Developer Selected for Capitol Hill’s Southeast Safeway
Community Meeting Scheduled for Monday, October 24
by Larry Janezich
At ANC6B’s October meeting Tuesday night, Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Nick Burger announced that Safeway, Inc., has selected the Alexandria based firm of Foulger-Pratt, a major regional, national and international real estate development firm to redevelop the Capitol Hill Southeast Safeway into a mixed use project.
Burger told the ANC that the developer had scheduled a community meeting to discuss plans for the site on Monday, October 24, at 7:00pm in Hill Center, adding that this would be the first in a series of engagements with the community.
Foulger-Pratt has filed a public space application with DC Department of Transportation – the first step in the development phase. Under the special process for development of large tracts, DDOT requires a developer to file a plan to show how the project will interact with surrounding public space – in this case – public streets and alleys. DDOT’s subsequent approval the plan will dictate the configuration of the site.
Foulger-Pratt plans a mixed use, retail and residential project. The public space plan anticipates that the only access to the site will be through residential and a commercial garages via a widened alley behind the current Safeway building connecting D and E Streets for the residential garage and from 14th Street for Safeway .
Though the square footage of the proposal and how much will be allocated to residential and retail is uncertain at present, this public space plan would open up most of the huge space for construction. The developer plans to build as a matter of right – meaning height will be limited to 50 feet plus a penthouse.
At the meeting on October 24, Foulger-Pratt will introduce themselves to the community, outline the basic plan for the project, and discuss the next steps in the process. For additional details on the process and the project, see the exclusive CHC post from March 30, 2016 here: http://bit.ly/2ckTfHd
Foulger-Pratt is the developer of the spectacular Mormon Temple Visitor Center north of Kensington, MD, the Silver Sprint Metro Center mixed use project, and the Georgia Avenue Walmart among many other projects. The firm is currently developing the Capitol Self Storage site at 301 N Street, NE, adjacent to the NOMA/Gallaudet Metro Station into a mixed use project including 370 residential units, retail, office space and a 175 unit hotel. See DC Urban Turf here: http://bit.ly/2dbhXGC
In June of 2016, the DC Zoning Commission found that the developer’s package of benefits and amenities offered to the community in exchange for rezoning the NOMA/Gallaudet Metro development site so inadequate that Washington Business Journal said it could threaten ZC approval if the developer didn’t up the ante. See here: http://bit.ly/2e8321Z (Since the developer is not seeking a Planned Unit Development for the Safeway cite the question of a benefits package for the community is moot.)
Forger-Pratt has been an active player in local politics. A 2013 WaPo article cited the firm’s contributions to Maryland politicians – which did not help the firm when the Montgomery County official deemed the company’s $119 million Silver Spring Transit Center “unusable and unsafe,” citing weak concrete and missing steel supports. The Washington Post called the story “a major embarrassment to the county and its general contractor, Foulger-Pratt.” See here: http://wapo.st/2dUCuS1
There are six residential or mixed use projects in the immediate area of Southeast Safeway which, when complete, will add up to some 1500 new residents in the neighborhood. The projects include the Buchanan School site, Watkins Alley, the Bowie Signature site (all a stone’s throw from Safeway), and on nearby Pennsylvania Avenue, the NY Pizza Site, the Frager’s Hardware Site, and the Frager’s Garden Center Site. How many more residents the Safeway site will accommodate is uncertain but in total, there will be a substantial increase in density for a formerly depressed non-residential (updated) neighborhood characterized by an empty school, an auto body repair shop, a trash hauler operations center, Peter Bug’s Shoe Repair Academy, Watkin’s Field – and Safeway.