Capitol Hill’s Southeast Safeway Slated for Redevelopment
by Larry Janezich
According to sources, Safeway Corporation has invited select developers to submit proposals for redevelopment of the Southeast Safeway at 14th and D Streets, SE. The project envisions a mixed use development not unlike the Georgetown Safeway or the Wisconsin Avenue Giant in NW DC. A source tells CHC that a preferred developer has been selected, but it is uncertain who the developer is, or what they have proposed.
The request for proposals specified that a grocery store will remain on the site, along with additional ground level retail, and residential units on upper floors. The huge site is zoned commercial C2-A and can be built to a height of 50 feet. The plan is to develop the site “by-right”, meaning that no zoning changes or Planned Unit Development (PUD) process will be necessary, minimizing public review of the plan.
Ordinarily, there is no opportunity for community review of a “by right” project. However, in the case of large developments, DC regulations require the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and the Office of Planning (OP) to manage the overall process under its Large Tract Review (LTR) procedure. According to the OP website, “Reviews are coordinated with other city agencies, the ANC, and the impacted community and must be completed before a developer applies for a building permit. This is NOT a process resulting in an approval or denial by OP or any other entity. Rather, it is an administrative review by multiple District agencies and the affected community to identify issues and provide feedback to the developer prior to filing a building permit application.” The process provides for at least one community meeting coordinated through the ANC. The LTR must be completed within 60 days after an application for the review is received, though an extension may be granted. See here: http://1.usa.gov/1TisS3f
CHC asked ANC6B Commissioner Nick Burger, who chairs the ANC6b Planning and Zoning Committee to comment on the proposed redevelopment of the site. Burger said, “There has been speculation for a long time regarding the potential redevelopment of the Safeway site and it’s not surprising if redevelopment is in progress. The site is not being used to the best of its ability. I’m cautiously optimistic – the site has a lot of potential if it is being redeveloped.”
There are four residential or mixed use projects in the immediate area which, when complete, will add up to 1200 new residents to the neighborhood. For more on these developments, see here: http://bit.ly/1Zm9t60 How many more residents the Safeway site redevelopment will accommodate is uncertain.