- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

Downtown Washington is getting a full-service grocery with the Friday opening of Safeway‘s new CityVista store at K and Fifth streets Northwest.

Safeway executives showed off what is considered their “most complete store” in the District at a preview ceremony Wednesday. Among the ceremony’s VIP guests was Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat.

“This is like opening a public building … but a much more important building to most people,” Mrs. Norton said. “Safeway understands that downtown D.C. is a community, not a just a district.”

Craig Muckle, Safeway’s public affairs manager, called the opening “an exciting opportunity — not only to serve local downtown residents for the first time but also to fill a need that the community has felt for years.”

The 57,603-square-foot facility exhibits all the features of the California-based chain’s “urban lifestyle” format, including mahogany floors, halogen lights, and kiosks that replace traditional counter areas.

“Our urban lifestyle format has been a huge success across the country, and we think it will fit in very well with downtown,” said Rojon Hasker, Safeway president and general manager for perishables and lifestyle.

The store will offer high quality perishables and include some Safeway innovations: the first store in the city equipped with a nut bar, wine cellar and an open-flame hearth in the bakery.

The facility also will include a Starbucks coffee shop and Bergman’s Dry Cleaning store.

Safeway’s opening at CityVista is the culmination of several years of economic planning and continued growth in the central city. Formerly the site of the Wax Museum, the $200 million complex was conceived in 2005 to help revitalize the Mount Vernon Triangle area, which is bound by New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts avenues.

The complex features 678 residential units and 117,000 square feet of retail space, 55,000 of which was offered to Safeway by the site’s developer, Lowe Enterprises.

“Lowe Enterprises sought Safeway as a major partner in developing this complex, and we feel this will provide the kind of economic growth the downtown area needs,” Mr. Muckle said.

One luxury at the new Safeway is its ability to offer more services and more amenities than any competitor in the downtown area. The store will be the 17th Safeway built in the District, more than any other grocer. Giant Food, the largest chain in the suburbs and Safeway’s nemesis in the District with six stores, offers a smaller store farther north at Eighth and O streets.

“If you’re a resident, the best part about this is you won’t have to go to another facility, everything you could possible need will be right here,” said Don Wright, president of Real Estate.

Area residents say they are thrilled with the variety Safeway will provide.

“This is very exciting now that we can walk a few blocks to shop. This is something the whole community will enjoy,” said Jacqueline Vass, a neighborhood resident.

“Just to be able to pick and choose where to go without any hassles is great,” said Ramona Coleman of nearby Washington Apartments.

“Until now, we’ve had just one main store in the area, and a lot of people travel well outside the city to save on groceries, so this will be a huge convenience.”

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