How to Approach Entering the D.C. Market for the First Time

04/01/2019

As one of the most mature and booming markets in the United States, Washington, D.C. is a major metropolitan region to tap into for its highly educated, high-income consumer base.  With office vacancy rates hovering around 11%*, low unemployment rates, and a slew of major corporations, such as Capital One, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, soon-to-be Amazon and more, this is an obvious choice for any restauranteur or retailer to consider when mulling over the jump into a new market.  We asked some of our brokers their advice to retail clients deciding to head to the nation’s capital:

Christian Kingston: “Have your own concept.  There is a lot of competition in this market – everyone wants to be here and most are already here.  Focus on what makes your concept unique and find a location that is going to resonate with your target consumer and what is going to make you different.”

 

 

Melissa Webb: “Consider unconventional or flexible opportunities because there are fewer options in an established market like D.C.  For example, in lieu of expecting a pad site, try a mixed-use development, second floor space in higher rent areas, or end caps for a wraparound drive-through.”

 

 

Mike Howard: “Have discipline in your economic model because the hefty rental rates are a challenge for many.  Try to understand where your customers are in the market and go where they are, whether or not it is the most attractive or trendy spot.”

 

 

Susan Bourgeois: “Be patient!  The process of finding a new opportunity to opening is one of the most grueling in this market.  Because of the incredible demographics and significant spending power in the region, the competition is fierce for every single space.”

 

 

Chris Pamboukian: “Understand the pedestrian flow.  People regularly discount what side of the street gets the most foot traffic and it can be the difference between success and failure in D.C.”

 

 

 

If interested in bringing a new retail concept to the D.C. market for the first time, reach out to one of our trusted retail advisors here.

 

*CoStar