Tenleytown is getting upgraded, a bit. Two new projects near the Metro will breathe some freshness into the retail scene in the neighborhood that has seen little new development and lost its library.
The first is not a big lot, but anything that adds retail to the under-served Tenleytown neighborhood gets noticed. The formerly vacant site above the Tenleytown metro entrance, hitherto a loitering spot of choice for American University and Wilson High students, has been fenced off in preparation for construction of a one-story, 3600 s.f. building, with a "decorative cupola" that will serve retail. Keystone Development, representatives of the property owner Circle Management, have begun work on the site but have not yet scored a retail client. Circle Management owned Tenley's Outer Circle theater, before it was demolished. Keystone has hired K3 Construction Group to build the structure. According to K3 representative Kathy McCormick, the site will be "very challenging" work for its proximity to the metro entrance and tunnel, a process that requires WMATA to sign off.
Down the street, Safeway, Inc. is finalizing plans to renovate the Tenleytown Safeway at 4203 Davenport St., NW. The building, with its back to busy Wisconsin Avenue is often overlooked by passersby and is long overdue for a facelift. According, to Craig Muckle, a spokesperson for Safeway, the company is working with the community to get input and make sure interested parties have a say in the design process. The plans should be finalized by mid-September.
Renovation of the Safeway will not start until the Georgetown Safeway, which started renovation work several months ago, is completed, to avoid closing two nearby stores simultaneously. The Georgetown store is on schedule for completion in March of 2010. Muckle was unwilling to share other details of the project, saying that it would be "unfair" to spoil the surprise. Renovation and design will be overseen by Torti Gallas. The new designs will incorporate Safeway's "lifestyle" branding - the grocer's move to incorporate urban design principles into their stores by improving pedestrian friendliness and adding more diverse retail into the shopping experience.