Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tenleytown Safeway: Giant Part 2?

Safeway has been working on redevelopment plans of its Tenleytown store for the better part of a year. The most recent version has won praise from the Alliance for Rational Development noting:

ARD welcomes Safeway's modernization of its facility in our community, one which promises to provide new and improved services while at the same time respecting the tenets of rational development by respecting and protecting the essential character of our neighborhood.

GreaterGreaterWashington noted the irony of such support.

Safeway has engaged in partnerships to engage in better development proposals in other parts of the country, and in fact, this region. Why not here?

To update the story, Safeway has filed its proposal with the Zoning Commission, and the plans are being moved through the process for a hearing to seek approval. Now comes word that Safeway, or its representatives, are attempting to garner widespread support, even before releasing plans to the ANC and engaging in full community debate.

It seems that in this case, the property owner is seeking the path of least resistance en route to the granting of a PUD and building permits. In light of recent reports of housing shortages for middle income wage earners, and the strong need for workforce housing, wouldn't this be an ideal location to leverage the allowable height on the property? Rebuilding a one-story suburban grocery store within easy walking distance of two metro stations seems antithetical to the prevailing trends in urbanism. It seems that focusing some density in the allowable area and pulling the development away from the residential behind it (even stepping down using new residential) could be a preferable solution - to everyone but the ARD.

What would you suggest for this site?

2 comments:

Benjamin the Great said...

It's obvious to any "rational" person that this site would be perfect for denser development... But Safeway clearly doesn't want to deal with the massive fight that some neighbors would put up.

IMGoph said...

of course a story or two of housing on top of this would make sense. there are tons of two story houses adjacent to the site.

but you're in NIMBY land. the above scenario will never happen.