17
Feb
10

Interested in DC…

The ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) met in the area recently, and the fact that there is a lot of interest from retailers to expand in the DC area could prove beneficial for Rhode Island Ave NE. In regards to replacing the Safeway that is closing, here is an excerpt from the article from the Washington Business Journal about two major grocery store chains that are interested in DC:

Retailers looking to break into the region included two grocery stores — Greensboro, N.C.-based The Fresh Market and Edison, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp., which operates the ShopRite and PriceRite chains.

ShopRite is a regional grocer that operates in 6 states in the northeast (MD, DE, CT, NY, NJ, and PA). From my travels in these areas, they seem to be a clean and up-standing store. Owned by Wakefern Food Corporation, I have the personal contact information for the real estate division, Joe Gilchrist, who oversees this area. I will update this post once I speak with him.

The Fresh Market looks to be like a Whole Foods-type of stores. I have not been in any stores, but they already have stores in Maryland. Their criteria for a store is that they are +/-20,000 sqft, have +/-150,000 residents within 5 miles, and “Preference for convenient in-fill locations in established neighborhoods in close proximity to our target customer”.

If anyone is interested in either store, I will post in the near future how you can contact the right person to discuss this further. Here is the article from the Washington Business Journal that I referenced earlier.

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33 Responses to “Interested in DC…”


  1. 1 Woodie
    February 17, 2010 at 10:17 am

    All of the suggestions on possible stores so far include Wegman’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Aldi, Sav-a-lot and now Price Rite. I understand petitions are being signed for Trader Joes. Have you approached the Edgewood community about your interest in recruiting this store to the area? I’ve heard that many Edgewood residents were upset because they didn’t know about the rally at Safeway this past Monday. The next scheduled rally will be on Monday, Feb. 22 at 6 pm at this Safeway at 514 Rhode Island Avenue. The rally flyer is entitled: Community Rally to Protest the Closing of Edgewood Safeway. It states “If Safeway won’t stay, we will find a grocer committed to investing in our community. We deserve quality grocery choices.” The contact for this flyer is the Ward 5 Council Office at 202-724-8028.

    I do hope you can rally the Subareas in the Small Area Rhode Island Plan to include a grocery store from 17th Street NE to Eastern Avenue. One is severely needed. These recent snowstorms have really tested and strained our ability to go to the outlying grocery stores at the RIA metro and beyond. What choices of stores can you have come to this portion of Rhode Island Avenue?

  2. 2 Ward 5 Resident
    February 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I’ve been in a Fresh Market. From what I recall, they’re a smaller type store, more like a Trader Joe’s rather than a Whole Foods.

  3. 3 MisterWeederson
    February 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Unless the entire shopping center is changed (remodeled, and most stores closed, ie Forman Mills), we will certainly be looking at one of the more discount stores like Aldi/Save-a-lot. None of the more “yuppie” stores like Trader Joes, Wegmans, Wholefoods or even the Fresh Market will move there.

    As for a grocer in the upper part of RIA, I agree that it is MUCH needed. There are plenty of available lots for one to build on in this area. Again, it is going to take a LOT of negotiations, cleanup and redevelopment for an upscale store to move in, but I definitely think it is a possibility. I think a Harris Teeter would probably move in if the area made a huge commitment to change!

  4. 4 Woodie
    February 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I heard someone propose a Harris Teeter at one of the RIA Great Streets meeting for the area at RIA and Monroe Street. For some strange reason this suggestion didn’t get put into the plan.

    Let’s face it there’s nothing but vacant used car lots and most of the commercial buildings you see from Eastern Avenue to 17th Street are vacant. So what is there to change? It’s a no-brainer to put up a grocery store on any of those vacant lots! One could even use one of the lots for a Farmer’s market.

    The RIA Great Streets Arts District is not a “commitment to change.” Just look at the Arts District going east on Rt. 1. All of it looks pretty unsightly. I doubt if any of their shops bring in much revenue either.

  5. 5 rhodeislandinsider
    February 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    The real problem is the lack of leadership in this area. The ANC for the most part are ineffective in providing it. We need true leadership to bring change to our area, otherwise it will stay the same.

