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What to do with the Petworth Safeway?

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) are political allies, with Fenty backing Bowser to replace him in Ward 4 when he became mayor, but they don’t agree on everything.

Such as the Petworth Safeway.

The store, at 3830 Georgia Avenue NW, is one of the chain’s oldest in the area and one of the only stores that the grocer has yet to update into its “lifestyle” format, which represents the company’s commitment to fresh produce and customer service. The Petworth store has no bakery, florist or deli counter, much less a 2,500-bottle wine cellar or an open-flame hearth for baking artisan breads that Safeway now offers in Georgetown. Last year, a teenager was shot in the head in the parking lot, making the property more of a concern to neighbors.

Since the Safeway property is large enough to accommodate more than a store, and is only a block from the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro station, Fenty would like to see a mixed-use development with a new Safeway, housing and underground parking. Safeway looked for development partners interested in the housing portion, but, given the state of the real estate market, nothing came of it.

Bowser is not happy about this. While in Las Vegas at the International Council of Shopping Centers retail convention in May, she said getting a new Safeway was a top priority of hers and that she wanted to see the mayor's economic development team work to get a new store built.

"We’re tired of waiting. We think something has to give with that store,” she said.

She views it as one of the final pieces needed to complete a vibrant, walkable commercial area around that Metro station. “I think we’re getting where we need to be with Petworth, with Safeway being the one big exception," she said.

She also wrote a letter to Valerie Santos, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, asking Santos to "immediately begin negotiations with Safeway to get a new store built at this location as soon as possible with the option to add a mixed use component at a later date."

By jonathan O'Connell  |  June 4, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
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