Whole Foods Negotiating for Space around 9th and U St, NW?


Ready for some super sweet scuttlebutt? The source that told us H Street, NE was getting a Whole Foods now says they are in negotiations for a space at one of the new projects near 9th and U St, NW.

Do you think it’s really possible or is that location too close to their P Street location?

Obviously this is just scuttlebutt but if this happens – it’ll be huge!!

84 Comment

  • Could this be the location that the Harris Teeter was rumored to go? At 9th and W . . .

  • Yes Yes Yes Yes! I don’t think that this is too close to their P St location. With all the new residential density set to pop up around U st in the next 1-3 years, WH won’t have any problems at this location.

  • That would be really, really great. I remember hearing that the P St Whole Foods is one of their most profitable stores, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some excess demand in the area.

  • Whole Foods would shoot home prices through the roof around here, which would be great for those of us who have already staked a claim, but I would prefer a Harris Teter, Giant, or something a little less pricey than Whole Foods. Still, it would be great.

    • I too would prefer a Harris Teeter or something less pricey, but something like this at 9th and U would be great for the immediate neighborhood. I’m hoping it would also spur development/revitalization up Georgia Avenue into Pleasant Plains, Park View, and southern Petworth.

    • The Giant five blocks directly south of this location isn’t convenient enough?

      • houseintherear

        I don’t understand why people keep up this argument. No, it’s not convenient enough… not for those who live 5+ blocks away. The new Giant is not a “quick walk” to Bloomingdale, or Ledroit, or any of the other more eastern/northern neighborhoods that would be served by a new store in the 9th and U area. The new Giant is great for Shaw, but not for everyone. And that’s why a new store would do well at the suggested location. It’s a city… there will be lots of grocery stores, and that’s a good thing.

        • This exactly

        • I just google mapped walking directions from 1st and U to the Giant and to the proposed site. The difference is 3 minutes in walking time …

          • houseintherear

            The difference between walking down Rhode Island to Giant and walking through your own neighborhood to to Whole Foods is not worth ignoring.

            I’m guess you don’t live in the neighborhood in question, so perhaps you should just keep your opinion to yourself…?

          • I do live in the neighborhood in question. I would rather walk down RIA than those robby blocks of U st. 😉

          • For those of us in Petworth who have to drive to get to a grocery store with a full fish counter and butcher, there’s a big difference between WF and Giant…as well as the extra driving hassle of crossing U. Not the same by any stretch.

        • I would also add that Giant is not Whole Foods. Sorry, but I don’t go to Whole Foods to buy Windex, just as I don’t go to Giant to buy fresh scallops.

          • Exactly. They each have their uses. The people who don’t recognize this, and try to do all of their shopping at WF, are the people who complain about how expensive it is

            WF is fairly priced for produce, meat, bulk items, and some specialty stuff. It is expensive for prepared foods, household supplies, and processed/packaged foods. If you’re actually buying…whole…foods…at WF, it’s not terribly expensive. And their store brand is totally reasonable on *some* canned/packaged foods too.

          • Wait a minute—CBASSinLogan’s response was to someone who suggested a Harris Teeter or Giant at the 9th and U location instead of a Whole Foods. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you agree with each other.

      • I live at 16th and Columbia, and live within easy walking distance of a Giant (14th and Park), a Safeway (16th and Ontario) and a Harris Teeter (17th and Kalorama). You could even throw Target in there for good measure. In a densely packed neighborhood, there’s never enough grocery stores.

      • No, it’s not convenient enough for regular use. People want a neighborhood grocery store, not a “just south of my neighborhood” grocery store.

      • survey says, “no”.

  • If trader joes in any indication, theres plenty of demand

  • It’s not too close to P Street, which is often overly crowded. I still wish they would put one in Columbia Heights.

  • I’m still waiting for ONE grocery store in my neighborhood !

  • PLEASE come to Columbia Heights or Petworth. Please??? I promise you there are just enough yuppies to give you good business, and then we won’t have to drive down to Logan Circle or U Street.

    • I agree. A little farther up Georgia Av from 9th & U St should still allow you to provide relatively close service to the U street area, but also incorporate the massive population in Columbia Heights & Petworth. I’d look within walking distance to the Petworth metro… Isn’t U St too close to P St? Especially given that 14th just got a Trader Joes as well.

      • I’m thinking georgia and columbia/irving type area would be perfect. Don’t know where it’d go, maybe over that vegan restaurant?

        • Not enough space over the vegan restaurant, I’d think — it’d probably have to be a larger parcel. Maybe the Murry’s site? (Or is something already slated to go in there? I can’t remember.)

  • Yessssss. I’m already spending the equity in my house in anticipation.

  • I wish they would put one in MVT square to serve the residents in that part of town. The closest is the P Street location and that’s a bit of a hike, especially if loading up with groceries..

