larger version
This will be a new building. It will be mixed-use, with 315 apartments above the retail. Parking is underground, and small-format retail lines H Street, which is an important retail street. The Wal-Mart has a big entrance at the corner, but is otherwise tucked behind into the interior of the building.
The location is, frankly, fantastic. It's in the middle of a small dead zone along H Street between Chinatown, Union Station, and the Near Northeast. By adding a big destination on this block, several disparate retail districts will come together as a single, larger, whole.