Expanded food and drink options, remodeled stores and a concert series will usher in a more approachable, comfortable atmosphere at The Collection at Chevy Chase, expected to be unveiled at a June celebration.
The shopping center on Wisconsin Avenue in the Friendship Village area is shifting from luxury retail to more casual outlets, which will accompany a rotating cast of pop-up stores and updates to several current stores.
The goal for the Chevy Chase Land Co. and its leasing associates is to create a welcoming environment to encourage frequent visitors.
“There was a big focus on making it more approachable and embracing the community,” said Lisa Stoddard, executive vice president of real estate consultant CBRE. “And making it a place that you would go frequently, as opposed to just every once and awhile. It’s your go-to project, and not unlike many projects in the market, the trend is the experience.”
Stoddard, along with Streetsense Director of Real Estate Mike Smith, have assisted Chevy Chase Land Co. and President Thomas Regnell in attracting a variety of new stores and restaurants to the center.
The arrival of fast-casual restaurant Junction Bakery & Bistro was announced in late March, and the Chevy Chase Land Company recently agreed to terms with New York-based Beehive Craft Bar and Restaurant, according to a spokeswoman.
Vegetable-focused The Little Beet Table is currently under construction and another restaurant tenant is expected to be announced in late April.
Multiple new tenants have already opened at The Collection, including children’s play center BusyBees, Chevy Chase Florist and Salon Lofts. Coffee shop The Kindred Cup, Potomac Pizza and American chain Clyde’s have had remodeling work.
“Chevy Chase as a whole has never really had a heart to the community, a place of congregation, a place they really felt like they could call their own,” Smith said. “… Just more neighborhood-type retail that’s all oriented around public spaces that people could have a cup of coffee or eat dinner or just people watch.”
Construction on the 194,646-square-foot center began in 2017, and has included outdoor changes such as a new crosswalk on Wisconsin Circle, additional outside restaurant seating and a tiered plaza.
Regnell said the luxury retail approach had been successful for the company until around 2008, and he soon proposed changes to the center’s outlook to align better with the community’s needs.
The Chevy Chase center built on the site in 1953 was “really the heart and soul of the retail community,” and the rebrand of The Collection will “[take] it back to its roots,” Regnell said.
The Collection will host a monthly lunch series in the summer featuring a variety of musical groups performing on the last Friday of each month. Pop-up candy store Sugar & Ice will have chocolate truffle-making classes the final week of April, and additional shops will appear at The Collection on a rotating basis.
A June 22 grand opening will debut the completed renovations across the center, with the goal of increasing foot traffic and attendance from there.
“People want a place they can identify with, that they can call their own,” Regnell said. “If we’re successful, then we’ve got a place that people want to spend time in for a multitude of reasons and they really have a pride in ownership and identify with it.”