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Shops shut down in Georgetown Park

Some residents are upset that Georgetown Park manager Vornado Realty Trust has told longtime merchants to pack up their stores and leave the mall as early as Sept. 15 -- just two weeks away. One merchant said Georgetown Park's lower-level deli -- a staple of the mall that provided fuel for DMV visitors and shopkeepers for years -- has been told to vacate in 10 days.

"What's the rush to get out? What's the story?" asked one resident, worried at the prospect of an empty commercial space that could attract crime. "It will take six to eight months to get any plans through the ANC. Meanwhile, Vornado has told us nothing."

One resident who had a storage area in the complex was told to clear out in two days.

Vornado also manages Springfield Mall, which Georgetown neighbors said has been plagued by crime.

With the pending closure of Barnes & Noble a few blocks away and rumors that mall retailer H&M may leave The Shops at Georgetown Park to take over the book store space, some Georgetowners are concerned about instability and a decline in the quality of Georgetown retail offerings.

Mall operator Vornado has been reported to be discussing a lease of an 80,000-square-foot lease with Target, according to DC Mud. SimplySoles founder Kassie Rempel, Heidi Kallet, founder of The Dandelion Patch, and Stephanie Fornash Kennedy of eight-year mall tenant Fornash told DC Mud they have received official notice to vacate. Rempel opened her store in what had been an abandoned Ann Taylor shop -- bringing it back to life in March, 2010 -- less than 18 months ago.