  6. 6 MisterWeederson
    February 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    By the way….

    I am sick and tired of there being 0 restaurants in this area worth eating at. I have been so the handful of places in Brookland and they have yet to impress. Whenever we go out to eat, it inevitably involves getting in the car and driving at least 10 minutes downtown or to H Street, or to upper NW. We even go up to Hanks at University Town Center. We are in dire need of food establishments in this part of town. If we get some nicer, trendy restaurants like they have in the U Street/H Street areas, it will attract the kinds of people who will then provide retailers with a reason to open here. If a crap-hole like H Street can do it, by God, so can we!

  7. 7 Ward 5 Resident
    February 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I wouldn’t say I’m totally blown away, but the San Antonio Tex-Mex place on 12th st is pretty good. I give it 6.5 out of 10 stars.

    But yes, sit down restaurants in this part of the city are rare, and many of us would support better restaurants if they existed.

  8. 8 Ward 5 Resident
    February 17, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I checked out the Brookland Yahoo group, there’s like 2000+ members. With such community involvement, why hasn’t there been more change?

  9. 9 Woodie
    February 17, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Yes! has become a viable part of the /Brentwood/Brookland/Edgewood/Michigan Park/Woodridge Communities. Casey Trees has taken up residence on 12th Street in an area where communities love greenspace. That’s the kind of “change” these communities like and respect. H Street once had a thriving business district which has been revived in the form of nightclubs. Both Brookland and Woodridge once had thriving small businesses. But big box stores in the neighboring suburbs drew shoppers away from supporting these once thriving small businesses with lower prices. Home Depot is doing well at its location at the Brentwood/RIA metro. But how much can one store attract loyal shoppers to the surrounding small businesses? Colonel Brooks will in short time be demolished and replaced by Condos/Apartments and some unknown eatery. That’s also the plan of the RIA Small Area Great Streets Plan. So, only time will tell if you actually get any “good” sit-down eateries. Both U Street and H Street are close to big employers like Uncle Sam. I’ve stressed the need for a street car and another rich “uncle” to employ people with good incomes that in turn can support the kind of businesses you’d like to see. Just having people live here by building lots of housing but shopping in other locations won’t work. Looking east on Rt. 1 at the Arts District from Mt. Rainier to Hyattsville you should also ask why it isn’t thriving. They’ve received so much money in government funding and all you see is them replacing one eyesore (used car lots) for another. I suppose that will be the fate of RIA.

    • 10 Ward 5 Resident
      February 19, 2010 at 12:47 am

      A lot of people live in Brookland and commute downtown. I do this as do my neighbors. Brookland offers a lifestyle of upper NW, at half the cost. That is, nice tree lined streets with a short commute to work. The residential portions are quite nice, IMO. The commercial districts sucks because of maligned efforts by “neighborhood activists” to keep out big corportations. I guess they love their used car lots, liquor stores, and carryouts.

      If money is being lost to shopping districts in neighboring jurisdictions, does it not make sense to build competitive retail in the neighborhood to keep those dollars here? Why can’t we have a Walmart and other stores that everyone else has? Instead we support our “local businesses” like carryouts, corner stores, and used car lots that are owned by suburbanites from MD and VA.

      As long as everyone opposes development on a large scale, nothing is ever going to change with RI Ave. Just look at Columbia Heights. Mom and pop liquor stores didn’t change the area, big money from the evil Target and Best Buy did.

  10. 11 webster
    February 18, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I can’t help but feel like the Safeway conversation has become a bit Edgewood-centric. While Edgewood may be the closest in proximity to the Safeway, the reality is that the Rhode Island grocers serve a much broader community, including Brookland, Woodridge, Michigan Park, and even Mt Rainier. I hope Councilmember Thomas and others will keep this broader customer base in mind as they make a decision about the future of the shopping center.

    • 12 Ward 5 Resident
      February 19, 2010 at 12:49 am

      That’s probably because the only people crazy enough to shop at that shopping center lives in Edgewood. Anyone else with a car is going to drive elsewhere, taking their spending dollars to MD or VA.

