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Tis the season for first-quarter market reports, and yesterday brought us Delta Associates’ snapshot of housing trends. The Business Journal already picked up on the clearest message the stats are sending: Housing demand is starting to outstrip supply. The Post also runs down some of the pricing and foreclosure numbers.
But one graph in particular caught my eye: The amount of retail space in “Grocery-anchored shopping centers”—which typically take the form of strip malls—divided up between D.C., suburban Maryland, and northern Virginia. The District has only a tiny slice of it, which makes sense; we don’t have as much room for sprawling retail complexes with acres of parking. That’s a good thing for people who love urban living: D.C. consumers might not have the convenience of one-stop shopping, but they do have grocery stores that are nested in and actually help build neighborhoods, rather than remote destinations that suck the life out of a community.
David Mayhood highlighted the importance of grocery stores to neighborhood development at yesterday’s Downtown BID panel. CityVista’s Safeway has been hugely helpful in anchoring the nascent NoMa community, for example, and H Street is on its way with a new Giant.
“The consumer really follows the shopping cart,” Mayhood said. “When the grocery store happens, it just explodes.”