Meeting To Address Petworth Safeway Concerns Tonight


I seem to recall folks are not huge fans of this Safeway. From an email:

Petworth Action Committee
Councilmember Muriel Bowser
Community Meeting
Thursday, March 19th

Spring Road Mental Health Center
(in the Chapel)

1125 Spring Road NW

· Petworth Safeway Concerns
· Community Services:
MPD – to address community concerns and to help establish an action plan to address short and long term goals

DPW – to address parking issues

DPR – to address Raymond Recreation renovations and the plans for a new recreation center

DCRA- to address an influx of rooming houses and the negative impact it is having in Ward 4

Update on Development projects in our community: Jair Lynch Development Partners – 3910 Georgia Avenue Adrian Washington- Neighborhood Development Company, LLC- 4100 Georgia Avenue

37 Comment

  • Can someone expound on the situation with rooming houses?

  • saf

    That one baffles me too, anon.

    And I am so annoyed about this – the first announcement of this meeting that I saw was 3/15, on the Petworth Yahoo group. There was also a flyer stuck in my door on 3/17. Not good notice. Not at all. I have to be at another meeting tonight, and can’t make this, and with proper notice, I could have managed it.

    So, the poor DH gets to go alone.

  • Stinky Safeway!

  • Yet ANOTHER meeting to discuss this shameful excuse for a grocery store? What could they have left to possibly discuss other than its complete demolition? I will never darken the doors of this or any other Safeway again! Shame on Safeway!

  • at least your safeway is getting redone. I have no idea how a safeway on georgia ave is getting first billing over the one that sits a stinky disgusting eyesore on columbia road. I feel like the returns on a renovated safeway at columbia road would be far greater than georgia ave.

  • oh, [email protected]:07pm, the Columbia Rd. Safeway used to be my main grocery store. It’s SO MUCH BETTER than the Georgia Ave Safeway, as sad as that is. The Georgia Ave Safeway smells like rotting meat and is generally filthy. DC is full of obsolete grocery stores (the Shaw Giant comes to mind as well) but the Georgia Ave Safeway is among the worst of the worst. Plus Adams Morgan has my favorite grocery store, Harris Teeter…yes, as a resident of Petworth I do all my grocery shopping in Adams Morgan.

  • Different year, another community meeting, results in the same story…

    Too bad they don’t sell lip service at Safeway….You could not keep it on the shelf…

    Let me know how the meeting goes….oh wait…can I take a guess….a promise from CM to make things happen and make sure Safeway gives residents want they want…a new Safeway….

    When are neighbors going to take their money and time elsewhere?

  • the last time i went to that safeway, they couldn’t find the dead rat that made the entire store reek so badly only a few souls could brave the stench….

  • saf

    I don’t want a new Safeway. I want those %^&*(%^&*^&%&*^ mf’ers OUT of my neighborhood.

    The fact is, they are, and have been for many years, lousy neighbors. I won’t give them my money, and I don’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

  • Hmm, “rooming houses” I’m guessing they’re referring to 3 or 4 adults living as roommates in a house together, as has been done in Ward 1 forever, and maybe is becoming more common in Ward 4 now? Perceived problems could be parking, loud parties, etc. but I’d be surprised if this is really a major issue / problem…

  • I don’t know…I’ve shopped at the Giant at 8th & O fairly often and don’t think it’s too bad. It’s big enough to have lots of things and while the lines are long they move fast. To be fair, I don’t buy milk (I drink soy milk) or meat so maybe those aren’t good. And while the produce isn’t awesome it’s not terrible…not too much worse than other grocery stores. I try to buy lots of produce at farmers markets in the summer and freeze it anyway.

    For folks who shop at both, is the one on GA ave a lot worse? I’m thinking of moving up there in a few months and won’t have a car, so a nearby grocery store is a big concern.

  • Re: Safeway, clearly we don’t have effective health inspectors in DC, and Safeways throughout the city have banked on the fact that they are usually the only option for people and thus they can literally do well while doing the bare minimum. The Piney Branch Safeway is just as bad and I’ve given up trying to learn why a health inspector wouldn’t be concerned by the mouse signs and rotten milk. They just don’t care, neither the health inspectors or the store, and they get paid either way.