  11. 13 MisterWeederson
    February 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Woodie, the difference between the RIA corridor and the Hyattsville/Mt. Rainier areas are that we (RIA area) have/will have better public transportation in the way of metro and, one day, the street cars.

    Also, Colonel Brooks is a dump and has horrible food, so I’m glad they are putting something else in that space. I think it would be great if we could start petitioning Michael Landrum (of Ray’s fame) to open a restaurant in our area. All of his restaurants are great and he’s opening one in the Benning area. Gillian Clark (formerly of Colorado Kitchen) is also said to be looking in that area as well.

    Hopefully, the addition of the Costco/Target/Shoppers in Fort Lincoln and the redevelopment of the Safeway center in Edgewood will somehow fill in the in-between space from Edgewood to Woodridge.

  12. 14 Woodie
    February 19, 2010 at 8:50 am

    We NEED to focus on Woodridge. The Great Streets RIA plan just wants to put up useless arts businesses in this area. This is what 12th Street tried to do and failed. Would Michael Landrum put up a restaurant on Rt. 1 between 17th & Eastern Avenue? Maybe this can attract a grocery store to this Subarea.

    In the meantime while PG’s Route 1 corridor considers extending the street car line one day, hears what’s being instituted for transportation between Mt. Rainier and College Park:

    Announcement for Dedicated Route One Bus Service
    Bus 17 from US 1/IKEA/Mount Rainier
    Greetings:

    Council Members Eric Olson, Will Campos, and Tom Dernoga are pleased to announce that bus service dedicated to the Route One corridor has begun. The bus service runs between Mount Rainier, at the District line, to Ikea in College Park, making thirty-five stops along the way.

    This dedicated line of bus service will increase the connectivity of the communities and businesses located along the corridor as well as the University of Maryland. The availability of this option should also lessen vehicular traffic on Route One and support economic revitalization.

    Over time, informational material for the route will be branded to reflect the ubiquitous symbol of Route One as a way to further define and promote this service. In the meantime, the bus service has begun to operate and more information, including a schedule of stops as well as fare information, can be found by visiting: http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/AgencyIndex/DPW&T/Transit/pdfs/route-17.pdf

    Will Campos
    County Council, Prince George’s County, Maryland

  13. 15 Ms. D
    February 24, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Here’s the link for The Fresh Market’s contact information. With Harris Teeter coming to the NY Ave area, this is about the only type of store that will be able to compete in the area. Let them know we want them!

    http://www.thefreshmarket.com/company/contactus.aspx

    • 16 misterweederson
      February 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm

      Am I the only person here who has ever driven up and down Rhode Island Ave NE? I feel like some of you think that this is Spring Valley or something and that we have the ability to lure this upscale grocery stores. Have any of you actually been to a Fresh Market? Having been to a few, I must say that it is on the expensive side…more so even than Whole Foods. The people who live in/frequent this area are not going to spend that kind of money on groceries. I think that you guys are under the impression that NE Washington is this exclusive area like upper NW Washington. If we can’t keep a rodent infested Safeway, what makes you think that an upscale grocer will look twice at the neighborhood. The entire length of RIA NE is more underdeveloped than MOST other major thoroughfares in Washington, and the more developed areas don’t even have an upscale grocery store. You need to start setting your sights on something more attainable. The most expensive home on the market in the 20017/20018 areas at the moment is only at $625,000, and that’s a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home…the same price as a 1-2 bedroom condo in most of NW DC. These low home prices and lack of businesses with employees making $100k+ aren’t going to excite a lot of in potential grocery stores.

  14. 17 Woodie
    February 26, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Where on Rhode Island Avenue do you want this Fresh Market? If I contact them I want the grocery store or any grocery store located about Monroe Street NE and Rhode Island Avenue. If you want the Fresh Market at 4th and Rhode Island be sure to let the Edgewood/Eckington/Brookland groups know so that you can get a lot more support. Has anyone investigated the best location for a grocery store on the far eastern tip of Rhode Island? We sorely need it! I just don’t understand why people in the Langdon/Woodridge area can easily get a dog park, a skate board park, and new playground equipment in Langdon Park, but don’t want a place for us to closely do our grocery shopping. Afterall, the dogs and kids need to eat, too!

