According to this report of the protest that was held today, organized by Councilmember Thomas, didn’t do anything to change Safeway’s mind. In fact, Councilmember Thomas was told beforehand that the decision by Safeway to leave was final.
Here is an article on the rally: Neighbors Rally, But Safeway Will Close
Now there is talk about what the Council is going to do to bring a retailer into that spot, specifically, a grocery store. The problem with trying to get another grocery store to come in is whether or not a “good” grocery store would go into that location. The shopping center is already in need of a makeover. It is downtrodden and does not look appealing. Hopefully, Councilmember Thomas will take the initiative on this and take advantage of the situation to draw in a developer who will remodel the shopping center. The shopping center is within the Great Streets Program that is suppose to come to Rhode Island Ave NE, and, this is probably a great way for Thomas to show leadership of bringing the kind of change to our Avenue as he made over a year ago. A good developer, with the proper incentives (TIF, etc), could do wonders with that location especially given its location next to a metro station.