Developer Selected for Capitol Hill’s Southeast Safeway

Capitol Hill' Southeast Safeway at 14th and D Streets, SE

Capitol Hill’ Southeast Safeway at 14th and D Streets, SE

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:

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:

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:   (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:

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.


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8 responses to “Developer Selected for Capitol Hill’s Southeast Safeway

  1. Deb

    Thanks for the update! My biggest concern with all this development is that the current grocery stores cannot seem to keep up with the existing population let alone the addition of 1500 more residents. Many times I’ve gone into Safeway and HT and the produce aisles are empty. When Safeway closes our options will be limited to HT or having to drive somewhere. (Ed. Note: Safeway will continue to serve the neighborhood as part of the new development. In addition, Trader Joe’s will open in the Hine Development nex year.)

  2. Jennifer Squires

    So the Safeway is going away, or will it be integrated into the new project? (Ed. Note: A new Safeway will be integrated into the project, along with additional retail>)

  3. I can’t tell if your description of F-P is tongue in cheek or serious. The Walmart on Georgia Ave. was a major f* up. Their construction of SSTC a disaster. And they are based in Montgomery County, not VA. But I guess now they are taking mixed use seriously in DC, whereas with the Walmart site they had zero interest in stepping up and trying to do a better project.

    • anon_1

      I support this type of project but I read that with concern too. Who would point to the GA Ave Wallmart as anything but an abject failure? I wasn’t familiar with the other projects but the SSTC should raise considerable alarms.

      I’m glad they’re not pursuing PUD but the reality is that Hill developers have learned the lessons of Stanton Eastbanc on the Hine project. PUD in historic district opens up the kind of risk most developers shun.

  4. The Dude

    Sure hope this project includes another 7/11! 🙂

  5. Crispin

    Formerly depressed neighborhood? Do you know what the rowhouses around the Safeway cost?

  6. muskellunge

    “The public space plan anticipates that the only access to the site will be through a residential and a commercial garage via a widened alley behind the current Safeway building connecting D and E Streets.”

    Does this mean that all drivers going to Safeway will have to get there via the alley? Seems that this would not support the anticipated traffic. Further, I doubt Safeway would agree to that.

  7. Tom Wiener

    As a 32-year resident of the neighborhood (300 block of 13th Street SE), I resent the characterization “formerly depressed,” even if it was amended with the phrase “non-residential.” The Buchanan School site, though unused for years, was generally well-maintained. The auto-body and trash hauling businesses on E Street have been generally good, if un-sexy, neighbors. The Watkins playground recently underwent a makeover and is now a center for athletic activities, both organized and ad-hoc.More commercial development would be welcome, it’s true, but if it’s necessary to add hundreds of residents to the area to justify it, we’d prefer to stay underdeveloped if not depressed.