Goodbye West Elm, Hello Forever 21

Forever 21 takes its place, WBJ reports

West Elm aficionados will have to travel to Tysons Corner for their next purchase of eco-furniture or organic bedding. But for those who covet fashionable leggings, downtown D.C. will be more to your liking.

The West Elm furniture store in downtown D.C. is closing, according to the Washington Business Journal.  But clothing store Forever 21 will take its place, the Journal later reported.

West Elm store manager Dion Barela said the doors will close around March 15, depending on how soon the merchandise sells out.

“It was a corporate decision,” Barela told the Journal. “This location was just not as successful as they’d hoped.”

The location is 1020 G Street, in the old Woodies building. West Elm occupies nearly 40,000 square feet on two floors. The building also houses the H&M clothing store and Madame Tussauds wax museum. When West Elm opened in August 2007, it was the upscale furniture retailer’s first store in D.C. and the largest of 25 nationwide.

The landlord is a subsidiary of Doug Jemal’s Douglas Development Corporation, which owns the building.

The city lured the store with the help of a $5 million, 10-year tax increment financing (TIF) package in 2007. Last November, the Journal reported the store was generating sales tax revenue below the city’s estimates, citing sources familiar with the deal.

Under the terms of the TIF agreement, the city had been sending sales taxes from the revenue generated from the store to the landlord. The landlord bears the burden of any revenue less than $5 million generated by the store over a 10-year period, according to the Journal.

The West Elm store sent an e-mail to shoppers Monday announcing the closure and advertising a sale on remaining store items.

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