Tag Archives: Safeway

ANC Round Up: Process Edition

Last night the ANC met for the first time in 2012. As predicted by GM, the issue of the West Heating Plant dominated the early discussion. But, the rest of the meeting was actually quite interesting too. So let’s to it:

GSA Don’t Care

The ANC invited Tim Sheckler of the General Services Administration to discuss the disposition process of the West Heating Plant. Sheckler started by giving a bit of a history of the building: It was built in the 1940′s to provide steam heat for the federal buildings on the western edge of downtown. It ceased operations about ten years ago and has sat unused since then. Now the federal government wants to get rid of it.

The long and the short of Sheckler’s presentation is that the GSA doesn’t care how this property gets used after it sells it. This is not a typical RFP process you may be familiar with, where the solicitor evaluates the merits of the bids. Once GSA moves to finally sell the property, it is simply a question of who the highest bidder is. The bidding even will be online, like Ebay. Sheckler estimated that this will take place in the late summer into the fall.

The ANC and the community was not particularly pleased with this news. The only real input the public has into the GSA-disposition process is to argue whether or not the GSA should sell the property at all.

The thing is, there is no DC Office of Planning plan for this lot that would detail how it should be used. This lot isn’t even zoned in the first place. So ultimately the public will have some input on how it is used (via OP) and how it looks (via the Old Georgetown Board). But that won’t occur until after a developer has already bought the property, and has a whole lot of money already laid out towards however they want the property to be used and how it will look.

The ANC and the community urged GSA to delay the process until OP could develop a plan and zoning for the property. The idea being that a publicly vetted plan will mean that whatever developer purchases the property will already know what constraints they’ll be operating under.

Sheckler was non-committal. One point GM suggested was that as the process would currently stand, the developers are taking a risk that whatever plans they have don’t get approved by OP or OGB. But if GSA waits for OP’s plan, GSA faces the risk that the plan results in a lower bidding price, particularly if OP zones half the property as parkland. GSA doesn’t really have an incentive to take that risk. They just want to sell the property and be done with it.

Stay tuned.

The Great Macaroon Battle of 2012

As GM detailed last month, a young couple is planning on opening a new macaroon shop called Macaron Bee on Book Hill. This is what GM had to say last month:

The ANC commissioners expressed some reservations about the idea of selling food out of the front window. They feared the shop eventually turning into a pizza slice restaurant. In the end, the ANC decided to support the request with a (probably unenforceable) condition that the window not be used for any other type of food product.

GM’s prediction is that these sort of windows never work out. People would rather just come in to the store. GM hopes the store thrives and drives more foot traffic to upper Book Hill, but it’ll be because people like the food, not the convenience of sidewalk service.

Not much changed since then except that the two store owners next to the proposed location came out strongly against the plan. Specifically, Maureen Littleton of Littleton Gallery is particularly incensed at the idea of macaroons (or, really, any food) being sold on the street next door. She basically threw every argument she could against it, and GM can’t help but conclude that what she really wants is nothing at all. Continue reading

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Le Matin Metropolitan

Photo by M.V. Jantzen.

Bonjour Georgetown, et joyeux 14 Juillet! Voici les nouvelles:

  • Too late now, but apparently the Safeway hosted a beer tasting yesterday. Hopefully they’ll do that again in the future (and give us a little more heads up).
  • Tacklebox will be open in a few months, Hook should take a lot longer.

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Safeway Moving Forward With New Development

Yesterday a reader alerted GM to the fact that Einstein’s Bagels closed down. GM was expecting this, but not that soon. The building it occupied is owned by Safeway and they plan to tear it down and build a new own (plus another smaller building on the green space between this building and Safeway).

GM went over the initial plans last year. They were pretty tacky and completely out of place in Georgetown. Safeway changed architects and came back with revised designs. The ANC saw that they were on the right course and left the final call to the OGB. Since GM doesn’t attend OGB meetings (they’re during the work day) he didn’t notice that the plans were approved in February.

