Housing Complex

Where Anacostia Most Needs a Grocery Store—and Why It Might Not Happen

As even the most casual reader of this blog knows, Anacostia has a supermarket problem. The neighborhood just lost its only grocery store, and the struggling Yes! Organic Market in nearby Fairlawn closed last week (though it'll reopen under a dubious renaming plan). In this walkable, relatively densely populated neighborhood, there's no one who doesn't think a local grocery option is sorely needed.

Into the fray steps Chris Dickersin-Prokopp, aka R.U. Seriousing Me?, with an excellent blog post assessing possible locations for a new grocery store. Dickersin-Prokopp overlays supermarket locations onto an income-density map of the city and finds that the Yes!'s heavy losses may result in part from its location in a low-aggregate-income area (due to the low number of households in the immediate vicinity as well as the low average income of those households). He concludes that the best spot for a new grocery store would be across from the Anacostia Metro station, potentially on the big parking lot of the Bethlehem Baptist Church.

The location is great for a number of reasons: It's Metro-accessible, it'll benefit from the redevelopment of nearby St. Elizabeths and Barry Farm (the latter currently provides close to zero in the way of aggregate income, according to Dickersin-Prokopp's' maps), and it could help spur the retail movement of Anacostia toward the Metro (in a conversation yesterday, Anacostia Economic Development Corporation President Stan Jackson said he expects the neighborhood's center of gravity to shift slowly from the MLK/Good Hope intersection toward Anacostia Station).

But it also suffers from the same problem Dickersin-Prokopp highlights with regard to the Anacostia Warehouse Supermarket site: Developers could be scared off by the coming Walmart at the Skyland Town Center. Like the AWS, Dickersin-Prokopp's proposed site is served by the Potomac-Skyland Circulator route, which, according to WMATA, gets you to Skyland in a mere 11 minutes for a dollar.

This is where residents' fears of retail displacement from the coming big-box invasion are realized. It's not necessarily that the new Walmarts will drive existing businesses under—after all, several of them are in retail-starved areas—but that they might prevent new businesses from setting up shop in the first place. And in the case of Anacostia, the neighborhood could use a walkable grocery store much more than a two-mile away megastore.

Comments

  1. #1

    I think that's an excellent location. Besides that church is just sitting on the property. I would use eminent domain to take over that whole block, church included and bring not just a grocer but new shops that would be a draw for the area.

  2. Cap City Records Panhandler
    #2

    So people can get robbed for their groceries...

  3. #3
  4. #4

    Hey I noticed they have started remodeling the store. Anyone know whats coming?

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