    Re: rooming houses, I wonder if this in relation to some of the anger lately about an increase in housing for the mentally ill, ex-convicts, and juvenile offenders in Ward 4. I remember reading somewhere that W4 had more of these sorts of city sponsored but largely un-inspected properties that were the site of many nasty and terrible things. However, the DCRA page on rooming houses is here:,a,1342,q,635127,dcraNav_GID,1691,dcraNav,|33420|.asp

    and describes them as places where unrelated people live, like a normal rental house. Given the economic downturn, these are likely the last of our troubles these days. However, they are largely a Latino issue, and I do believe Bowser discriminates against Latinos, so maybe that is it. Note this latter salacious point is based on a few interactions with Bowser in relation to Latinos, and feedback from Latino neighbors. I have no way to prove it so don’t start a fight with me. I dislike Bowser anyways given her attitude on blight and crime, specifically she just seems to want to ignore it.

  • The last time I was in that Safeway, my best guess was that the strong, musty smell was cockroaches. I recognized it from a bakery I helped dismantle that turned out to be infested with them.

    I would go a very long way to avoid that Safeway.

  • saf

    Bowser didn’t set this agenda, David Dzidzienyo did.

  • Great, I just read that DCRA page. I am officially the landlord of an illegal rooming house, because I don’t have a BBL. They make it sound so salacious…my tenants are recent college grads who work for nonprofits and on the Hill. Why don’t they concentrate on people running illegal businesses out of their homes, like…say, drug dealers????

  • Anonymouse: drug dealers don’t abide by the law, so they are harder to prosecute. You are a tempting and juicy target though! Welcome to DC.

  • I have only gone to the Safeway on Georgia Ave one time and that was enough. If I remember correctly the entire store layout was backwards and the produce section was small and had limited items. The spanish safeway on Columbia road is so much better, when I lived in AM it was my main grocery store before Harris Teeter moved in. But I still frequented it as HT didn’t carry all of my favorite brands.

    Has anyone ever gone to the Safeway in Brightwood? I drove past that for the first time yesterday and it looks real nice.

  • Also has anyone noticed the new Pepsi ads around town? They are all slightly different and I think are trying to speak to the various neighborhood demographics. I don’t know if they have been changed out but the one that was in front of the GA Safeway is just terrible.

  • @ Naomi G, the Brightwood Safeway has really long lines. It does not matter what time or day it is.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what type of grocery store we should expect at the planned S. Dakota development by Fort Totten.

  • I think I’ll be the only one here to say that I don’t think GA Safeway is as bad as you guys say. I think it’s improved a lot, especially the produce section. even the smell is down.

  • @ Naomi G:
    Yup, the Pepsi sign declaring ‘Fo Sho’ at the stinky safeway is a bit on the nose, ey?

  • Manner Park got it spot on: I live a block from the Georgia/Piney Branch Safeway and the lines there are hella long all the time, express lane or not.

    The store itself is just fine, I guess. Though it seems like there are birds flying around inside the store every time I visit. I also saw a mouse in the bakery section while looking for a birthday cake in September.

    Despite my proximity to the Safeway, I only go to Safeway if I’ve forgotten something at the Giant in Silver Spring where I do the large majority of my grocery shopping.

  • at least safeway is unionized. these are good jobs w/good benefits. just because this store is outdated and needs a re-vamp–don’t throw the baby out w/the bathwater.

    I shop there often. it’s not that bad but I really look forward to a new state of the art safeway w/organic choices in produce.

  • So, what was said about in the meeting?

  • saf

    G – oh my god. It went until after 9, close to 9:30. He has GOT to learn not to overload an agenda and then not to preach on and on but to allow speakers to speak. He’s also got to learn to chair a meeting! And the “just a quick question” guy – he’s got to be sat on for asking questions (NOT quick questions) that have already been clearly answered.

    What was said? Well, I was only there for the last hour (!) so I only got the end of the cop update (not useful, blame everything on the courts) and the developer update (not useful, hi we’re here, rent our apartments!) (oh, and Donatelli didn’t make it).

    Perhaps someone who was there the whole time, and is a bit less cynical and nasty than I am, will have a useful report.

