Lots More Good News Coming To Our Neighborhoods!

by Prince Of Petworth February 6, 2008 at 11:27 pm 26 Comments

According to commenter Alaaro over at the Columbia Heights News Forum a Papa John’s is coming to 1417 Otis. Obviously no replacement for our great eating out options but for take out, man I love that garlic dipping sauce!

And according to the Express a Beer Paradise is Coming to Logan Circle in April. Apparently the unnamed place will be located on 14th St. near Rhode Island Ave.

And according to some folks who attended the Safeway meeting last night, the Georgia Ave. Safeway in Petworth will become a 60,000 sf “lifestyle” store with approx 200 residential units on top, designed by Torti Gallas.

  • That’s pretty interesting news about the Safeway. Nice to hear about all those residential units relatively close to the metro — good smart growth.

    So a lifestyle safeway means .. according to my research .. sushi and olive bars and a starbucks. I wonder if prices will increase for staple goods that could impact local lower income residents?

  • saf

    It was a frustrating meeting, with little good information. And as for a lifestyle store, well, it is just proof of what I have said about Safeway all along – they let the place rot until white folk with money started moving in. Now they want to take a ton of space (zoning variances will be required) and put in a “nice” store. Hmph. And price increases on staples seem pretty certain, along with a limited selection of staples. They made it pretty plain that this store (much like the new yuppie Giant over on Park Rd) will be much more pre-made food than actual groceries.

    I would appreciate a nice store. I just don’t know why anyone trusts them when they have been such bad neighbors for so many years. There’s a reason they don’t get my money.

  • poo poo

    welcome to capitalist society.

    that’s how it works.

    ask any slumlord….

  • Christina

    I too was at the meeting. I’d love a brand new store, I live steps away from that location. Realistically, I wonder if the market can bear more housing units, but I guess that’s their problem.

    It’s extremely frustrating, though, that they seemed to be saying “well, we’ll try but we can’t make any promises” when people asked about improvements now, and not in five years when this new store is supposed to be built. The store is old and shabby, we all get that. But why does it smell so strange inside? Why is it so poorly stocked? I know it’s not going to be like the Safeway up on Piney Branch, but it’s pretty bad. (Unlike others, I can’t actually complain about the service; I find the actual employees pleasant.)

    We’ll see how this goes…

  • GforGood

    In five years? Lol.. they sure start talking about it early.

    Btw, do store prices really depend on the location/quality of the store that much for a chain like Safeway?

    Saf, if you go to the Giant on Park, you will notice that only a fraction of the customers are yuppies. [Btw, nothing wrong with yuppies in my view].

  • Safeway actually has a really good relationship with DC. Unlike a lot of grocery stores, they didn’t leave the center city. This is true nationally as well. Sure the stores could have used some work, but when money is tight… I refuse to shop at Safeway more because they pulled out of central Virginia when the Virginia stores unionized, but their commitment to the city can’t be over stated. They know that Giant is about to poor a lot of money into their stores in the Washington region and have to renovate their own stores. The renovated Takoma Park area store is probably a model. (If you haven’t been to that store lately its really, really nice.)

    And no staples at the Columbia Heights Giant? Are you kidding me? It’s a great grocery store. The prepared foods seem pretty anemic actually. And certainly don’t take up that much space. (Prepared foods are growth industry, much better to have people buy a salad or Sandwich at Giant then go to another fast food joint.) I’ve seen whole stores be JUST prepared foods in other markets. Giant didn’t do that at all. And based on the cars in the parking lot (lots of ward 5 stickers), people are coming from all over the city to go to it. And based on the lines to check out there is definitely need for more grocery stores.

  • reuben

    Inaudible-I beg to differ. I can point out any number of former Safeway Stores in and around Petworth, Logan Circle, and Brentwood-for starters. They do seem to follow the “influx of white folks means we will return” formula…. Isn’t this supposed to be a “post-racial” society? Or so I hear on the radio, read in the papers…

  • 10RegalKingsize

    I doubt very much whether Giant or Safeway really care either way if their customers are black, white, Hispanic, Asian or Celts.

    I agree that these upgrades tend to come when “young professional types” move into the area.

    But I would assume that these chains would make the same changes in response to wealthy black people moving in, raising average incomes and house prices.

    And is it not better that long term, working class residents now have access to a fairly pleasant and comprehensive grocery store (esp. when compared with the “old Giant” on 14th, say), even if the motivation for the corporate owners was to appeal to the new neighborhood demographic.

    It’s not like they check your I-pod playlist on the way in to determine your yuppie/hipster credentials.

