Redevelopment of the Wisconsin Avenue Giant, a project that has inspired both relief and resentment, and has suffered from numerous lawsuits by a small group of locals hoping to derail the mixed-use project, seems destined to maintain the status quo well into next year. Despite notice early this summer that the missing financial partner could be on board "any day now," the project still lacks the financial partner needed to move forward, and store employees now tell DCMud that the store will remain open through the end of the year, at least.
Developers have successfully fended off various lawsuits attempting to stop Cathedral Commons (some claims are still being pursued), but what the suits have failed to do seems to have been accomplished by the market, as timelines continue to slip with the absence of funding. Early predictions had the project well underway, if not complete by this time. In 2006 officials thought the project could take 4 years to complete, and at least one team member told DCMud in 2008 that construction would begin within a year. The team then scheduled an aborted "launch party" nearly one year ago. Early this summer vendors began clearing out, and knowledgeable parties to the transaction predicted movement was at last imminent. But the Giant remains operational, and this week officials at Stop & Shop, Giant's parent company, told store employees to expect to work into next year.
Parties now say the financial partner is still not official (and won't release names), and Sharon Robinson, a PR captain for Giant, confirmed, "There is not another financial partner in the development at this time." Robinson added that Giant aims to break ground "sometime after the first of the year." Robinson insists that the project has not been delayed. "The PUD is still valid and Giant is moving forward with plans to redevelop Friendship Shopping Center and filed plans for its building permits last week." No general contractor has been selected.
The project will add a new 56,000 s.f. grocery store, 85,000 s.f. of additional ground floor retail, 150 condos or apartments and over 500 parking spaces, and bring back the familiar neon Giant sign that graces the present supermarket.
Robinson added by email that, "The lawsuit challenging the authority of the Zoning Commission, which was filed by a small group of opponents, is moving through the judiciary process. Many neighbors continue to contact the development team expressing dismay at the lawsuit and asking how they might show support for the project." While that may be helpful, it seems that for now it is also not quite enough.
Washington D.C. real estate development news