Signs posted on doors at the Walmart located at 99 H St. NW indicated the store would close for good as of March 31, 2023.
The store opened in 2013 amid much fanfare –and controversy.
As part of the deal to come to DC, Walmart proposed building six stores in the District. Much of the DC Council fo the time pushed back, largely amid concerns about wages.
Then, earlier the same year as the H Street store opened, DC Council passed a bill increasing minimum wage to $12.50 per hour; at the time, Walmart’s minimum wage was four dollars less. Then-Mayor Vince Gray vetoed the bill.
Walmart promised to open two stores: one in Ward 7’s Skyland Center and the other at Capitol Gateway.
But after building Walmarts on H Street, Riggs Road and Georgia Avenue, Walmart abruptly cancelled the plans for the Ward 7 stores in 2016, citing “poor financial performance”.
Mayor Bowser, then in her first term in office, told reporters she was “blood mad” the 2016 decision about it at a press conference. Now Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray, who negotiated the deal as Mayor in 2012, was often more descriptive about his feelings, telling East of the River in 2017 that the District should decide whether or not to fil a lawsuit.
As mayor in 2012, Gray negotiated a deal that would bring two Walmarts to Wards 7 and 8, including one at Skyland, at the same time as three others were opened in more affluent neighborhoods. After building the first three, Walmart pulled out of the deal.
“But we didn’t give up, did we? We never gave up,” Gray said as a Lidl Grocery Store opened at Skyland in 2022. “And now we’ve got Lidl.”
The Hill Rag has reached out to Walmart for comment. A response to inquries about the future of the space did not receive a reply at the time of publicaiton.