Despite having been fully reconstructed in 2010, the Georgetown Safeway nonetheless still feels a bit crowded. That situation could get even worse in the near future.
That’s because the nearest other Safeway supermarket, the Palisades one on MacArthur Blvd. is set to close on May 4th. This caps a long fight the supermarket has had with the neighborhood. Early this decade, Safeway wanted to redevelop the property for residential uses, but the neighbors objected. Safeway reportedly responded that they’d just sell the property and put a covenant on the deed preventing another grocery store from moving in. While Council action quickly prohibited that practice, the corporate parents of Safeway made no secret of their wish to get rid of this property. That wish has apparently finally come true.
It is reported that there are no plans to continue any sort of a market at this site once the developers build whatever it is they are going to build. If true, that would leave the Georgetown Safeway as the closest major supermarket for the greater Palisades neighborhoods. Thus come May 4th, it is likely that the Georgetown Safeway is going to get more crowded.
This, of course, is part of Safeway’s gamble. Why operate two stores close together when you can close one and count on at least some significant portion of the customers of the closed supermarket to shift to the open one? The (now illegal) attempted covenant that would’ve prevented any supermarket opening on their location in Palisades made it clear that this was at least in part what their strategy was.
Ultimately the joke may be on Safeway once the Wegman’s opens up up Wisconsin Ave. and sucks a bunch of their business away. But until then, plan for more crowded and slower visits to the Safeway.