  • MKing

    The bottom line is that a grocery store is a business and businesses follow the money – that’s how capitalism work folks. I don’t think it is a race issue – it is a money issue. Grocery stores are not altruistic entities – they are businesses.

  • Anonymous

    No one else wants to dote on Papa John’s? Oh, that liquid, buttery, garlicky goodness you dip the crust in…reminds me of my college days, especially in the dorms around 2am.

  • Sveiks

    Hooray Beer!

  • CoHi Arkie

    One additional reason the CoHi Giant seems yuppie is tons of people are metroing in to use the thing. I have a ton of friends who live in the Chinatown area that come up because of its relative ease of use and product selection. Besides that, living practically next to the thing, the clientèle base is heavily waited to a minority demographic. I’m not completely sure what you think you are seeing there other than a huge melting pot. Hell, the thing has three aisles dedicated to latin american foods by themselves. Anyway, for what I actually wanted to add. I have a friend who was working at another architecture firm then Torti Gallas which was studying that Safeway site in petworth. The site itself is only 53,000 sq ft. per dc civil drawings. So believeing any claim to a 60,000 sq ft. retail shop is bogus. Good to hear they will try and move forward with the project, but expect several road blocks and delays.

    And I like me some Papa Johns bread sticks. Period.

  • Anonymous

    SAF, i was at the meeting and i definitely didn’t get the impression that the new safeway will be focusing on prepared foods. in fact, they were saying it would be similar to piney branch, which is where i shop now and is a great store except for the horrendous lines. but good selection of organics, fairly decent produce, and clean. (i’m an organic vegetarian type, so i pay attention to that stuff–giant produce tends to be substandard in my opinion).

    i also believe that they aren’t improving the store only because the neighborhood is gentrifying…i’m guessing it’s a response to the YES foods that’s coming in and the possible influx of other competitors. so sure, you can argue that all that is happening b/c of gentrification, but neither of the 2 current lifestyle stores the guy was comparing the project to are in upscale white areas–one is on georgia and piney branch and the other in bowie.

    my bigger concern is with the interim period. they’ll “arrange transport” for people to go up to piney branch, but that store is already WAY over capacity in terms of lines.

    also, the housing will be a total glut and the donatelli project isn’t even going to have a parking space designated for each unit!!!! that project is becoming a bit of a disaster, it seems. it seems like it should be much further along as it is, and now they say they only have 1 retail tenant–mocha hut!

  • Rob

    If you want to see a terrible grocery store check out the Giant on 9th St. between O and P, unfortunately its only one in easy walking distance for me, and it is always bad. Terrible produce, messy, obnoxious customers, and somehow they always manage to have ridiculous lines and unhelpful staff. My brother lives up by the Safeway in questions, and while it certainly isnt a palace I found it to be much nicer, and the staff went out of its way to be helpful, I would trade with you guys in a second.

  • DCDave05

    I was at the meeting also. I heard a store size of 50,000-55,000 sf. I also received the impression that the new store would have a larger selection of higher-quality prepared foods, not that the store would be predominantly prepared foods (or lacking in a large selection staples).

  • oden

    I have to disagree about the Giant in CH: what’s up with NEVER restocking the frickin’ shelves? Is there anyone running that place?? They never have Diet Coke (Lil’ Gal must have Diet Coke) — I mean, I know Diet Coke is a rare specialty item– but can I get a can? Is the magic Diet Coke Tree’s sap all dried out? I’m willing to spend American dollars. They also have approximately *0* jars of hot salsa. After all, who want’s salsa with flavor? They have the worst selection of meat on the planet (one time there were NO steaks… ZERO… zilch, not a single cut of beef other than a roast), stock the smallest (and most expensive) bags of charcoal on the planet, and not once, but twice they’ve been OUT OF BUTTER!

    No butter? Really? Is this 1943? Should I get my ration stamps out?

    Even better: once they were out of MATCHES. “Sorry, we don’t stock items readily found in the smallest, un-electrified hovels the Amazon.”

    There were Soviet stores in 1979 that had more basic foodstuffs (and cheerier staff).

    Veggies? I hope you like potatoes — a lot — because that’s about all they have a selection of. Once we found bok choy there and about died of a heart attack… we figured some kindly vegetable faerie must have put it there to confuse those of us forced to shop at such a crummy store.

    And “prepared food”? You want that 5 day old ham and (alleged) cheese sandwich or the wilted salad bar that looks like it was removed from a condemned Wendys in Omaha? I will personally pay for the hospital bills if you tell me you’ll eat that crap.

    “Yuppie”?!? Good luck finding something like heart of palm for a recipe (for Oden’s famous “Pork Ribs w/ Heart of Palm”). It’s about as “yuppie” as Uncle Bubba’s Ice House in Cut-N-Shoot, Texas.