    One thing to note, the Safeway folks were apparently as sleazy as ever, and cannot get financing for the big-ass condo/store combo that they want to build, so now they say they are just going ahead with a new store. and it seems that they were unclear on what the footprint (my biggest concern) of that building would be. They also claim that they now have a cleaning crew coming through the alley (haven’t seen either a crew or the results of a crew being there) and that they are towing cars out of the back lot (which cars? when?) Too little, too late.

  • All, I brought my notes from the meeting to work, but I doubt I wil be able to type up everything. If I get something together next week, I may send it to PoP to see if he can put up a new post.

  • Saf, thanks – so there are good news then! I.e. the new store moving ahead, with or without condos/other retail.

    David, I look forward to your notes!

  • I went to the meeting though I had to leave by 8. The meeting went very slowly and went on many tangents. I was there for 2 hours and didn’t hear either MPD or the developers (Jair Lynch and the building at 3910 Georgia Ave).

    The main item of interest was the Safeway. As saf said, a rep from Safeway headquarters was there talking about the new store. Apparently a new store is pretty much a sure thing, and it looks like a condo/store or apartment/store development won’t be happening due to the economy. He put the likelihood of having underground parking somewhere in-between. I think it’s very important that we give feedback to Safeway and Muriel Bowser about how important it is to have underground parking. All the problems with noise, rats, dumpster smells, not to mention people fixing cars in the parking lot (??!?) result from the setup of the current store. I feel like the economy is being used as a scapegoat to reduce the budget for this store, and we deserve better! Better means having underground parking, plus having the dumpsters and loading dock be underground.

    If you want to put in your $0.02, please send an email to the Safeway rep, Craig Muckle at [email protected] and Muriel Bowser at [email protected]; also Joe Martin [email protected].

  • I’d also be interested to hear what Jair Lynch said about 3910 Georgia Ave – what are the plans now? When will construction begin? Who are the retailers? Last I heard was a medical clinic will be in the building, and Results long ago backed out.

  • saf

    G – I would not call a new Safeway a good thing. As I said above they are LOUSY neighbors and I want them OUT of my backyard. Now.

    And SM, if you get a response from Mr Muckle, please share. Thanks.

    Oh, and Jair said that they are planning to break ground in June, and the first floor will be Mary’s Center.

  • Okay, here are a few notes re. just the Safeway portion of the meeting, since GforGood confirms that folks are still looking at this posting today. As you all know, Safeway owns that property, which is a prime location (steps to metro and go up just one floor for a stunning view of the cathedral). Last night they sent Stewart (or Stuart) Jones, who is the store manager as of about a year ago, and Craig Muckle, who is a public affars manager for the eastern region. I, like many others, do most of my shopping at other stores, but I am also a routine grab-the-missing-thing on the way home shopper. This Safeway continues to have many problems, but there was general consent that Mr. Jones has made noticeable improvements in his short tenure. He is unlikely to stay long. Both the corporation and the managers tend to move quickly to bigger stores if they have talent. Mr. Jones talked about the improvements in trash removal and in-store cleanup, and he said they hired a company to sweep the back parking lot a few times weekly, and that they have towed some cars. We all have to rely on SAF and other neighbors to carry the weight of keeping an eye on what is actually happening. Luckily, we have a group of stellar and active neighbors against that Safeway property.

    The orginal plan called for a new store and housing above it (no surprise given the value of the view those places would have). Mr. Muckle, however, stated that the proposal they have now is to just build the store because the market isn’t conducive to the housing, but they will leave open the option for future years.

    As stated above, they were unable to say what footprint they would deploy for the new store (how close to Georgia, how far into the back parking lot, how deep for parking, whether trash and delivery would be underground), etc. Despite Safeway’s inability to talk about the footprint, they did recently receive proposals from two developers, so I suspect they know more than they say. Mr. Muckle says he will meet with corporate at the end of March, and they may at that point discuss financing for the project.

    Mr. Muckle talked about how we could use a model like we are seeing with the Wisconsin Ave construction to get free deliveries and shuttles to Piney Branch during construction (we are all particularly worried about teh elderly and those without cars who rely on the existing Store).

    Once a shovel goes in the ground, which may be quite some time from now, Safeway believes it could complete construction in 12 months.

