Friday, November 21, 2008

Goodbye to the Social Safeway

In the latest salvo of the supermarket wars, Safeway is moving ahead with plans to start from scratch in Georgetown. Within the next year, the so-called "Social Safeway" at 1855 Wisconsin Avenue NW will be torn down to make way for a new "state-of the-art" facility that will better utilize the site and increase their market share as more and more of their competitors move from the suburbs to the inner city.

"Basically, what we're trying to do is to meet the standards of the District of Columbia. There's been a call for activating the streetscape more and trying to eliminate parking lots in the front of these large developments," says Safeway spokesman Craig Muckle. "Secondarily, it'll enable us to make our store larger to fit the type of amenities that we like to offer our customers."

However, there’s no rush to stock up on milk and toilet paper before the present location closes its doors. Muckle described the timeline for the new store as “in flux” and stressed that many of the details pertaining to the new development have yet to be finalized.

While Safeway has not yet revealed the developer and/or builder attached to the project, they have named Torti Gallas as their choice of architect. Some of Torti’s initial designs have already been presented to the community and are currently undergoing revisions – which will only see the light of day after local residents get first crack at them. “We don’t want to surprise the community,” says Muckle.

At present, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has approved a raze application for what is, after all, an unsightly brick box, and the Historic Preservation Review Board has given their go-ahead to the project as well. Safeway higher-ups are presently engaged in the design review process with the US Commission of Fine Arts, the Old Georgetown Board and the ANC 2E – but remains dedicated to getting the new project in the ground as quickly as possible. According to Muckle, “This is an important project for us and we’d like to make it happen sooner rather than later.”

The new Social Safeway is just one component of the company’s redevelopment strategy for the District. After opening a new flagship store at City Vista this past September, the national supermarket chain announced a new initiative that would see them renovate all of their 17 DC locations by 2011 and add two new stores, as well – one for Petworth, and another at South Dakota Avenue and Riggs Road NE. Plans for a new Georgetown store were not specified in their announcement.


IMGoph on Nov 21, 2008, 3:29:00 PM said...

how would a store in petworth be new? they already have a store there.

Anonymous said...

I hope they renovate the Salvadorian Safeway on Columbia Rd ASAP. That road needs help- gentrification has passed it over.

Anonymous said...

Why would HPRB be reviewing this project? If anything it would have been the HPO and even then, neither the property nor the neighborhood is in an Historic District.

Nope on Nov 21, 2008, 4:52:00 PM said...


They plan to tear down the Petworth store and put up a whole new facility, possibly with a residential component.

An HPRB report is how we got tipped off in the first place! Don't ask me why...

IMGoph on Nov 21, 2008, 4:53:00 PM said...

hunter: guess i considered that one of the renovations. oh well, either way, petworth wins.

Unknown on Nov 24, 2008, 3:21:00 PM said...

A raze permit (R0900032) was applied for November 5, 2008; I do not see that is has been approved.

HPO almost always has a role:

HPO is one of a group of agencies and private utilities that clear raze applications before permits are issued. The HPO clearance of a raze application indicates either that the property is not subject to the historic preservation law, or that the demolition has been approved through the process provided in the preservation law.

HPO endeavors to maintain fair, efficient, and prompt processing of these applications. We routinely clear raze applications that do not involve historic preservation issues. If a raze application may involve a matter of significance to neighborhood planning and development, we may hold the application until the expiration of the official notice period that DCRA is required to give to the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Anyone interested in the status of the HPO clearance of a raze application may contact us by email at Please contact DCRA at (202) 442-4400 to determine when the ANC was notified of the pending application.

Anonymous said...

I live in mount pleasant not far from the salmonella safeway also known as salvadorian safeway on columbia rd. there are little to no options for groceries in upper adams morgan and mount pleasant. This store should be FIRST in line for a redo. I hope they dont half ass the renovation and actually have a large selection of organic food. Is there a time line anywhere to find out when this location will be redone? also if you are reading this Safeway. utilize the large sidewalks in front of this location for some outdoor seating and get a good hot bar!

Colin on Nov 25, 2008, 9:19:00 AM said...

