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Skyland Town Center Lands Grocery Anchor

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Rendering of Skyland Town Center in Ward 7
A rendering of Skyland Town Center

The Skyland Town Center development team has reached a deal for a grocery store anchor, the first new supermarket to open East of the River in over a decade.

German grocer Lidl signed a lease for 29K SF store at the Rappaport and WC Smith development, which has been working for years to land an anchor retail tenant. 

The deal represents the first D.C. store for Lidl, a discount grocery chain that began opening stores in the U.S. in 2017 after establishing its U.S. headquarters in Northern Virginia in 2015. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the development team announced the deal Monday at ICSC RECon in Las Vegas, the same conference where two years ago Bowser announced D.C. had landed its first Wegmans

"Lidl is a fantastic grocery store — a grocery store that we are proud to be bringing to the residents of Ward 7," Bowser said in a release  

The grocery store will join CVS at Skyland Town Center, the 18-acre mixed-use development underway at the intersection of Alabama Avenue SE, Good Hope Road and Naylor Road. 

“We are committed to opening stores in the most convenient location for our customers,” Lidl U.S. CEO Johannes Fieber said. “We selected Skyland Town Center because it offers District residents an easily accessible, convenient and visible site. Understanding the history of the site and the tremendous anticipation from the community, we look forward to building a store customized for the shoppers of Skyland Town Center.” 

Skyland Town Center
A photo taken in April of the under-construction Skyland Town Center project

The District selected the Rappaport and WC Smith team to develop on the site in 2002, but a series of setbacks has led the project to be delayed by more than 15 years. The team had landed Walmart to anchor the project, but the retailer backed out of the deal in 2016. 

The development team continued to move forward without an anchor, and in February 2018 it closed a financing package that allowed it to begin construction. The financing included a loan from EagleBank, an investment through the EB-5 program, plus a tax-increment financing package and an infrastructure grant from the District. 

The first phase of the project, expected to deliver next year, will include 263 apartments and 84,500 SF of retail. The full development is slated to include up to 500 units and 135K SF of retail. 

“Lidl’s decision to locate at Skyland Town Center means that our future residents will have a top-quality supermarket at their doorstep,” WC Smith CEO Chris Smith said.