WASHINGTON (AP) — The closure of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington is taking a toll on area businesses.

Walter Reed merged with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and moved out of Washington in August. The move meant 6,000 staff members and thousands of patients and family members have vanished from the northwest Washington campus.

Neighbors tell The Washington Post that several stores have closed, including a medical supply shop. Owners of a convenience store say they may sell their property. At a nearby Ledo Pizza, lunchtime business is nearly gone.

Businesses knew for about six years that Walter Reed was leaving, but they say the loss is more than they expected.

Redevelopment of the campus may be slow. Transferring authority over the land could take 18 months.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)