Richmond-based organic grocery Ellwood Thompson‘s has signed a lease to occupy a space in the DCUSA complex in Columbia Heights, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham said today at a council press conference. The lease, he says, was signed “a few days” ago.

Last month, blogs and listservs were abuzz over rumors that a deal was in place after some 18 months of negotiation. DCist, at the time, got Ellwood Thompson’s CEO saying that no deal was quite ready.

The issue came up because Graham is moving emergency legislation at the council meeting tomorrow to extend certain tax breaks for grocery stores to the DCUSA property. Under the old law as written, the tax breaks were restricted to certain parcels of land, with standalone stores in mind. But in this situation, the parcel also contains other retailers, so the legislation as Graham explained it today allows grocers that are part of a larger development to take advantage.

UPDATE, 6:30 P.M.: Not so fast, says ET’s CEO Ryan Youngman in response to an e-mail from LL: “We are indeed close to the deal being done, but not yet there.”