Housing Complex

No Wegmans for You?

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The city's decision on a development team to rebuild the Walter Reed site has left at least one party disappointed: the supermarket Wegmans.

The city selected a partnership of Hines and Urban Atlantic to redevelop the 67-acre site, choosing them over a pair of competing bids that included one from Roadside Development with a commitment from the Rochester-based supermarket to build its first D.C. store there. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins told me he expects Hines and Urban Atlantic to land a quality grocery retailer for the site, and the team's presentation to the public in July featured a rendering with a supermarket whose logo looks very much like the Wegmans "W."

But Wegmans spokesman Jo Natale says the company isn't ready to jump into a Hines- and Urban Atlantic-led Walter Reed site.

"We are disappointed in the decision, because we have a good partnership with Roadside and thought they developed a great plan," Natale says in a statement. "We will take some time to consider our next steps, if any."

Rendering from the Hines-Urban Atlantic presentation

  • BW

    Wegmans sucks.

  • Karl

    Why can't we have nice things too?

  • Corky

    Oh well. I guess I will have to continue SPENDING MY GROCERY MONEY IN MARYLAND since DC is trying to screw over Wegmans. Wegmans has the best products and service at prices lower than Giant and Safeway and certainly lower than Harris Teeter (whose cashiers refuse to learn how to bag grocieries--orange juice and cans do not go in the bag with bread!!).

  • Alex

    I'll be glad if Wegmans pulls out. We need a good, urban grocer at Walter Reed. I've visited their stores out in the burbs and they are ginormous. And they require acres of surface parking. No thanks. Give me a nice Harris Teeter that's easy to get in/out, has high quality meats/fruits, and provides decent customer service. I would never step foot in the Piney Branch Safeway again!

    Not saying that Wegmans couldn't pull it off, but we would be their guinea pig. Meh.

  • george

    @ Corky, Who's screwing over Wegmans? They chose to go "exclusive" with a losing developer--sounds like it's on them. Unless you're suggesting DMPED should have picked a team SOLELY on the basis of one of its retail tenants. If that sounds like smart management to you, I've got some riverfront property in Columbia Heights I'd love to sell you...

  • Ward 4 DIVA

    I was looking forward to a new Wegmans coming to the old Walter Reed campus. Ward 4 still have too many low income blacks and Central Americans in this area and until more white gentrification takes place in this area of Ward 4, we want see any nice stores coming to upper Georgia Avenue, NW.

  • NE John

    Just get a whole foods. Screw these twits.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hogg

    LOL@Ward 4 DIVA; so true Ward 4 DIVA.

  • Stronghold Resident

    As someone who lives far away from this site and will never go there either way, can I just say that this is an affront to the historic Walter Reed Park, which is historically a park that has historic buildings in it that must be preserved?

    Our city certainly deserves better, which I why I am calling on all those who care about historic preservation to protest this before the HPRB. Can't we have an international competition to get a better design? All nearby residents agree that they would much rather have the entire site as a park, as it has always been a park and should continue to be used as a park.

    Save Walter Reed Park!

  • Bob See

    Alex: " I've visited their stores out in the burbs and they are ginormous. And they require acres of surface parking. No thanks. "

    That's different from HT's out in the burbs how?

  • Bob See

    Stronghold Resident "All nearby residents agree that they would much rather have the entire site as a park"

    By "all" you mean "a few loud voices".

  • Alex

    @Bob See: There is little difference between a suburban Wegmans & a suburban Harris Teeter. Just check out both stores in Fairfax. The new-ish HT on Rt. 50 is very similar to the Wegmans on Monument Dr. Both massive, 1-level stores and lots of surface parking- which is great for the burbs.

    But at least Harris Teeter knows how to build/operate a store in the city. I moved to Ward 4 this year after living in Adams Morgan for 3 years. The HT on Kalorama Rd, while not without its flaws, is a pretty fantastic, urban grocery store. Wegmans has no such format(that I know of) for comparison.

  • Holly

    We just bought our first home in Shepherd Park, about 5 blocks north of the old WR site, off of 16th. Being new to DC from CA, we haven't followed the various bids so don't know if the best won out, but are excited nonetheless. Does anyone know when construction is expected to start and what the estimated time to completion is (although I know will be several years)?

    As for the comment about keeping the area a park, as a nearby resident, I disagree. While green space is definitely important, this area has little in the way of neighborhood conveniences that our neighbors south and west of Rock Creek Park enjoy, so we are very excited about the redevelopment plans in terms of increasing walkability of our neighborhood (nearby areas along Georgia Ave. just don't compare). We're a little concerned about increased traffic, but overall I think it will be a great boon to an area that could use some redevelopment.

  • prayformojo
  • Bob See

    Alex "But at least Harris Teeter knows how to build/operate a store in the city. "

    What's different about it? Once I'm inside I can't tell much difference between the Columbia Heights Giant and the Silver Spring Giant (except SS is a bit more worn) Same for any CVS anywhere. The only difference is the site plan and that's up to the developer, not the tenant. Wegmans threat to pull is cronyism, not because the plan isn't suburban enough for them.

  • Alex

    @Bob See: True. The interiors aren't terribly different, but it's more about the store size and how the structure interacts with its surroundings. A retailer with a history of huge square footage stores and expansive parking lots may tend to demand those same convienences at Walter Reed. Sure, the developer creates the site plan, but a major retail tenant would surely have a lot of sway in the final design.

    I just look at the Wegmans in Fairfax and realize I don't want to live beside something like that. It's cut-off from the neighborhood, surrounded by tons of parking, and it's not very pedestrian friendly. I'm not anti-Wegmans by any means (they offer a great selection of food), but they haven't shown they can operate on a smaller city-sized scale.

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