    • 18 D on monroe
      February 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      I don’t need a grocery store right around the corner from me on RIA and Monroe. I can drive to Giant. I want a restaurant. Any nice sit down restaurant will do. Hell, I’ll take a dreaded starbucks!

  15. 19 Ms. D
    February 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Sorry, but I gotta say it needs to be @ the Metro. Right now, I see numerous people using the Metro to shop at Giant. With Harris Teeter being right off the Metro, their business will go there unless something competitive is introduced. Giant is remodeling and that’s great, but there’s absolutely no way they could compete with Harris Teeter. Even though I live very close to that Giant, I will shop at Harris Teeter once it opens, unless something of equal quality opens nearby…all I have to do is hop off the Metro on my way home one day a week and pick up my groceries from the concierge service and then onward home.

    That’s not to say that I think you don’t deserve a closer grocery store. However, I will point out that it seems grocery stores tend to cluster close to Metro stops. On the Hill, we had numerous small, ridiculously priced neighborhood markets – which were fabulous for beer, wine, or the occasional “oops out of mustard” moment, but terrible for regular shopping (not much variety or quality, but SUPER high prices) – and two major grocery stores, both on the periphery of the neighborhood and near the Metro (Potomac Ave.). I don’t even count the Yes! on the Hill because it’s a joke, but it also happens to be right across the street from a Metro. Again, in Columbia Heights, the new grocery store is basically right at the Metro (in that case, they followed the pattern of development, which is likely to be repeated here). The Giant at 8th and O is 3-4 blocks from 2 Metros. The Trader Joe’s is a few scant blocks from the Metro (5, I think?). At Cleveland Park, the Yes! and Magruders are basically on top of the Metro. If you look at other Metro stops, the trend continues, and encompasses stores ranging in quality from our trashy Safeway to Whole Paycheck.

    It also seems to me that the percentage of residents who own and regularly use cars around here is much higher than in other parts of the city, and even some of the suburbs. I have yet to run into anyone in my neighborhood who doesn’t own a car, many of them are multi-car households, and it’s rare to see a car sit in one spot for more than a few days. In contrast, I certainly was not the only one to forget where I parked my car on the Hill, on a regular basis (hey, you don’t look at it for 2 weeks, you tend to forget), and I can’t begin to count the number of people I know who don’t own cars and live on the Hill, Columbia Heights, Mt. Vernon Square, even a few in Arlington, etc.

    A grocer will look at all of this and conclude they need to be near the Metro to survive. Those who live outside of walking distance to the Metro will drive or shop on their way home (most people still use the Metro to commute, even if they don’t live that close), while they will draw those who are hopping off the Metro for the fast grocery shopping, plus additional customers who will START doing that because it’s the highest-quality store in the area.

    That’s what needs to be overcome in order to convince a grocer to move in further up Rhode Island. Maybe it could be sold as a convenient place for commuters to stop off on their way home? That’s a possibility, but keep in mind that the demographics of PG County are more in line with Giant or Shoppers than the fancier stores. But I think the most successful location for a higher-end grocer right now would be @ the Metro, and success tends to beget further successes, and certainly makes a later argument easier – okay, you’ve got a successful store in this neighborhood, you can have more successful stores in the neighborhood, especially if you locate so as to draw those who had to drive to the other store away.

  16. 20 Woodie
    February 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    If a Metrorail stop is all we need to attract a reputable grocer at Monroe Street, NE and Rhode Island Avenue, then your argument provides further evidence and support for the Streetcar line along Rhode Island Avenue! The Streetcar line will also cut down on the traffic and pollution caused by individual drivers and provide more local products and services to be closer to the MANY OF US who don’t live near the Metrorail. The Harris Teeter that is coming to NoMa (aka NY Avenue) was supposed to go on H Street with its highly touted nightlife. H Street lost out and is now seeking another high profile grocer. As we speak the Streetcar tracks are now being laid on H Street. Rhode Island Avenue has been slated among Phase 2 of the corridors which will have Streetcars. If H Street (which has no Metro stop) can plan and recruit for a grocery store, other parts of Rhode Island besides 4th Street can, too! We’ve got the Streetcar on our side which was intentionally omitted from the draft for the RIA Great Streets plan.

