Alexandria City Council approved the construction of a six-story, mixed-use development in Potomac Yard on Saturday that will include 253 residential units and a 69,000-square foot Giant grocery store.
The development will be built just off Route 1 and north of Alexandria Fire Station 209 on Main Line Boulevard between E. Glebe Road and Seaton Avenue. It will have two and a half levels of underground parking for residents and grocery store customers. Twelve of the residential units will be reserved at an affordable rate.
The Giant will consume most of the ground floor of the development and is expected to include a Starbucks, bakery, pharmacy and an outdoor cafe at the corner of E. Glebe Road and Main Line Boulevard.
The construction of the Giant in Potomac Yard, which won’t open for a few years, will put three Giant stores within a small area in the northeastern section of the city, including one on Monroe Avenue in Del Ray and another on First Street in North Old Town. Another Giant sits on S. Glebe Road just north of the Arlington County border.
Giant holds a lease on its 20,000-square-foot Monroe Avenue store for another three years and “has given every indication” it will remain there for that time, said Gwen Wright, development division chief with the city’s Department of Planning.
“Giant has not told us directly that they would not be extending,” Wright said during the council meeting on Saturday. “There’s a strong possibility in the next three years they may not renew their lease.”
Members of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and the Planning Department met with the Del Ray Citizens Association in September to discuss the future of the Monroe Giant and other properties in Del Ray.
Long term plans for the two lots in the 400 block of Monroe Avenue that hold the Giant and nearby CVS call for either a consolidated mixed-use project or maintaining the sites as commercial parcels.
Barbara Ross, the city’s deputy planning director, said in September that the Giant lot in its current state would be attractive to many businesses.
“Right now, if you’re talking about Giant, it’s a good building,” Ross said. “There’s no need to improve the building. Its footprint would be one of the perks.”
The Giant lot has parking on-site, which is also seen as a perk.
AEDP employees said they have been looking at the gaps in the market and demographics to determine would make the Giant property and other lots in Del Ray a draw to retailers.
AEDP reps mentioned stores like The Fresh Market, REI or Eastern Mountain Sports, Dean and DeLuca and perhaps a fishmonger as possible retailers worth approaching. They also mentioned an Eastern Market-type setup for the Giant lot.
Those in attendance at September’s DRCA meeting also filled out surveys from AEDP listing what they would like to see come to Del Ray.
The Del Ray Business Association is expected to discuss the future of the Monroe Avenue Giant at its November luncheon.
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