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Actually coming!

Ellwood Thompson’s, the elusive organic grocer that’s had a sign in a window on Irving Street off 14th for at least a year now—having put plans on ice last April—is in final lease negotiations and expects to begin construction in July and finally open in January 2011, according to a company spokesman.

It’s the second location for the Richmond, Virginia-based store. According to Chief Financial Officer Jack McGrath, food prices will be comparable with Whole Foods, and they’ll also have in-store dining. “I like to say we’re building a restaurant that sells groceries, rather than a grocery store that sells prepared food,” he said at a meeting of the North Columbia Heights Community Association this evening.

It’s a victory a long time coming for shopping complex DCUSA, which is still trying to lease a quarter of its space. Chief of Building Operations Dave Stein said at the meeting that they’ve been looking for more “unique” retail tenants—small chains if necessary, but preferably local. An exercise clothing store is interested, he hinted. And a lot of the interest was pegged to Ellwood Thompson’s presence.

Stein also offered a bit of information on the forthcoming IHOP location, which will be open 24 hours. When asked whether the continuous operation would create any difficulties with the neighbors, Stein replied in the negative.

“There’s not going to be any noise associated with it,” he said. “It’s going to be owned and staffed by police officers.”

Literally—the franchise owner is a Metropolitan Police Department police officer. Stein declined to give details, but more info as I find it.