Georgetown makes top 20 list for priciest retail rents

People eating outside in Georgetown
People eating outdoors in Georgetown. (Courtesy Georgetown Business Improvement District)

Cushman & Wakefield’s annual list of the most expensive retail rents, both in the Americas and globally, keeps Manhattan’s Upper Fifth Avenue at the top of both lists. No D.C. retail district made the global list.

Among the most expensive retail rents in the Americas, Georgetown ranks No. 17, at an average $160-per-square-foot. Even at that, retail rents on Upper Fifth Avenue this year averaged more than 12 times than Georgetown’s average rent, at $2,000-per-square-foot.

Georgetown’s average retail rent this year was down 13% from pre-pandemic rents in 2019, and unchanged from last year, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s data.

However, Georgetown’s high retail rents do not seem to have deterred retailers. A separate report from the Georgetown Business Improvement District this year showed the vacancy rate back down to pre-pandemic levels, with more than 55 retail and restaurant openings in 2023, and another 30 to 40 expected next year.

Upper Fifth Avenue’s average retail rent this year was about 13% higher than the next-most-expensive global shopping district, Via Montenapoleone in Milan, Italy.

Rounding out the top five globally are Tsim She Tsui in Hong Kong, New Bond Street in London and Avenues des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

In the U.S., Madison Avenue ranks No. 2, at $1,250-per-square foot, followed by Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, at $925-per-square-foot; Manhattan’s SoHo, at $860-per-square-foot and Honolulu’s Kalakaua Avenue, at an average $500-per-square-foot.

While Georgetown’s average retail rent was unchanged last year, Cushman & Wakefield said globally, rents rose by an average of 4.8% in 2023, led by Asia Pacific at an average of 5.3%.

Cushman & Wakefield’s full Main Streets Across the World 2023 is downloadable for free online, though it requires a registration form.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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