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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Housing Complex: Whole Foods on H Street? Maybe...

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Future site of a Whole Foods? Possibly.

Housing Complex does a little investigation into the rumors that a Whole Foods is headed for the northside of the 600 block of H Street, and says a Whole Foods is a possibility. But, it's far from the only possibility. Rumors have swirled in recent months that a Whole Foods might be the retail anchor for Insight's planned mixed-use development at 616 H Street. Essentially, there have been strong suggestions that the new tenant will be a grocery store, and we're kind of running out of chains of grocery stores that could potentially open up in our neighborhood. I mean, we've got a Safeway (pathetic as that particular store might be), an Aldi, a Giant, and a Harris Teeter. We're also expecting a Yes!. So it's nice to get a little clarification of exactly where things stand. According to the article, Insight has spoken with Whole Foods, but they've talked to other potential occupants as well. They even said they aren't necessarily going to go with a grocer instead of another form of retail.

A Whole Foods would be very symbolic for many people, and the idea that it would spur development is probably at least as attractive to many as the new shopping option. The sheer number of grocery stores around here is already pretty impressive. We have A LOT of options, but I think a Whole Foods would be different enough to not be a problem for the other stores (even the Yes!). But it does kind of make me wonder at what point we hit gorcery store saturation. Anyone?

25 comments:

Tom A. said...

That project is close to a decade away, so I'd prefer to see whole foods be part of the project at 8th and H, which I think should be built sooner than that.

I rarely shop at WF, but it would be great to quell all of the Whole Food fretting on this blog! :-)

Anonymous said...

Murray's a lease into 2017, but the developers would like to push them out earlier if possible.

The developers have said publicly that they are in discussions with 2-3 specialty grocers to anchor 6 & H and would like to attract a Vita-like gym to anchor the location where H Street storage currently sits.

The discussions with grocers seemed well-underway if not advanced.

None of this is going to happen next year, but I am sensing a lot of activity around this site.

Alan Page said...

If it were a Trader Joe's, that would be awesome.

Whole Foods is great as well, though.

Anonymous said...

+1 to whole foods. we need more healthy options. I'm getting fat eating lamb shanks from biergarten. ugh, so good. ;)

4th and G said...

H Street is gunning to be the first neighborhood in America with five grocery stores and zero Starbucks coffee shops.

Anonymous said...

There's a Starbucks inside the Safeway...

dclaur said...

I would so much rather have a trader joe's than whole paycheck. Frankly, as quickly as H is changing, people's salaries are not rising to match the pace. Safeway is cheap but the veg section there looks like the place where veg go to die. Giant is new and shiny, but again, polar opposite with the fresh produce option- crazy overpriced. I think TJ's is way cheaper the WF and would offer a needed middle ground in both pricing, quality and location.

Anonymous said...

"H Street is gunning to be the first neighborhood in America with five grocery stores and zero Starbucks coffee shops."

Depending on your definition of H Street, there's been mention of one being installed near Gallaudet on Florida Avenue.

Anonymous said...

Whole Foods does not make much sense from a businsess perspective. Not necessarily because the neighborhood does not want/need one.

First, they would have moved earlier if they wanted into this area. They were actively and aggressively involved in the negotiations for the Steuart property but wouldn't match/beat Giant's offer.

Second, we have CostCo, Aldi, Walmart, Giant, Harris Teeter, Safeway [mutliple], MOM, Union Market, Florida Market, and smaller/boutique markets. I don't know if it makes any sense to move into an area saturated with competition.

Third, it seems to deviate from WFM's typical layout. What's the nearest Grocery Store to the P Street WFM? Giant in Shaw. What about the one in Georgetown? Social Safeway. What about the one in Clarendon? Harris Teeter on Glebe Road. Notice these locations have single competitors.

Fourth, our neighborhood lacks the high density housing typical of WFM locations. We have Loree Grand and Senate Square, but little else...WFM likes high density locations.

H St LL said...

No disrespect to those who prefer TJ, but you can miss me with that shit. Horrible produce selection, too much prepared food etc. Now the TJs in California seemed better, but here they suck.

