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Walmart Coming to Brightwood

The Brightwood Walmart is coming to Georgia Avenue, NW in Ward 4 near Missouri Avenue.  It will be the first Walmart to open in the District.  The development project began in September 2011, but has been plagued by delays from various opponents.

The new Brightwood Walmart development sits on the site of the former Curtis Chevrolet dealership. After demolition began, residents sought protected status for the site from the Historic Preservation Board.  But development continued after the application was denied.

In February, Occupy DC and Respect DC teamed up to stage a demonstration at the Brightwood Walmart construction site.  The protest prevented some crews from entering the construction site that day, but did not end the project.

Even after the building permit was issued in June, opponents filed another appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustment in August, which was dismissed in October.  The appellants claim that the Brightwood Walmart permit violates the Comprehensive Plan for East of Rock Creek Park and Upper Georgia Avenue, which call for mixed-use and pedestrian-oriented development.

Opponents also believe that the new Walmart is bad for existing local businesses.  The addition of a grocery store in the Brightwood Walmart would be overkill for an area that already has enough supermarkets.  They also claim that the big box retailer would destroy small businesses in the neighborhood.

The August appeal also disputes the assertion that the Brightwood Walmart will increase jobs or tax revenues for the District.  Instead, the opponents believe that the new store will create a loss of revenue at nearby stores, so there will be no overall increase for the city.

On the other hand, the developer believes that the repeated appeals are merely an effort to delay the Brightwood Walmart.  The developer contends that the opponents represent a few special interests and not a majority of residents, who are interested in new fresh food options and jobs.

The Brightwood Walmart will provide a parking garage on the lower level with over 300 parking spaces and a 106,000-square-foot building on the upper level.  By the end of 2013, be on the lookout for the new Brightwood Walmart.

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