Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

The Washington Post is reporting that developer William C. Smith is "no longer seeking" a proposed $8 million tax abatement to bring Whole Foods to a planned 375-unit apartment building at 800 New Jersey Ave., SE, and that in fact the news coverage of the proposal may have killed the deal altogether.
The article quotes a statement from Whole Foods saying that the company "was not involved in any tax break or lease agreement negotiations" with WC Smith, and Michael Stevens of the BID is quoted as saying "I used to know that Whole Foods wanted to be in the neighborhood. After that article, I don't know anymore."
Whether the entire Whole Foods deal is truly dead or there's just some steam being let off is not 100 percent clear in the article, though it quotes an anonymous source as saying that Whole Foods could still end up somewhere in the area and is "fielding entreaties from other developers."
This is/was not the only grocery store planned for Near Southeast, with Forest City including supermarket space in the apartment building that it has planned for 401 M St., SE at the Yards, which could be getting underway late this year or early in 2012. (Standard statement whenever mentioning this: it's long been reported that Harris Teeter will be occupying that space, but neither Forest City nor the grocery chain have ever publicly announced a deal.)
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Eric says: (5/1/11 5:44 PM)
Well, poop. Whole Foods would have been amazing and have really solidified near SE as 'making it', not that we need WF to make it. Woulda helped though.


JD says: (5/1/11 5:47 PM)
Maybe if the neighborhood were in Ward 8.... :) :)


JT says: (5/2/11 2:11 AM)
I was TOTALLY going to make that same joke earlier (not early enough).

I almost feel as though you alley-ooped yourself on that one, JD, given all the Ward 8 talk in the other thread!


JD says: (5/2/11 10:21 AM)
My statement was neither pro no con. Just pure snark!


G says: (5/2/11 11:40 AM)
Not sure that stretch of JD Land could have handled a Whole Foods, but it was nice to dream.

Reminds me Cap Hill Safeway BEFORE their makeover, when it held a monopoly on grocery store traffic around here and tried to appeal to both yuppies and non-yuppies... Mother-in-law commented that you don't always see Lard and Caviar in the same aisle of a grocery store. LOL


58Model says: (5/2/11 1:17 PM)
I'm sure MBMC could make it happen with a few phone calls...


5th Street says: (5/3/11 8:16 AM)
As I said in February, I feel that there is enough in Near SE now to draw in potential tenants in due time. The last fixer upper on 5th Street SE by EYA sold for 400,000. Most EYA houses are now selling for ~ $700K. This was not the case 7 years ago when this development started taking shape. I would have benefited from Whole Foods, but I don’t believe it was worth the $8 million tax abatement. As JW pointed out in the February post there have been previous tax credits in our community which we have all benefited from. However as the neighborhood matures and more buildings are built we need to rely less on the tax credits and let the market drive retail. We can’t complain about the DC budget, the potential for higher taxes and fees in DC, while at the same time agree to support a $8 million tax abatement for a grocery store in our community.

I hope Whole Foods still finds it financially feasible to open up a store in our community.


4th Street says: (5/5/11 7:00 PM)
As much as we would all love to see a Whole Foods in the neighborhood, it is pretty clear that the developer lied or was deliberating misleading to get himself a large tax break. Whole Foods saw their name being used inappropriately and issued a very clear statement saying they were in no way involved. The developer then backpedaled and said Whole Foods "used to want to be in the neighborhood", which may or may not be true, is unprovable in any case, and is far different than the earlier statements which implied actual discussions with Whole Foods about this specific property.

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