    I think Costco, Target, and Shoppers at Fort Lincoln will do more to bring down the 4th & Rhode Island Shopping Center. That’s where I plan to shop once these stores are up and operational. I also prefer to shop at Glut and Yes!, but only for light shopping and their specialty items. Ditto, for Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

  17. 21 MonK
    March 1, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    To develop RIA and bring the type of stores mentioned in the above posts, the street cars are essential to bring people to and from Metro, but so is higher density development on RIA. Are people willing to deal with the related parking issues of that sort of development? Without new residential development, much of this discussion is simply dreaming.

  18. 22 Ms. D
    March 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I think the streetcar line will be a great thing. It will definitely provide added incentive for businesses to locate all along the corridor. Thing is, it’s several years off. Until ground is broken, interested businesses and developers will understand that the project could be called off. However, I do think the groundbreaking for the line will be a watershed moment.

    Of course new residential development is all but going to happen. The number of affordable locations in the city is declining precipitously. Rents in parts of THIS area are starting to climb. People will get used to the parking issues, especially if they don’t have to drive for services. With services within easy walk/Metro distance, people can park their car and leave it, or get rid of it altogether. While people who live on the Hill complain sometimes about the parking (I complained about the commuters exclusively), it doesn’t stop many people from living there. Plus, many of the existing areas feature parking or space to create parking for the residences. THAT’S something you don’t find in most of the city.

    Sorry misterweederson, I refuse to settle for Forman Mills, crappy take-out, and liquor stores. I have a lot of disposable income (more because of living here instead of the pricer areas of town), many of my friends are moving to this neighborhood, and we’re not going to sit by and passively hope that something better comes along. We may not lure an upscale grocer in the near future, but at least the public effort to do so highlights the potential of the neighborhood.

    • 23 MisterWeederson
      March 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      I never suggested we should settle for a Forman Mills…quite the opposite. I just want people to be realistic about how you have to go about getting something to happen. We must actively rally for the development of the area around the metro. I totally understand your frustration. There is NO edible restaurant in the area, certainly not one that delivers and WAY too many liquor stores and storefront churches. All that I’m saying is that if you look around, there are entirely too many people who don’t care what moves in to this area (hence Forman Mills moving in in the first place). Before we can lure in any business of any quality, we are going to have to do a facelift of the area.

  19. 24 d on monroe
    March 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

    This is also a double edged sword. I moved here from the hill specifically because I wanted to get away from fighting for parking, the high prices, etc. So while I look forward to RIA looking like a dump, I’m not thrilled at the prospect of my quiet block changing into “the hill”.

    I also think we need to focus big stores around/near the metro and encourage smaller development on other parts of ria. That’s my opinion.

  20. 25 Woodie
    March 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

    How do you know ahead of time that a Forman Mills or any other unwanted business is going to move in? Very often the ANC commissioner for the area might have some knowledge and the business owner may try to sway her into supporting his business. As a result all the permits and licenses get approved without any community involvement. I’ve seen Councilmembers courted by the undesireable entrepreneurs and up goes the down building. I don’t know how Forman Mills is doing economically. I’ve seen a lot of people go from there with their yellow Forman Mills shopping bags to the Metro.

    Putting a Streetcar along RIA is a no-brainer. There was one there before without the density that people keep saying is needed for economic development. (RIA has been placed in phase 2 which falls within the 20 year scope of the RIA Great Streets Plan.) Replacing this former Streetcar line will be easier and quicker than starting, completing, and connecting the one in Anacostia. Other major cities are getting involved in initiatives to restore defunct Trolley lines. So density or no density, the Streetcar line makes sense. Using Federal Stimulus money for this Streetcar restoration would be the best use I’ve seen of Stimulus Funding so far.

    RIA once had a robust business corridor, which did include things like automobile dealerships, but also the bare essential businesses like grocery stores and cleaners. Using 12th Street as an example built near a Metro line, people would frequent the small businesses if quality products and services were maintained. This is the problem there and eveywhere. Safeway did not maintain quality product and services, so the people left. For any small business along RIA, if the quality of products and services are not maintained the people leave for other stores, density or no density.