    And let’s not even talk about the ridiculously long lines — for fear my head will explode and the Government will have to shut down Capitol Hill until the secret service can conduct a controlled explosion of the rest of remains — talk about making the Soviet system look efficient! “Hell-o?! Can we possible open HALF of the registers? There is a 90 year old woman feeling me up back here whilst trying to grab a jar of gherkins off the shelf! I’ve finally finished reading Moby Dick, now I know why I didn’t before. Have they cured cancer yet? Have we landed on Mars? Has Britney got out of the hospital?”

    The Safeway is old and creaky, so you are willing to give it a break, but the CH Giant is THE WORST new supermarket in the world. Also, the Safeway staff seem to be, well, at least alive. If the Georgia Ave. Safeway sold beer and wine (gowt to get the drink on) and had enough parking I’d go there all the time (suspicious cadaver smell and all) because with the empty shelves and added hassle the Giant is often a big-time “MEH”.

    Bring on a re-habbed Safeway (with beer and wine) now!

  • Oden, jeezus christ, if i didn’t agree with everything you said, i probably wouldn’t be laughing so hysterically right now… And here I thought the 90 year old woman was MY special friend…

  • lazy cake

    @ oden and IA-

    I’ll tell Mom to play nice next time. Sorry!

  • Steve

    Oden – Gorcery Stores in the city have always had a problem with stocking shelves. They have very little inventory storage beyond the shelves. I think the sububan stores have more space because more is avaible. Safeways in the City have always been called the “socialist safeway.” I wish they would study Whole Foods. They seem to find a way to keep shelves stock…except for half an hour before the Super Bowl. As for quality Giants in crummy areas. There is a pretty damn good Giant out Riggs road just across the boarder in PG that kicks both the CH and the Road Island Ave Giants ass. Produce is almost always fresh and lines are much shorter….problem is….no beer.

  • Nathan

    If Safeway was a bad neighbor, what about the neighbors that stole from the store? Or stood outside begging? It goes both ways. Money is money. But no company is going to invest in an area when the neighborhood is sketchy. You have a problem with Safeway. You should take it up with the residents that caused it to be that way.

    As for the Giant on Park Rd., it doesn’t seem like a yuppie store to me. Seems like a nice grocery store. It’s a free world. If you don’t like it go somewhere else. That Giant will get along just fine without your business. Ditto if you can’t afford it. Get in where you fit in.

  • Nathan

    reuben, this society is post racial. But safety trumps everything. Blame the young black men that rob and kill each other and anyone else for stifling development. Blame the bums that beg in front of the store. Blame the the theft by customers. But don’t blame Safeway for recognizing this and acting accordingly. Bottom line: if you want development in your neighborhood, you have to earn it. And you can’t earn it by robbing,killing, stealing, and begging!

  • reuben

    No, Nathan. In this (sorry) far from post-racial society, you have to be able to
    live where the amenities are.

  • oden

    Nathan: Some folks might say that certain leaders of the free world got where they did by robbing (elections), killing (“terrorists”, American soldiers, stray Iraqis), stealing (another election), and begging (for votes from inbreds).

    Maybe the youths need better role models?

  • DCzSlimmest

    Unfortunately, the theory that grocery chains only improve when whites move in is a ‘bit’ inaccurate. Cases in point:1) Safeway in Adams Morgan 2) Safeway at 17th and P NW 3) Giant on Wisconsin Ave near Cafe Deluxe 4) Giant across from Univ of DC on Conn Ave. All of the stores exist in what would easily be considered “white” or “gentrified” neighborhoods yet each of the stores mentioned are a wretched mess. I think the whites are still waiting for their “nice” stores. Believe me, Columbia Heights/Petworth/Mt P. have PLENTY of businesses for those who prefer to “keep it real”.

    Black Columbia Heights native

  • Anonymous

    in my experience, the customers are so rude at the giant on park. waiting in line there is horrible. the safeway on piney branch rocks!

  • Christina

    “If you want to see a terrible grocery store check out the Giant on 9th St. between O and P, unfortunately its only one in easy walking distance for me, and it is always bad.”

    True story–I went to that Giant to pick up a party platter. I go out into the parking lot and I see one of my back car doors is wide open. What the f…? I ask the guys around if they saw anything, and one guy who I had seen earlier snacking on some chicken was all, “no girl, no I ain’t seen nothing…”

    So I just peel on out of there becuase I was so freaked. Later I get home and do a more thorough search, and there’s a greasy bag of chicken bones on my back seat.


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