"there are little to no options for groceries in upper adams morgan and mount pleasant"

There is Harris Teeter, Safeway, Target and an organic grocery store on Columbia Rd just a few doors down from Blockbuster.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Colin but for anyone living in MTP Harris teeter is a bit of a hike if you plan on actually buying groceries and bringing them home. The Yes! is the size of a closet. and the safeway. which was the point of the post y'll remember. is called the Salmonella Safeway for a reason. As for walking to Columbia heights and braving the mad house that is Target for their pathetic food offerings Ill take a pass on that too. The Tivoli Giant is good but because its the only decent thing in the area you get to stand in line for 30 minutes at check out. guess ellwoods is on the way and that will be nice but the safeway is really ideally situated for a great number of residents. But you are right i should have clarified there are little to no GOOD options for groceries. so some smart ass didnt point out every place you could buy food in a 2 mile radius.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope that Safeway is really serious about "better utilizing the site" by including it as part of a mixed-use development. Yes, it would be a major improvement to move the store to Wisconsin Avenue and put the parking underground/in the rear, but what would be even better is to do that AND have some additional residential above to increase the vitality of the street life right in that area. A really innovative scheme that also provided better facilities at Jelleff would be especially great.

Colin on Nov 26, 2008, 1:37:00 PM said...

Harris Teeter is a hike? Really? According to google maps if you start at 1700 Kenyon St and walk to the El Safeway it takes 11 minutes. From the same location to Harris Teeter is calculated at 13 minutes. Big deal.

Your description of Target makes me wonder if you have ever actually been there. I get cereal, milk, juice and other basics there all the time and save money over what the other stores charge. You describe it as a mad house but I was there on Saturday and there were 4 cashiers with no customers. I rarely have to wait very long at all. It doesn't have everything but it has its uses.

I forgot about the Giant, which you point out, and you also noticed that another organic grocery store is on its way to the DC USA complex.

Seems to me you are mainly interested in complaining. Sorry there isn't a Whole Foods on your doorstep.

I live in AdMo and am very happy with all of my options. A year ago I could understand the problem, but now with HT and Target I am less sympathetic.

Anonymous said...

Well colin. Ive read a lot of blog comments in my day. And confrontational asshats are not hard to come by. So I shouldnt be surprised to have stumbled upon you. First off I live further north in MTP than Kenyon. so it takes me longer than 13 minutes to walk to Teeters despite what your investigative work has lead you to believe. And when I am carrying a large load of groceries on my way back that extra few blocks is more of a pain than you make it out to be. As for our proximity to the safeway that you were so nice to point out. well you've stumbled upon the whole point of my first post. That the safeway was CLOSE to underserved MTP. and that it would be GREAT if they REDID IT sooner rather than later. As for target. we will just have to disagree here. maybe my standards are just higher than yours, who knows. And you are welcome for pointinig out there is the Tivoli Giant. and that it never has less than a 15 minute wait to get through check out. because its always jam packed. because its the only decent option in this stretch of DC. I can see how this proves your point. Also I think you should get out more. Target on a saturday night? no effin duh it was empty.

Anonymous said...

You can take the bus to grocery stores, too.

Colin on Nov 28, 2008, 1:09:00 PM said...

I never started out as argumentative, you are the one that decided to make this a contentious discussion and set a nasty tone. But given your penchant for complaining and whining that's not much of a surprise, I'm sure you're a hit at all the parties.

But since that's the route you have decided to take, I suppose I should point out that your reading comprehension sucks. I never said I was at Target on a Saturday night -- I simply said Saturday. For the record it was around 4pm.

Also, way to completely miss the point of the HT vs. Safeway comparison. Certain geographic realities mean that a trip to AdMo from MP will go down Mt. Pleasant street. That means that wherever you are in MP the difference in trip time between that location and the Safeway and HT is almost guaranteed to be two minutes.

Excuse me while I play the world's smallest violin for that one extra block.

Your melodramatics also extend to the Giant, where you seem to think that wait lines last anywhere from 15-30 mins. I've never been in a line longer than 10 mins in the half-dozen trips I have made and I noticed that they have a number of self-checkout machines now that I hadn't noticed previously.

Anyway, sorry your life is so miserable. Maybe you should make use of peapod or something.

Post a Comment

Commercial ads will be deleted, so don't even think about it.


DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template