    • 26 MisterWeederson
      March 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      Woodie….when is the last time you drove past that shopping center? There has been a Forman Mills store in that shopping center for a few months already. How could you have possibly missed that hideous yellow and red signage?

  21. 27 Ms. D
    March 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t think there’s much of a risk of this area becoming anything like the Hill. It’s already a much lower-density community in many places, with larger yards and bigger frontages than most Hill/Georgetown/Columbia Heights/etc. rowhouses. So, even if the area becomes hip, I don’t see a Hill-level parking fiasco. Especially when you consider that places with parking are a rarity on the Hill and commonplace around here. Will parking get tighter? Actually, that’s a maybe. I know LOTS of people on my block have more than one car per household, while my experience with the middle- to upper-middle income people in DC is that they tend to have only one car (sometimes none, if the services they need are walkable). Also, can I tell you how many cars with out-of-state plates exist in my neighborhood? Despite the zoned parking? THAT would get smacked down real quick if the area developed (hello parking enforcement money-maker). My money’s on parking getting somewhat tighter (there are some vacant apartments and homes in my area, as well as lots that would most likely be developed), but not crazy. My street and those around it have the capacity available to absorb a good number of extra cars.

    I don’t see a problem with focusing on bigger stores at the Metro and smaller stores elsewhere. After all, that’s how most of the city is arranged. I’m also a huge fan of independent business, and look to support them as much as possible. However, I think this area is primed to have a nice balance, with access to the Home Depot, Radio Shack, and the other chain stores around the Metro, and local businesses scattered about the neighborhoods.

    I also see the value in pulling some businesses up instead of replacing them. Georgetown, the Hill, and other desirable communities have liquor stores, they just happen to be higher-end. Some of the liquor stores we have around here can be improved and part of a developing community, some have no desire to sell anything other than 40’s and cheap cigs. I found a store that will stock my favorite wines and snacks, despite being too high end for most of their current clientele, and they get all my and my friends’ business. They’ll still be here as things change, as they’ve already demonstrated that they have the foresight to sniff the winds of change. I’m also ready to admit that I like saving a buck or two and that discount stores can be a part of a desirable community. Did you know that there’s a dollar store on 8th St. SE? However, having AJ Wright, Forman Mills, and, possibly, Ross, all within a stone’s throw of each other makes other retailers think that the area can’t sustain anything better. All I’m advocating is that those who want and would patronize better businesses get out there and make some noise. Write letters to the companies and let them know who really lives here. Make noise on blogs and listservs. Talk to your ANC people (I know, I know, some of them are useless), and make sure that they understand that you will not take kindly to undesirable businesses being given tax breaks to locate here, and that your views will be loudly declared at public venues and the ballot box. Attend your ANC meetings and chime in on these types of issues.

    I first moved to DC in 2002. At that time, Columbia Heights was SCARY. Eastern Market was only to be visited for weekend shopping at the market. The south side of the Capitol, right near the House office buildings, was pretty sketch-tastic. I stayed for several months, moved away, and came back in 2007. The change in the city was AMAZING. Since 2007, I’ve seen massive changes. NY Ave. was SOOOOOOOO much scarier less than 3 years ago. I have friends who were front-liners there with stories of getting shot at/near, and now I visit them without fear (I actually considered buying there, too). Potomac Ave. has improved substantially. Even the area near RFK looks to be coming along in fits and starts. U St. was alllllllmost there in 2007, and keeps chugging along steadily. The area between Nationals Stadium and the Hill was a pretty terrifying walk in 2008, and now they’re building $700K+ houses there. The housing crisis and economic collapse didn’t hit DC as hard as other places, and people are moving here because there are jobs available. These people typically want to live in the city, close to Metro, and they’re willing to invest in developing a neighborhood. Making noise will lure these people, which will lure better retailers.

    The police are certainly doing their part around here…I have been amazed by their efficient and effective responses to even the slightest whiff of criminal activity. The least we can do is make some noise!