    The new store is proposed to be 55,000 square feet and employ 150-175 people (now 22,000 and about 65).

    You can reach Mr. Muckle at [email protected] or (301) 918-6803 and the store manager at (202) 882-1140 (they are not allowed to receive external e-mail in the stores).

    Muriel confirmed that we have had this conersation several times before, and that whereas most Safeway stores average 17 years old, ours is decades old. It is time. She will restart routine meetings with Safeway and the Mayor’s office of development.

  • Just a note re: Piney Branch Safeway, lines are reasonable if you do a late night trip, like 9:30 on a Tuesday. During more-normal hours though it is indeed ridiculous. Also, yes there are mice, the bread is occasionally moldy, and the milk coolers have been coated in dried and rotted milk for at least four years now. So, beware o’ the botulism!

    One amusing thing, go there right when school lets out and watch a wave of kids just steal that place blind. I mean, wow, like a plague of locusts.

  • Sounds good. Hope they get it going as ap. Its understandable they won’t disclose much info on the exact plans at this point.

  • saf

    I am frightened to find myself agreeing with Pennywise, kinda, again. At least, on the condition of the other Safeways.

    Yes, the Piney Branch Safeway (new since I moved into the neighborhood) is nasty, just not as nasty as ours. I’ve heard that in the what, 6 weeks?, since the new one opened in Mt Vernon Triangle, it’s already started to show those kinds of issues. I also remember the 14th and Park Safeway, and have, in my time in DC, shopped at several others.

    I won’t go into any Safeway any more – haven’t for years now. They can’t have my money. The fact is that the entire chain is rotten. We need to stop hoping they will improve, they have proven that they won’t. We need to boycott them until they leave.

  • Just outta curiosity, did the mysterious “rooming house” question come up? And is it indeed a veiled final solution to the Latino problem?

  • So this was a meeting with SAFEWAY, in which the community learned nothing….

    OK, that not far… We learned that do to the current economic status of the credit markets (the current Recession); SAFEWAY could not get a developer to buy their property and build them a new store, in which they would lease back from their chosen developer.

    So SAFEWAY says they are going to still build a store (maybe) but they are not sure of the configuration (size of store), set-back from the street, and/or if there will be underground parking. But in the mean time we (that “we” being SAFEWAY) has make minimal improvements to the current facility (dump of a store with sanitary issues) and that we (that “we” being SAFEWAY, again) would like the community to support our applications for development and a possible liquor license (for beer and wine) at this location.

    I did not attend the meeting, last night, as I did not learn of it until today (that’s another issue). But it can be assumed that, this meeting will label as an community outreach by SAFEWAY for community input. And the ANC member for that SMD, the Petworth Action Committee, and the Council Member will be referenced by Craig Muckle and the current store manager when they speak with SAFEWAY’s Corporate office regarding this current facility (dump of a store with sanitary issues).

    Now for my two cents, if anyone is still read this post, SAFEWAY and been such a
    SH!TTTTTTTTTTTY member of Petworth community, they can just GTFO and leave. Even if they build a new facility I will never do my Grocery shopping there, as I currently boycott All SAFEWAY’s due to how bad of a Neighbor they are in Petworth. Maybe the Mayor’s office of development and the Council Member should look into possible using Eminent Domain ( ( to remove them from our community, as the Supreme Court has ruled that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. I am sure the Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Giant, and many others would be interested in that site.

  • Pennywise–
    The rooming houses question did come up, and while a “rooming house” is defined on the website as having 3 or more unrelated people renting a single home, the concern was about homes rented to 5 or 6 people (or more). College aged students were the only explicitly named culprits and the conversation revolved around their general lack of respect for basic civic duties, like appropriate trash disposal, and their rude responses (I pay taxes, that’s the landlord’s problem, etc.) when neighbors requested they follow proper procedures. It seemed to have more to do with tenants who would only inhabit the residence for a year or two and felt no ties to the community, giving them license to act like pigs. There was also a concern for fire-safety and the housing code, which was the official issue on the table. So no, I don’t think it was merely a veiled anti-latino issue, although there was a suggestion that the housing code information on the website be translated into spanish. Perhaps someone else would have interpreted the conversation differently, though.

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