Housing Complex

Anacostia Supermarket Sold to Virginia Investor, Who Hopes to Replace It With National Tenants

Anacostia's only grocery store is closing today, and it may soon be replaced by a combination of tenants that could include a organic food store, a fast food chain store, a dialysis center, a dentist's office, or a childcare center.

Good Hope Investments LLC bought the Anacostia Warehouse Supermarket building at 1918 14th St. SE on Nov. 2, according to city deed records. A search for the company yielded a residential address in Vienna, Va., where I reached Mossadaq F. Chughtai, who confirmed that he purchased the store. "We actually are negotiating with some national tenants," says Chughtai, who has owned several D.C. properties. "We have some [letters of interest] on the table which we haven’t signed yet. My goal is to draw a national or international tenant. This area will only boost up when you start to have national companies."

Chughtai says he can't name any of the prospective tenants until they sign on. He also says he was approached by some less appealing tenants and turned them down.

"I have been approached by liquor stores, by nightclubs, and by check-cashing people, and by mom-and-pop food stores and dollar-stores companies," he says. "But I have decided not to take that route. I think it’s an interest of mine, an interest of the community that someone needs to step up and start courting national tenants."

Greta Fuller, of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8A, says Chughtai has been talking to the community "for quite some time." She appreciates his efforts to lure another grocery store to the neighborhood but is not pleased with his likely plan to break the building up into smaller parcels to lease out.

"I don’t want that," Fuller says. "I don’t want that at all, honestly. It’s a large parcel of land here in the community. And every time we lose large parcels and they’re broken into little pieces, it doesn't serve the needs of the community." She'd be particularly upset by a dialysis center, which she's heard is a likely option, because it would replace a neighborhood amenity—a supermarket—with a service that's mostly for people outside the community.

The closure of the supermarket comes on the heels of news that the Yes! Organic Market in Fairlawn, directly north of Anacostia, will close in early December. Anacostia residents must now travel more than a mile to the Safeway at Good Hope Marketplace, which receives very poor reviews, or across the Anacostia River to do their grocery shopping—or even outside the city.

"If you’re talking about the average person in Anacostia, yeah, they went there," says Fuller of the Anacostia Warehouse Supermarket. "Now they don’t have anyplace to go. Now they have to catch a bus."

Chughtai plans to renovate the building before opening it—he promises "a lot of glass, good visibility; it will not appear as a jail-cell building." He hopes to have it ready for new tenants within six months. But that could mean six months without any grocery options in Anacostia.

Chughtai says he initially felt discouraged from investing in Anacostia after a meeting with the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation, which he describes as "a bunch of thugs."

"They're just interested in filling their pockets," he says. "I felt they were thugs. We had several meetings, and I was very unhappy with the kind of leadership they had there." Since then, the AEDC named a new CEO this month, Stanley Jackson, who previously held several senior city government posts and served as acting president of the University of the District of Columbia.

Chughtai says he was on the verge of walking away from the deal before he spoke with ANC commissioners Fuller and Charles Wilson, whom he says he found bright and helpful.

Chughtai says he owns several companies in the United States and overseas, with real estate as "our primary focus at the moment." He has owned a property at at 3900 Benning Road NE since 1983, owned the Shop Express at the old Nehemiah Shopping Center on 14th Street NW, and owns the Major shoestore building on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Georgetown. He has yet to work in Anacostia. Good Hope Investments LLC, he says, is a company set up specifically for the Anacostia project.

Screen shot from Google Street View

  • http://leftforledroit.com Left for LeDroit

    Good Hope Investments LLC, he says, is a company set up specifically for the Anacostia project.

    It may sound strange, but this is actually very common. A smart developer will typically create a new LLC as the "owner" for each property. It helps prevent one property's liabilities (foreclosure, law suits, etc.) from endangering the developer's other properties, which are owned by different LLCs.

  • DC_LovesYou

    Live in Anacostia. Never shopped there. Need similar replacement for grocery store.

