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Giant Close To Deal For 55K SF Store Where Walmart Infamously Changed Course

The intersection of East Capitol Street and 58th Street SE as it appeared in 2019

Giant Food Stores is close to a deal to open a new supermarket at Capitol Gateway Marketplace in D.C.'s Ward 7, potentially bringing a long-dormant retail project an anchor grocer after nearly 20 years of efforts.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made the announcement Wednesday, two weeks after filing an eminent domain case to bring the retail center under District control, court records show. Though the commitment is preliminary, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio said "the finish line is in sight" to bring the 55K SF grocer online.

The grocery announcement occurred as Bowser announced the third round of the Food Access Fund, a program that has brought new restaurants to underserved neighborhoods east of the river.

"Today, we are one bold step closer to delivering on a promise made more than 20 years ago to bring a grocer to Capitol Gateway, and many steps closer to seeding new, locally-owned food businesses in our neighborhoods through the Food Access Fund,” Bowser said in a statement.

The eminent domain case for Capitol Gateway Marketplace, located at the intersection of East Capitol Street NE and 58th Street NE, was filed against the D.C. Housing Authority, PNC Bank, a joint venture backed by DCHA and A&R Development, Patrick Tehan of PNC Real Estate and Brian Cannon of S&T Bank.

The office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development submitted nearly $14.5M for the property Thursday. Bowser first signaled her intention to use eminent domain at the site in January and earned approval from the D.C. Council in February, a necessary step for the procedure.

In the case filed before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the D.C. government cited the need to reduce food insecurity in an underserved neighborhood and revitalize an economically distressed community as motivations behind the eminent domain case.

The property has been stalled since Walmart reneged on an agreement to open a location in 2016, angering city officials, including Bowser. Walmart had opened three stores in Northwest D.C. as part of a development that was supposed to include two stores east of the Anacostia River. At Skyland Town Center, the planned Walmart has been replaced by a Lidl

Bowser has directed several new initiatives to address food insecurity in Wards 7 and 8, where the D.C. Policy Center estimates 82% of the city's food deserts lie.

On Wednesday, she announced a third round of the Food Access Fund, which will grant over $7M in total to local food businesses in need of capital to expand operations.

The fund has been used for sit-down restaurants at new developments like Skyland and the MLK Gateway project in Historic Anacostia. The mayor also plans to use the fund to support grocers.