As reported here and by Carol Joynt, the building that houses Scheele’s Market at Dumbarton and 29th is up for sale for $1.2 million. The market has been run by the Lee family for over 20 years although the building is still owned by the original Scheele family.
The market is critical to the East Village. Without it, the neighborhood residents would lose the convenience of being only steps away from a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk. And more than offering convenience, Scheele’s is the emotional heart of that part of our neighborhood.
Well, that part of our neighborhood is organizing to help save Scheele’s. While there are no buyer’s yet and there’s still a chance that a new owner will renew the market’s lease, some residents do not want to leave it to chance alone. On February 21st, a group of concerned neighbors will meet at Zion Baptist Church right across from the market to discuss what steps can be taken to prevent Scheele’s demise.
It’s not clear to GM what could be done in the face of a new owner looking to close the market. Enough public noise could pressure the Scheeles into obtaining a promise from the new owners to keep the market open. Alternatively, that same pressure may be brought to bear on the Board of Zoning Adjustment to allow the market to set up shop in another building. For instance, the building at Dumbarton and 28th clearly housed a business at one time (reader J. MacLeod Carter says he heard it was a mortuary) and its for sale/rent right now. Why not let the Lees open a market there?
And who knows. Maybe having a more public discussion about our mix of retail and residential buildings will lead to a better understanding that we have gems like Scheele’s, Sarah’s, and Le Petite Corner Store buried deep in our neighborhood through dumb luck. And that our overly restrictive zoning regulations adopted out of illogical fears over parking and noise mean that once those gems are gone, they’re gone for good.