ANC 3E votes to support grocery site redevelopment in AU Park
AU supports the commission’s decision to support project, university official says
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E, which represents AU Park, Tenleytown and Friendship Heights, voted on Sept. 25 to support a planned unit development for a grocery site redevelopment in AU Park, just north of Spring Valley.
The commission’s Vice Chairperson Jonathan McHugh, an AU Park resident who has lived in the area for over 19 years, told The Eagle many residents are happy to know that they could have access to a local grocery store after a Fresh & Greens (which evolved from a Superfresh) grocery store closed in 2013, according to The DC Line.
“It’s something that everyone has been wanting to have back,” McHugh said.
The commission’s agreement with Valor Development states that 13,000 square feet of retail space would be allocated for a full-service grocer for at least 10 years after a certificate of occupancy is issued. In addition, the proposed project would add about 219 units of apartments and townhomes across six buildings.
Before the vote, the commission had plenty of time to review Valor’s proposal and hear from supporters and opponents of the project to craft the agreement, McHugh said. Valor unveiled plans for the project in 2015, according to UrbanTurf. McHugh also said that some residents raised concerns over the size of the redevelopment site and how the project would impact parking and traffic.
At a Zoning Commission public hearing on Oct. 10, Spring Valley-Westley Heights Citizens Association President Jeffrey Kraskin said the amount of affordable housing proposed by the project was inadequate.
“An adequate supply of affordable housing is a critical public benefit,” Kraskin said.
The agreement signed by the commission also states that Valor cannot negotiate a master lease with AU for student housing within the development.
“Our stance is that we will go along with what the ANC decides to do, as they are the elected officials who represent the greater community,” said Edward Fisher, the University’s assistant vice president of community and government relations.
AU owns the parking lot in front of the vacant grocery store building. Valor is hoping to redevelop at lots bounded by 48th Street NW, Massachusetts Avenue and Yuma Street, directly north of AU’s Spring Valley Building.
Will Lansing, who heads Valor Development, did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls for comment from The Eagle.
The existing vendors at the proposed site include Salon Jean Paul, Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ and Pineapple Productions, a wedding planning shop.
When asked if the University had concerns about the fate of existing vendors where the project is planned to take place, Fisher reiterated AU’s support for the commission’s decision.
“We don’t have any control over what happens,” he said.
The Massachusetts Avenue Parking Shops, just west of the proposed development, are part of the designated historic Spring Valley Shopping Center, a site which includes a Wagshal’s Delicatessen and Market, a CVS Pharmacy and a Wells Fargo Bank.
In a statement to the Washington Zoning Commission, David Maloney, the District’s state historic preservation officer, said that the project “would enhance the character of the Parking Shops by improving its architectural setting.”