Friday, February 03, 2012

Wisconsin Ave. Giant to Close In March as Cathedral Commons Gears Up

The Giant supermarket at 3336 Wisconsin Avenue, NW will close in March in preparation for the construction of Cathedral Commons, according to a spokeswoman for the supermarket chain.

Sharon Robinson, an outside spokeswoman on behalf of Giant said that construction for the $125 million project will begin this quarter. A raze permit for the building as well as other parts of the 3300 block were approved Jan. 30th by the Historic Preservation Office according to documents released this week by the Office. Meanwhile, the Giant Pharmacy has closed, and Starbucks cafe in the 3400 block also closed this week; its building also has a date with the wrecking ball as part of the project.

(Photo by Ken Johnson)
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400, which represents Giant employees at the Wisconsin Ave. store, were also given notice this week that the location will close within the next 30 days to begin razing the old building.

The UFCW employees won't lose their jobs, but will be transferred to other Giant stores in the region, according to UFCW Local 400 Secretary Mark Federici.

Developer Street-Works, which also designed much of Bethesda Row, has designed Cathedral Commons to bring 137 apartments, eight town homes and more than 125,000 s.f. of retail space, including 56,000 s.f. to replace the 50-year old store.

For the past decade, Cathedral Commons has been ground-zero for redevelopment politics, pitting anti-development activists versus the food store and its financial partner The Bozzuto Group.

Meanwhile, Giant, like its fellow unionized grocery chain Safeway, is facing increasing pressure to improve or replace its smaller-footage legacy stores like the one on Wisconsin Avenue, one of the least liked supermarkets in the District.

That's the result of stiff competition from non-unionized upscale chains like Harris Teeter and Whole Foods, which have entered the District in force, as well as discount food sellers like Walmart, which just this week began work for a groundbreaking at its first store in the District at New Jersey Avenue and H Street.

Pleasanton, California-based Safeway Inc. is also looking to replace its 35,000 s.f. Safeway in Tenleytown, less than a mile away, with a five-story mixed use project that will bring a new 56,000 s.f. store to the neighborhood. But that project likely won't get started until the new Cathedral Commons Giant is ready and open for business. Giant also closed their large Shaw supermarket last September, in advance of what will (in two years) become an anchor supermarket and residential project in Shaw.

Update: According to Sharon Robinson, the above-mentioned spokesman, a date has not been set for closure of the Giant.

Washington D.C. real estate development news


Thayer-D on Feb 3, 2012, 10:08:00 AM said...

Best new infill project in DC by far. Hopefully someone will save the cool 1940's moderne Giant sign and re-use it somewhere.

JJ said...

Glad that terrible Giant is being replaced, but I wish the architecture were a bit more interesting. Probably slim chance for that, Wisconsin Ave gets nothing interesting ever.

Anonymous said...

So awesome. Does anyone know when the Giant is scheduled to reopen? I figure it will be closed for at least a year.

Anonymous said...

@Thayer-D - I belive that the 1940's Giant sign will be reused in this project. You can see it in the rendering.

Thayer-D on Feb 3, 2012, 11:38:00 AM said...

Thanks anon, I see the sign now. I'm glad these buildings aren't "interesting". Unfortunatley that's usually short hand for glassy and ugly. All our nicest neighborhoods are filled with nice backround buildings which these will be, instead of the attention grabbing person in the room who's really obnoxious.

Bob See on Feb 3, 2012, 12:03:00 PM said...

Glad to see this moving. It's cool they're keeping the sign, and the design will end up looking like it was always there. Just like the surrounding buildings that the NIMBYs don't have any problem with.

Anonymous said...

You might take a closer look at the elevations posted on the Safeway web-site before describing their Tenleytown project as a "five-story mixed use project."

Ben said...

The NIMBYs should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for delaying this for a decade. The Cathedral Commons, Babes, and relocating American University's Washington College of Law will make Wisconsin Avenue far more vibrant and enjoyabble.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:19

Why, because the Safeway is now more than 5 stories? Or because it is not a mixed-use development?

What is the problem?

Maybe you prefer the asphalt parking lot that is flooding our basements?

Anonymous said...

@anon @12:31

So you don’t have a problem with DC Mud describing a 6-story, 75 foot tall mixed use proposal as a “five-story mixed use project”?

I wasn’t commenting on the merits of the project, just on DC Mud’s repeated error in the description.

But, if you are having trouble with your basement flooding, I cannot imagine that the solution is to replace the current building and parking lot, or even the previous proposal, with a new building which has more impervious surface, and is excavated to 9-20 feet below the current levels.

Anonymous said...

I hope Giant will provide a shuttle for customers to shop at other Giant stores while this one is closed, like it did when the Connecticut-Van Ness store was redone a few years back!

Otherwise, a lot of us in the neighborhood, especially those without cars, will have a tough time shopping for groceries.pangshn

Erin said...

Oh please, Giant isn't obligated to provide you with transportation because you don't have a car. If you really live next door to it, take a bus down the street in either direction.

Anonymous said...

wish safeway would replace their store on Conn Ave at Chevy Chase Circle with anything. It has got to be the smallest store ever... half of what they sell are non food items, half of the rest is what you find in a 7-11 ( chips, soda, junk). Building it up with roof parking might work. Our neighborhood hates it, but it's so close, it's hard to resist.

larry E.

Anonymous said...

The good news is that Giant is building a new supermarket. The bad news ... is that it will still be a Giant.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see this welcome addition to Wisconsin Ave. finally getting off the ground. It is a plus for smart growth and DC taxpayers who will reap the benefits of higher property taxes and more jobs from the site.

Wisconsin Ave. has plenty of bus service for access to replacement grocery stores both to the north and the south.

Anonymous said...

It's about time!

"Don't buy a house next door to the Cathedral and then complain about the bells."

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