  • Meanwhile, for some reason, nobody wants to set up shop in Columbia Heights, which is insane.

    • You mean besides the gigantic Giant right smack in the middle?

      • And the Target that has a full grocery store.

        • its hardly a full grocery store. no butcher, deli, produce really leaves something to be desired. Its a full grocery store in the way that 7 eleven is a restaurant.

      • have you been to that giant?

      • The CH Giant has gotta be one of the worst stores in the city, if not the region. Every time I give it a chance, I walk out thinking “never again.” Overcrowded, mediocre stock/selection, and rude, even unruly staff and customers. Seeing public arrests happen there on two different occasions is not that appealing, either.

        • seriously I hate it. I shop near work (in VA) instead of going there. I’ve never found decent produce there. Its freaking awful.

        • you clearly need to visit the Safeway in the H/Bladensburg area. it’s stellar.

    • Agreed – more options needed in CH, probably north of the Giant

    • In all seriousness, I wonder if the ever-present crime in Columbia Heights is scaring them off. Not a week goes by when I don’t come to this site and read about some stabbing, shooting, mugging, robbery, etc., within a few blocks off 14th and Park.

      • I doubt the execs at supermarket corporate headquarters are reading this blog, if that’s what you mean. (I know, it’s not.) More seriously, I would say I doubt it. I’m guessing that decisions like this depend on economic, financial, demographic, and competitive factors, not on crime statistics. I suppose you could argue that crime can have an affect on those factors, but I’d be surprised if there’s any direct relationship.

      • I doubt that crime is much different around 9th & U, or 14th & P for that matter.

        • This too. As disturbed as some CH residents seem to be by crime in their neighborhood, if it’s not stopping house price increases it’s not stopping supermarkets either.

  • As someone who lives between Logan Circle and U Street, this does seem too close together and I would personally prefer a Harris Teeter. That being said, for people who live northeast of me, I can see it being a great location. The question is how many suitable locations exist for a large grocery store like Whole Foods to serve the LeDroit Park, Shaw, Columbia Heights neighborhoods and particularly the area around the 9:30 club which is going to be vastly different in the next five years. The population density may ultimately be enough to support two Whole Foods locations without cannibalizing the other. It would be interesting to see what suitable locations exist in each neighborhood that are currently underserved. I would imagine someone has done that market research. Just because there is a need and the proper population density, doesn’t mean there is the right space for a large store. Where are those spots where everything lines up correctly?

    • I’m sure the folks who live in LeDroit Park are quite excited by this news…definitely lots of folks with disposable income within walking distance and a boon for the east side of the U Street corridor

  • Wow. I would be spoiled for options between the Giant at O st and a Whole Foods! This would really send the neighborhood over the top – which I think is a mixed blessing. I get excited at these announcements but then also think to myself that this wont be a neighborhood I will want to be in anymore in 5+ years. But then we can sell or rent, so it will be ok. But I can already picture myself hankering for the good ol’ Shaw.

    • The one with all the gun violence?

      • I love it when people get nostalgic for the good ol’ days in shaw. The open-air drug markets were some of the best in the country! Really raked in the tourist dollars.

        • the violence wasn’t to totality of existence, nor part of the nostalgia. it’s a shame that people don’t understand that.

  • open it at the UPO HQ site, 3rd and RI Ave NW. The property used to be a Safeway for Ledroit and Bloomingdale decades ago. It should be returned to that use. I’m sure not-for-profit UPO could find a new property where their employees can park a conspicuous number of bmw’s and jag’s.

    • +1

    • seems like you don’t know what a nonprofit actually is.

    • The BMWs and Jags in that parking lot belong to the good folks who attend Mt Pleasant Baptist – they use the UPO parking lot on Sundays. The city helped the UPO get that building and convert it into office space, so moving out now would seem like taxpayers weren’t getting their money’s worth – UPO has only been there for a few years. That being said, the neighborhood has changed a ton since UPO moved in and their huge parking lot no longer makes sense. Whole Foods might also be able to get that lot for cheaper than at 9th and U anyway. As an immediate neighbor, I’d be supportive of a Whole Foods going in there, but only on the condition that they buy the adjacent Elks Lodge also.

    • Yes this “charity” is such a scam

  • This is so freakin’ close to the P Street location, not sure if this could be true. I’d wish they’d build it a little further down Florida, towards NE.

    • Seriously. While all these folks are bitching about not having 4 grocery stores in walking distance, I’m stuck with Sav-a-Lot and a shitty “new” market at 4th and RIA NE in my area.

      But that said, I made my own bed.

      • houseintherear

        I don’t believe people are bitching about not having many stores… it’s more celebrating that a new store will be closer than others. There’s a difference there.

      • so move? your rent is likely much cheaper than ours.

        • If you read my comment, I stated that I made my bed, so I lie in it. I bought here and I love it, but I’d be thrilled to have just one option offering better choices that I could walk to.

