One by one, Murry’s grocery stores in the District are disappearing—-part of an overall shift by the chain’s parent company towards its larger-format Save-a-Lot concept, which is getting its trial run on Rhode Island Avenue. The Murry’s at Skyland Town Center has been on notice since, well, forever. The H Street outlet was recently purchased by a residential developer. And last July, the one on Georgia Avenue at Morton Street NW was picked up by a guy named Yanni Xanthos in partnership with Redbrick Development, which is planning about 100 rental units with ground floor retail and 40 underground parking spaces.
It’s not happening right away. The team is already working on a 300-unit project in Alexandria, and Xanthos, who owns an electrical business a few blocks south of the site, says Murry’s will stay until they get rolling on something in 2014. He’d like to bring in a national tenant, perhaps another grocery store like Trader Joe’s (join the club). Meanwhile, it just adds to the body of aspirational plans for Georgia Avenue—-which also, as of recently, includes Romeo Morgan‘s dream of senior housing and a DMV on his seafood store—-that are slowly getting implemented, evidenced by the holes in the ground that have shown up along the strip recently.
Xanthos divulged his plans during a walk organized by the ever-active Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force, which has been pushing for improvement property by property for two years now. They worry, with the renewed focus on East of the River neighborhoods, that a commercial district in relatively well-to-do Northwest might get neglected. But progress appears steady, with a brand-new streetscape around the Petworth Metrorail station, and new bars and restaurants opening up in vacant storefronts left and right.
The Avenue still loses businesses, on occasion—-like the Labamba Sub Shop at Euclid Street, which recently closed. For Sylvia Robinson, the Task Force’s imperturbable leader, it’s just a new project. “Another opportunity,” as she puts it.