The pawn shop moved out (and basically across the street) shortly thereafter and now Einstein’s is gone. GM can’t say Einstein’s was his favorite bagel shop. The bagels were ok, and the coffee decent (and incredibly hot for some reason), but the service was incredibly slow. If there was a line of more than two to three people when you walked in, you expected at least a ten minute delay. Nonetheless, it was a relatively cheap option for take-out breakfast, which there’s not much of in north Georgetown. Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Canal cat by Byron Peebles.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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Terrible Twos: The Most Popular Article

This week in celebration of the Georgetown Metropolitan’s second anniversary, GM is counting down the five most popular articles from last year.

Today GM looks at the single most popular article from the last year: By Far the Most Expensive Thing at Safeway.

Like yesterday’s entry, this article came about simply because GM saw something funny and took a photo of it. Which goes to show that there’s no direct connection between the amount of effort it takes to write something and how popular it is. Continue reading

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Petco Repeating CVS’s Old Mistakes

Last spring, The two CVSs in Georgetown under went minor interior redesigns that enabled the stores to open up the view into the store from the windows. This improved the streetscape on the stores’ blocks significantly and fixed a problem common with many CVS stores.

Way up on Wisconsin underneath the Safeway, the pet-supply chain Petco is making the same mistake that CVS finally corrected. The store is actually called Unleashed and is the chain’s smaller version. The store opened up last weekend. Continue reading

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By Far the Most Expensive Thing at Safeway

Seen at the Safeway:

That’s not a typo. At least GM doesn’t think so. What you see there is a locked case of truffles in the Safeway produce section selling for $999.99 per pound.

GM did a quick run through of the store to see if anything came close to this in terms of price. Only a few bottles of wine and champagne topped the multi-hundred dollar range, but nothing close to this. Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Canal by Brownpau.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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The Georgetown Apple is Here!

No, not really. The technology store still seems weeks away, but if you want to get your hands on a “genuine” “Georgetown Apple”, stop by Safeway. They’re currently selling apples branded with the Georgetown moniker.

From the sign, the apples appear to come from Nature’s Partner, a branch of Giumarra companies. There is no such thing as a “Georgetown Apple”, so this is likely just a private label rebrand of another species. From the company’s offerings, it looks a bit like the Eve apple. Continue reading

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ANC Round-Up: Back From the Beach Edition

Just hours after taking the above photo of the idyllic southern Massachusetts coastline, GM found himself racing back to Washington in order to attend the June ANC meeting. This fact has no bearing on the meeting itself, but GM just felt you ought to know what sacrifices he makes to keep you informed.

That said, the ANC meeting last night was jam packed and more than justified GM’s sacrifice. Unfortunately, it ran rather long so GM is going to have to keep it short in order to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Streetcars

DDOT presented plans for the streetcar and how those plans would affect Georgetown. In DDOT’s ambitious 37 mile plan, the agency calls for a cross-town route to come into Georgetown along K St.

The ANC is generally supportive of the plans but is nervous about how the streetcar could affect traffic, parking, and the viewshed. The overall message from the DDOT representative is that it is way too early to really say what DDOT is going to decide for Georgetown, but he also added that it is likely that there will not be dedicated lanes and that no overhead wire will be used in Georgeown.

On that last point, though, the DDOT representative was a bit ambivalent.  He showed up with an actual cross-sections of the proposed 3/8th inch overhead wire along with several images of what that wire would look like in action. He also discussed the council’s proposal to authorize overhead wires along H St. NE (areas outside of the L’Enfant Plan and Georgetown allow overhead wires already). You could argue that he was trying to soften up Georgetown to accept overhead wires, at least temporarily.

And surprisingly enough, it looks like the ANC may go along with that. They unanimously adopted a resolution that was split into two parts. The first part essentially said that the ANC supports streetcars on K St. so long as there are no dedicated lanes, no parking was removed, and any overhead wires are approved by the Commission of Fine Arts (there was also a request to consider what effect the possible removal of the Whitehurst would have on those plans).

Secondly, the ANC would not object to streetcars on Wisconsin Ave. (or M St., which was added to the resolution after the DDOT rep mentioned that streetcars could end up coming into Georgetown by M St. not k St.) again so long as there are no dedicated lanes and no removal of parking. For Wisconsin and M, however, the ANC put its foot down and said absolutely no overhead wires.

All in all, it was a good resolution for supporters of streetcars in and through Georgetown. Continue reading

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