Chris Furlough, board president – Washington Harbor District Alliance

Harbor District Market on the horizon


As the economy improves, there is again significant interest in the Harbor District from investors.

“Under contract” and “financing provided by” signs are popping up all over, including 140 W. Main St. The building commonly known as the old McClellan’s Department Store recently joined the others with a new life ahead of itself.

Washington Harbor District Alliance recently purchased the long vacant, 16,500-square-foot, former 20th-century “five and dime.” With its squeaky wood floors and nostalgic smell of popcorn, the building has irreplaceable historic charm and is at the center of the Harbor District.

While WHDA works with the City of Washington, Beaufort County Economic Development, Beaufort County Committee of 100, Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and others to cultivate developers, companies and private investors looking to be a part of our downtown revitalization, we are excited this project allows us the opportunity to lead by example.

WHDA’s vision for the McClellan building is to keep the squeaky wood floors and bring back the smell of popcorn — not as a five and dime store, but as the “Harbor District Market.”

Beginning with two agribusiness-related retail anchors entering onto Main Street, WHDA plans to recruit similar businesses and locate them throughout the space, providing shoppers with a range of locally and regionally grown and made products.

In addition to permanent shops, there are plans for an indoor, permanent Farmers and Artisans Market, offering a year-round space for Washington-Beaufort County residents and visitors to get fresh produce and more.

The Harbor District Market plans to provide agribusiness support and continuing education programs for local farmers, makers, merchants and businesses. Working with existing partners like the Beaufort County Community College, there are plans to extend resources to small businesses and link to related programs like the new Frances Morgan Roberson Culinary Arts Program — possibly adding a publicly accessible commercial kitchen in the Harbor District.

Since 2009, the WHDA has been instrumental in making Washington an attractive place to do business, live and play. From its leadership in projects like Festival Park, the Lighthouse Maritime Center, the public pier and recently installed wayfinding signage, WHDA looks forward to another success with the Harbor District Market.

We are excited to share these plans and vision with you, keep you informed of our progress and seek your support

— together we are making our community a great place to shop, dine, play and live.

Chris Furlough is president of the board of the Washington Harbor District Alliance and a local business owner.


By Chris Furlough ( Email the author (

Published 8:30 pm Sunday, June 25, 2017

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