Mass Court Retail

The ground floor retail at Mass Court (300 Mass Ave NW) has sat empty for many years. During the time I’ve lived in the neighborhood I’ve never even heard one rumor about an interested tenant. In 2009 Madison Realty Group was contracted to market the space for a retail tenant. That was short lived as CB Richard Ellis moved to buy the entire building. It was a given that CBRE would discontinue the services of Madison and use their in-house agents to market the retail space. That has finally materialized and you may have noticed that CBRE has papered the windows with marketing materials to bring attention to the fact the space is for lease.

CBRE has created a web landing page for the retail leasing for this property ( and a brochure that includes a floorplan showing how the space could be subdivided into 4 retail bays.

We’ve asked this before – but what type of retail do you think would succeed here? I think the retail bay at 401 Mass would be superior for a cafe and this intersection probably can’t yet support two cafes so I would focus on other uses. Would Mass Court be a good location for a spa/nail salon that the ladies of the Triangle are always buzzing about needing?

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    Buzzing? LOL. Yes a lil nail salon could work there. closest ones are 7th & M and 8th & D?

    Some eateries could do very well, especially with the VA moving in soon. Every nice place that opens up by the Triangle seems to be doing very competitive business. I havent been able to get into Kushi on a weekend since it opened! 2hr waits y’all.

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    Abk says

    I think this just shows how DC’s low density really makes retail moribund. And the options we do have available are utterly uninspiring or are food establishments. Vacant spaces are so commonplace, I don’t think many realize that even new buildings built are paltry in terms of units delivered.

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    FourthandEye says

    @Abk – low density relative to what? Manhattan? Sure. It’s pretty damn good for the DC region.

    One example that’s compelling to me to answer the naysayers about whether we have the residential density for retail is 425 Eye Street. When they renovated that office building the developer decided to convert basically the entire ground floor (29,000 SF) to leasable retail space. This despite the fact that it’s not on a prominent/visible street and the ceiling heights are less than ideal for retail. I doubt the Paramount group would have done this if they didn’t think the area is ripe for more retail. Too bad many of the Mass Ave apartment building developers were so shortsighted…

  4. 4

    Emily says

    1010 Mass has also had about 9000sqft of vacant retail since it opened. Sad considering Brasserie Beck does so well less than a block away. When I inquired with the sales agent 3(?) years ago she gushed that it would be “luxury” retail. Riiiiight

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    FourthandEye says

    @Emily – I wouldn’t look at the long vacancy at 1010 Mass as an indicator that the area cannot support retail now or in the future. The landlord is just most likely just holding out for a big rent. I’m not in the industry but I believe the vacant taxes rates on new construction are very favorable to the landlord in the early years. This often incentives landlords to wait longer to catch a big fish.

    The typical life span of a hi-rise building is probably 30-100 years. You only get once chance to build it right in that span. That means it’s best to design much of the ground floor space on major corridors in a way that can support retail. Mostly that means taller ground floor ceilings, maybe separate ventilation, and a few other considerations. If in the end 10-20 years from now we find that we slightly overbuilt retail space it can be adapted to other uses. We are downtown. There will always be demand for office. Some small non-profit or startup could easily occupy 9000SF. I think that’s better than putting 8ft ceilings on the ground floor that will never be able to be anything but apartments…