The first thing Marc Dubick points out to me when I meet him to tour the construction site that will soon become the Petworth Safeway building is the parking. Eighty-six spaces for shoppers, he tells me, and 135 for residents of the apartments above. It’s an odd introduction. The new development is replacing an old Safeway that was arguably the city’s shabbiest supermarket, which sat behind a large surface parking lot fronting busy Georgia Avenue. Its reincarnation, spearheaded by Dubick’s firm, Reston-based Duball LLC, will no longer feature parking front and center. The Safeway will come up to the sidewalk on Georgia Avenue, with a Starbucks at the corner of Randolph Street facing off against popular Qualia Coffee across the street. The parking will be mercifully hidden from the public in the increasingly pedestrian- and transit-friendly neighborhood—-although Dubick points out, “There’s actually way more parking spaces here now than at the old store.”
But the community’s likely to be more excited about the elements it’ll actually see, which Dubick calls “a win-win for everyone.” The 62,000-square-foot Safeway will be the grocery chain’s second-largest location in the District when it opens in the late spring or early summer. Around the same time, the first apartments above the store will open: 218 in total, including the minimum 18 affordable units required under the city’s inclusionary zoning law. (“The community felt there was already a lot of affordable housing in the neighborhood,” Dubick explains. “There wasn’t really any desire to have more than IZ required.”) The units will range from efficiencies to two-bedrooms, with an average size of around 850 square feet and rents “consistent with [neighboring developments] Park Place and The Griffin”—-and, Dubick promises, “the best views in the city.”
Judge for yourself: Click on the photo below for a slideshow of the work in progress.