  • MC_In_SEDC

    Well I'm glad that the developer did not go for easy money by turning it into a nightclub, liquor store, or check cashing place. It seems like they have some good ideas for the space

  • Capital City Records Panhandler

    Nice article.

    Good work on pulling the quote about AEDC being a "bunch of thugs." Dude Mike Wallach was interviewed by WUSA 9 this summer about the 11st Bridge Park and referred to people in the neighborhood as "cockroaches." No bullsh*t... they put it in the news! He's had a license to steal at AEDC for long time... thievery is a family affair for him. Butch Hopkins did nothing for Ana. He's not missed by many folk.

    Greta recently lost her ANC race. She's always sour about something. Folks got Diabetes in the neighborhood. It is what it will be.

    Also... you didn't mention the Giant further down Alabama Ave SE by the IHOP & Henson Ridge. Folks got issues with that place too. But it is a grocery store in Ward 8.

    Welcome to the southside tilt. Appreciate your quality coverage.

  • H Street LL

    Thanks for the update. The grocery was interesting because of its never changed since the 50s vibe, but it needs major investment. Glad he plans to improve the front.

    Long term seems like a great lot for a new five story building with retail facing the street and housing on top.

  • Pingback: $11 million here, $11 million there

  • gr8scott80

    I, too, live in Anacostia and never shopped here. It looked old, dirty, unsafe, uninviting. That said, we *need* retail ... particularly grocers. I'd love to be able to walk to modern, vibrant grocer instead of having to drive to Safeway or HT.

    If we can't get a grocer, can we have a restaurant or two? Lord knows we need those as well.

    What we don't need (or want) is another community service moving in to our neighborhood. We're packed to the gills with those and they're killing our chance at being more livable.

  • a change gon’ come

    Yes, it's true that folks will have to take a bus for groceries. Those of us who now live near the new Giant on Alabama Avenue waited two years between the closing of the market in the strip mall and the opening of the Giant, taking the bus or cadging rides to that Safeway. Interestingly, just before the Giant opened, the Safeway went through a remodel and upgrade. So a little more competition may be good for the area.

    Something that would help would be to improve the transportation options. The current Circulator route could go from Eastern Market past the new Yes! on 8th Street to Safeway at Good Hope/Skyland to Giant on Alabama and back down MLK to the Anacostia Metro before crossing back to Eastern Market. Right now those buses run empty while the 92 is standing room only.

  • Jeni

    Isn't there a relatively newish Giant in Anacostia?

  • The Advoc8te

    Jeni--

    The neighborhood of Anacostia is about 3 neighborhoods away from Congress Heights where the Giant is located on Alabama Avenue SE. There is only one grocery store in the entire Ward of about 70,000 people.

    Tragic.

  • http://artofward8.blogspot.com/ Charles Wilson

    Check out the Art of WARd8 as I talk more about food options in Anacostia!

    http://artofward8.blogspot.com/2012/12/anacostia-warehouse-supermarket-vs-yes.html

  • Kim

    Market rate condo's with retail (eatery, cvs, etc) on the bottom, would be a move in the right direction. Or Harris Teeter could be a nice anchor.

  • Typical DC BS

    Harris Teeter won't move there until the demographics improve DRAMATICALLY.

  • H Street LL

    I was down there today working on one of my houses and they are already gutting it. Its all fenced off and they also had an HVAC truck there.

    Dude isn't playing around, seems like he is not setting on his hands...

  • JaySethi

    I was there today and i saw the dude with his staff people. Talked to him, he seemed committed to the neighboured and only things he talked about that he will bring only the ideas which will create more jobs and oppotunities in this community.
    He was totally no-non sense dude.
    Lets hope he does, what he said. It will be better than what we had there.

  • Walter Washington

    This guy Mossadeq is a lying back-stabbing Paki and is just interested in making a fast buck to finance his anti-American agenda. Google him and you'll see what he's all about.

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