Same thing with WF actually. The ones in DC are pretty awful. Loved living near one in Palo Alto - it was a beautiful store. However, California produce is so much better than east coast. That being said, I hope WF does go in to the 600 block, and its better than their other DC stores.

Anonymous said...

"I would so much rather have a trader joe's than whole paycheck. Frankly, as quickly as H is changing, people's salaries are not rising to match the pace."

Don't mean to be cantankerous, but I'm not sure what H Street you are living on. Have you seen how much rent apartments around here command? Have you looked at the makes/models of cars parked on side streets? Surveyed the price detached houses? People can afford to live here and afford to dump their paychecks into a WFM without struggling.

Campy said...

"Fourth, our neighborhood lacks the high density housing typical of WFM locations. We have Loree Grand and Senate Square, but little else...WFM likes high density locations."

The central portion of H street alone (6th-10th) will have well over 1000 new residential units (Insight-450, Jair Lynch-240, Rappaport-400) built in the next 5 years. Density is coming to H Street folks.

Anonymous said...

California sounds awesome

Anonymous said...

I don't think we need another grocery store, even though I'm not overjoyed about the ones we have. There's not a tomato I can buy at Harris Teeter that won't be rotten by the time I get home....

However, if we do get one I would love to have a Wegmans. They are fantastic stores. I just don't understand all the Whole Foods groupies out there...because, hey, sometimes I just need some regular all-purpose flour and not some vegan, organic stone-ground wheat flour in an environmentally-friendly hemp sack. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Why is Whole Foods trying to drive all of the black people out if this neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

Does Wegman's have any DC location? Has it opened an urban store anywhere in the country? Every Wegman's I've been to is in the burbs, and often the very far burbs.

Anonymous said...

I don't shop at Wegmans. I find that it's much more expensive and the quality not any better.

Anne said...

Wegmans Wegmans Wegmans!!! I live a block from the Safeway and still drive 20 mins to the Wegmans in Largo. Worth the price of gas. The selection of items and the specialty departments are better than any other chain. And the employees are so friendly and helpful - this place values customer service!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if there are any urban Wegmans, just thought it would be nice. Besides, aren't you just a little glad this wasn't yet another whiny post about needing a Whole Foods?

Anonymous said...

>I don't shop at Wegmans. I find that it's much more expensive and the quality not any better.

I highly disagree with you. Wegman's offers a ton of high quality food at reasonable prices. They have a lot of organic food and their food "markets" (meat counter, bakery, seafood counter) are so much better than Giant/Safeway/HT.

And, guys, you have a WFM/TJ alternative nearby already. It's called Aldi. Aldi owns Trader Joe's. http://www.freakonomics.com/2009/02/19/do-you-know-who-owns-trader-joes/

Aldi is just as good as any other regular grocer and the prices are super cheap. They had a dozen eggs for 89 cents last week. Giant/Safeway/HT are usually $2-2.50. If you need the basics, it's a great place to go.

Also, check this out. Good company I would say! http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2013/03/20/trader-joes-aldi-whole-foods-opt-out-of-genetically-engineered-seafood/

John said...

I agree - Wegmans is by far the best grocery I've been out of the Safeway/Giant/HT bunch.
I've never been a fan of WF. I'd prefer to get my whole foods directly from local farms while paying a fraction of the price.

Anonymous said...

IN case anyone is interested, this once was at the storage facility site. I am guessing that the original building was demolished and the storage facility has no remnants of the structural skeleton, but who knows, i hope im wrong. ..http://www.shorpy.com/node/11407

Anonymous said...

"I am guessing that the original building was demolished and the storage facility has no remnants of the structural skeleton, but who knows"

Not sure of the exact era, but I know H Street Storage was previously a car dealership. Photographs I have seen (on memory.loc.gov) show that the structure is largely the same.

RMRDSt said...

Would love a Trader Joe's or a Wegman's before a WF. Wegman's is far into the burbs, but their produce is as nice as WF, and more reasonably priced. But maybe its so reasonably priced because its out in the burbs. Answered my own question there. Interested to see what comes in.

DG said...

Another enthusiastic vote for Trader Joe's!! I hate having to get in my car and drive to VA just to go to Trader Joe's.