Sunday, August 22, 2010

More on the Cleveland Park Giant

The recent announcement that the nearby neighbors have filed a lawsuit/appeal against the Planned Unit Development for the Cleveland Park Giant ans promoted some discussion regarding the Cleveland Park Citizen's Association:

I feel we are owed a clear and prompt explanation of the CPCA's position on this issue, and what they intend to do to stop this small group of self-interested Giant neighbors from thwarting the community's desire for an expanded and improved supermarket. As I understand it, the CPCA voted last fall for a new Board that indicated its suppoprt of the Giant expansion. I would hope that the CPCA take immediate action, such as filing an amicus brief opposing the litigants opposing the Giant expansion...

Recall that in 2009, the CPCA underwent internal turmoil when the Board and a handful of its members voted to opposed the Giant (because, in its best Orwellian justification, it supported it).

So now the question begs, given all that the CPCA and the "UNITY" slate went through as a result of this action, will it now support the will of the community and remove the official stance in opposition?

Lost in the debate over this appeal is the overwhelming trend in urban grocery stores, particularly in the District:

...a new generation of supermarkets is arriving in the city as part of mixed-use, transit-oriented developments. These grocery stores are better integrated into the dense urban fabric to offer a wider array of foods and services. They are pushed to the edge of the sidewalk instead of being recessed behind parking lots. In place of blank walls and plate glass, lively street frontage blends with the historic architecture of older neighborhoods.

This recent investment by large retailers indicates they finally consider downtown neighborhoods worth courting. In addition to Safeway Inc., familiar chains like Giant Food LLC, Harris Teeter Inc. and others are overhauling existing facilities and investing in new locations to offer more upscale and convenient shopping for urbanites.

So will Cleveland Park remain stuck in the past, with the surface parking lot, antiquated store and outmoded suburban style living, or will it help facilitate a new store, with new neighborhood amenities and new residents?


Jamie said...

Suburban style grocery stores only work if people drive to them and use their huge parking lots. The Cleveland Park Giant has such a limited selection, I can't imagine anyone choosing to go there who doesn't live in the immediate area. With such a walkable neighborhood well serviced by major bus lines, the current setup really is a waste. The best thing about that store is providing extra parking to go to 2Amys.

Gabe said...

I have to disagree. The Giant is in dire need of a "make over". Few people shop there now because -- frankly speaking and am sure many local community folks agree -- it's a dump. My wife and I drive to Giant in Bethesda or some times the Whole Foods in Tenley.

Acccording to the Giant Project website, there will be plenty of new parking built underneath.

Having a "new" decent grocery store in the neighborhood will have a positive effect on area property values.

Grocery stores are intended to be local. Making it walking distance to many is exactly the point. This will go a long way in improving the area.

Otherwise, we'll continue seeing Bethesda and other areas boom while this area stagnates.