Early Briefing: A New Bloomie's and Safeway
*Bloomingdale's announced plans to open a store in the Shops at Georgetown Park in the next three years, providing a boost to a shopping center that had become overshadowed by its trendier neighbors. The high-end retail chain, which is owned by Macy's, said the three-level, 82,000-square-foot store is expected to be completed in August 2011. It will be modeled after Bloomie's concept store in New York's SoHo neighborhood.
"Georgetown Park really needs a shot in the arm of having a great anchor," said Herbert S. Miller of Western Development, which owns the property and negotiated the deal. "We have a chance ... to turn it into the highest fashion and trend center in the whole Washington area."
*Safeway is planning to open a 58,000-square-foot grocery store in downtown Washington tomorrow, the only full-service supermarket in that neighborhood and the first store that the company has built in the District in 11 years. The store is on the ground floor of the new CityVista complex at 5th Street and New York Avenue NW, a roughly $250 million project with 685 condominium and apartment units and 120,000 square feet of retail. Nearly 150 condos have been sold, and leasing of the apartments will begin within the next two months, said Amy Adams, vice president of developer Lowe Enterprises.
*As part of an effort to pare $1.1 billion in transportation spending, Maryland officials announced cuts to several Washington area projects intended to curb congestion and accommodate military growth, as well as to planning funds for possible light rail lines.
Cuts included about one-third of the $45.3 million in funding for intersection improvements around the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center; a similar share of $47.9 million for improvements around Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County; about $25 million for engineering work for the Purple Line, a proposed light rail or rapid-bus link between Bethesda and New Carrollton; $42.5 million in engineering work for the Corridor Cities Transitway, a proposed light rail or rapid-bus link in Montgomery County's Interstate 270 corridor; and almost $60 million for a second round of road improvements aimed at reducing congestion around the Branch Avenue Metro station in Prince George's County.
*With the government's seizure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Sunday, the federal regulator who oversaw the mortgage giants during their long descent is now in charge of restoring them to financial health. In the months before the takeover, James B. Lockhart III repeatedly assured investors that the mortgage giants were financially sound.
He eventually came to a different conclusion, deciding the companies were in perilous shape and would pose a major risk to financial markets if the government did not intervene. In an interview, Lockhart said he was "obviously wrong" about his assessment in March. As the director of the newly created Federal Housing Finance Agency, he now finds himself in full control of the companies and facing many of the same challenges that brought Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac down -- along with a few new ones.
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Posted by: Tom Paine | September 15, 2008 12:01 AM
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