          There are lots of good folks in NE that are way under served.

      • OMG yes….. Burn down that whole Foreman Mills shopping center. It doesn’t have to be Whole Foods, but a Wegman’s would be sweeeeet!

    • Nah, not that close. I would never walk back from the P Street location with two heavy grocery bags, but I can easily walk back from 9&U.

  • Even in NYC their stores don’t seem that close together and they closed the Congressional Plaza store when they opened at White Flint even though I suspect that both could have been profitable. OTOH, the one at GW seems to do okay–mostly because of the cafe stuff, even though it’s only a mile or so from P Street, but it also has no immediate competition except for Trader Joe’s. Petworth actually might be a better choice–good investment for the future and it would draw from the better off sections of CH. Still, they may see 9th & U as analogous to GW–they would do well drawing from Howard, which seems to get plenty of status obsessed students just like GW.

    • Their lower Manhattan stores are each about 1 mile apart. This would be about the same. There’s about 115K people living in zipcodes 20001, 20010, and 20009, which almost all falls within a mile of 9th and U. That’s not Manhattan-dense, obviously, but it’s enough to support several grocery stores. Rockville/White Flint isn’t really any kind of comparison.

      • Oops, didn’t finish my thought. Rockville/White Flint isn’t really any kind of comparison. It’s much less dense, and virtually all of their shoppers are arriving via car. Another 3 minutes drive makes no difference at all.

  • I live near 12th and U and go to the Whole Foods at P. Would definitely like a shorter walk………

  • The buildings being built at 9th and U don’t seem big enough for a Whole Foods, unless they bulldoze the CVS at 7th and U (please!). So I guess that leaves the 9th and W spot. I say go for it. There’s plenty of demand to go around.

    • The CVS land belongs to HU. JBG for whole foods and Harris Teeter at the Howard town Center. No really. Miracles happen

  • They should consider the lot at 14th & Upshur, Where the Geico is/was and where there’s a whole lotta space vacant and for lease.

    • WF doesn’t exactly seek out “vacant” space. 😉

    • Now you’re talkin’! To anonymous 4:09, WF built the P Street store, so I don’t see why they couldn’t do the same elsewhere.

      • I guarantee you 100% that Whole Foods neither built nor owns the P Street store. I’m sure it’s leased from someone. Besides that, wasn’t it a Freshfields before it was a Whole Foods?

        • I can’t tell you whether Whole Foods owns the building, but I do know with 100% certainty that the store was built to be a Whole Foods. It may have opened as a Fresh Fields, but Whole Foods already owned Fresh Fields at that point.

          • Wasn’t it really a garage built out as a Whole Fields/Freshfields, though? I’m just saying, WF building a custom store by itself with no mixed use in a city is not happening, at least not these days (and especially not on Upshur).

  • It would be great to have a WF in Petworth.

  • This would be a great development. That P street location drives me mad. Anyone who thinks 9th/U is too close to P Street has not spent enough time inside of that location. It is so, so busy no matter what day or hour you go. They could open up a new WF one block away and I bet it would be every bit as busy and profitable as any other WF in this country, probably more so. The demand in that area far exceeds the supply. And judging by the amount of business that store does, many shoppers do not find other nearby “competitors” to be truly competitive at all. As someone else on here noted, I might sometimes go to Giant or Capital Supermarket to shop for certain items (Ziploc bags, ketchup, etc.), but I’m never doing my full grocery trip there. Even if you don’t prefer to do any of your own shopping at WF, if you’re in this neighborhood you should be jumping for joy at what this will do to your property value. A Teeter or Giant simply won’t have the same effect.

  • Can we please cut out the chatter about density, Giant, CH, etc? I find it very distracting as I fantasize about how much my house value is going up!

    • Good for your house value. You’ll need that extra value to pay for shopping at Whole Foods. 😛

  • I don’t necessarily think it’s too close to the other store – in urban markets, similar or even identical products are often close to each other. Example: Starbucks. Which one, you, ask? Haha! Exactly!
    However, I agree with a lot of the other commenters that it would be nice to see it further east than 9th and either further north or further south. LeDroit Park, Bloomingdale, Brookland, all ripe for the development a Whole Foods would bring. If the P Street store taught us anything, it’s that if you build it, they will come.

  • DMarx

    It’s amazing how this area went from a food desert (with only a 7-11 and specialty Japanese market) to a swamp of culinary delights (Yes!, HT, Streets, new WF?).

    I am nervous that they can’t all survive.

    What can we do to keep the food revolution alive? I can’t shop at all of them.

    • Just let Yes die, that place is the worst.

      • It’s really actually pretty good (at least the Petworth one). Smaller selection, but high quality stuff. Some staples are crazy overpriced, but you have to be smart…same as at WF.

  • Probably in the lot next to the Floridian?

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