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SYMHM: Escalators, Rents, Whiskey, Sandwiches, Gaylarious

by Borderstan.com — January 4, 2012 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, U Street NW, Borderstan

News from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

WMATA: We Want to Lower Expectations

Done! Cross that one off your New Year’s resolution list. We kid, we kid. But in all seriousness, Metro told TBD the “reason” they estimated a full year for the repair of the two Dupont South escalators  was to lower expectations of riders, so they could hopefully beat the timeline for completing repairs. This is probably a pretty good strategy, but I think it only works when you don’t tell people that it’s a gambit. This is precisely the point of the TBD piece, which is (IMO) pretty well done. Thanks for talking to us more, Metro. We know those escalators have more fail in them than the Twitter Fail whale. Now quit yer yappin’ and show us some more men at work.

More Closings Blamed on Rents

Melody Records in Dupont Circle is closing (story from Washington Business Journal). Georgetown’s Barnes and Noble has already closed, we learned from DCist. What do the two have in common? It appears, according to blog Urban Spaces and Places, quite a bit despite their different retail footprints. As commercial space is generally over-valued in DC, they argue, this leads to increased rents and even higher expectations of earnings at such retail locations. It may have little to do with the profit margin of the store, and much more to do with the market and new players with deep pockets, often in the food industry. If you started thinking about high-end burger concepts from out of town, well, that makes two of us.

But a New Opening in an Old(er) Space

Whiskey is back on the menu at the space that formerly housed Porter’s, a bar beloved by many Terp alumni and M Street bar crawlers. Irish Whiskey Public House is due to open this Friday and got a pretty nice renovation, from what we see on Urban Daddy. For anyone nostalgic enough to miss the dilapidated interior of the dive bar, you can still see small touches in the new photos but overall, this is a much more aesthetically pleasing place to grab a drink. Oh, and there are over 60 types of whiskey if you want to toast to the past, present or future of the 18th and M Street strip.

And More Sammiches!

Taylor Gourmet junkies can feast their eyes on the first peek from the The Washington Post. The new 14th Street location is open for business in the former Ruff and Ready space. I’m guessing the cold kept most sandwich connoisseurs at bay today, but am a little surprised at the total lack of a line. Have we reached sandwich saturation?

New Year’s Resolutions

I can’t resolve to complain less, because then you would have nothing snarky to read. But I did resolve to have more fun and take things less seriously. Step one: get thee to Riot Act Comedy Theater with me tonight to see the guys from Gaylarious take the stage. This time, Chris Doucette and Zach Toczynski can be snarky for me and I keep my resolution longer than the first one (ordering pizza on New Year’s Day and skipping the gym is probably not in compliance with “eat better and exercise more.”) (Full disclosure: the boys were kind enough to comp me after I said they were “sort of” hilarious.)

Comments (1)

  1. Well, it does have to do with the profit margins (retail business success). See, after the cost of inventory, you have 50% of the gross revenue from which to pay rent, personnel, utilities, insurance, sundries, and taxes.

    Ideally, you net 15%.

    The metric is that rents should be 4% to 10% of gross revenue (restaurants pay more because they have higher volume). So the higher the rent beyond 4% the narrower the margin, unless the sales are super-great. And if the rent is beyond 10% of the gross margin, if the business is marginal (books, music, cameras, etc.) then it can’t be sustainable.

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