  22. 28 Woodie
    March 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Yes, and even RIA has improved. I can remember in the late ’90’s driving on NY Avenue and seeing a thicket of prostitutes. I complained to the police. They told me an effort was underway to remove the prostitution from NY Ave. I told them it would move to RIA which it did. The police told me that the plan also included removing prostitution from RIA. It has. Of course, residents including those near the Lodge have helped remove other forces contributing to prostitution in the area. I would say all over the District has improved.

    My favorite dollar store is “Dollar Tree.” It is a true dollar store where everything really does cost a dollar. They even have stores in Fairfax County and Alexandria. The best Dollar Tree is at Landmark Plaza in Alexandria. The one on Michigan Avenue is nice, but has deteriorated a bit with age. It’s important that if a Trader Joe’s/FarmMarket/Harris Teeter were to come to RIA that it maintain the high quality shoppers expect and get at their other locations. Safeway did not do this.

    Ft. Totten is an example of housing development near a Metro station that has not taken off. They have a surplus of unsold condos/apartments/homes with more housing on the way. The Cafritz housing/opera/mixed use development on its own will provide a decent grocery store at that location. If not, you have to go across the District line to the Giant which I have found comparable to the one at RIA.

  23. 29 Anonymous
    March 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I agree with everything Ms. D said in her posts. When I read that Ross was considering the old Safeway, it made me think that we are going to have way too many discount clothing outlets.

    I moved here last year and also have a lot of disposable income. I would like to do more shopping in the neighborhood, but aside from Home Depot, Giant, and CVS, there’s not a lot that I want to spend money on.

    More density on RI Ave around the metro makes a lot of sense too.

  24. 30 Woodie
    March 4, 2010 at 8:34 am

    The Edgewood Civic Community is conducting a survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/99CG2JP. The ECA website is located at http://www.theedgewoodcivicassociationdc.org.

    I have used this survey to voice my concerns and give recommendations on grocers, discount stores, churches, signage, and anything else at the 4th & RIA plaza.

  25. 31 Woodridge Whisperer
    March 15, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I’m glad to hear other people in Ward 5 eager for progress along RIA. I love my neighborhood… the people are wonderful, my house is coming along… but oh what I wouldn’t do for better commerce options and reliable transportation. We are just at the border of MD/DC. We try to utilize the METRO, but after 6pm it seems like it’s faster to walk 1.8 miles than wait an hour for a bus. I love the idea of Trolleys or what about smaller buses that run in the “low” traffic hours?

    Beyond better transport options, what RIA needs is a mix of established business and entrepreneurs. We need some eateries with instant recognition, such as Chipotle. But we also need some originals to be proud of. I look at admiration at the young men who have recently opened a diner on Bladensburg RD NE, around Trinidad. It is not a nice location, but it has heart. I just hope that they can keep their spirit. I raved to my friends, they went… they waited 1 hour for eggs & hash browns… now they won’t go back. I hope that more people have better experiences. I hope that when new businesses open up along RIA that we support them with patience and useful feedback. We as locals need to support businesses that try to add to the neighborhood. We need to build relationships with the businesses. But just as we need to be there for the new businesses, they need to listen to the community. Together, if we work towards a common goal of making a more functional and welcoming area, we will ALL be better off for it, City, Citizens, & Business Owners.

    PS: My vote for grocery store is Trader Joe’s, and put it somewhere closer to Eastern Ave/RIA so I can walk ;)

    • 32 Ms. D
      March 16, 2010 at 10:17 am

      We need to build relationships with the businesses. But just as we need to be there for the new businesses, they need to listen to the community.

      Truer words have never been spoken, and reflect my earlier comment that my local liquor store has noted that some people in the community have different demands than the clientele they’re used to serving (the old 40s and Mad Dog crowd). Perhaps we should start our own blogroll of sorts by calling out the stores that have potential/cater to a respectable clientele.

      I shop at JJ Liquors in the old DMV plaza. They were more than happy to go on the hunt for my favorite wines. Not great, and they could afford to do something about the loiterers, but they listen at least somewhat. They also have their own security guy (not uniformed or anything, but he’s tossed a few people out while I’ve been there), so they clearly don’t want trouble.

      I also like the MGM Roast Beef sandwich shop on Brentwood. Nice, well-decorated, clearly independent place with good food.


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