Safeway goes Mixed Use!

Museum Place Lofts & Townhouses were finished in 2003 in Portland’s Cultural District. The development has 140 apartments atop and behind a Safeway grocery store.

Safeway has thrown away its clothes!!! Naked Thursdays!! Come as you are!

Yes, I’m babbling…I just learned Safeway in Washington DC has two mixed use redevelopments cooking.  Starting with community input sessions, Safeway partners up with a builder and is creating mixed use properties.  They’re, in effect, adding residential on top of their grocery stores!!!  Well, Duh!!

I’m taking steps to create a dense, mixed use, deeply affordable, thriving neighborhood redevelopment in Santa Fe.  So when SAFEWAY!!! goes mixed use, I don’t feel like such a pie-in-the-sky Utopian.  Damn straight, I’m a pragmatic developer of sustainable neighborhoods!!

One of these Safeways is going to have 150 apartments and 10-15 townhouses above the new Safeway. Another has 486 apartments and is going to be 17 stories tall, again above the new Safeway and underground parking.

It takes a certain number of residents to make the neighborhood commerical successful. Underground parking is expensive.  The numbers have to work.

In Santa Fe, we don’t have the traditions of medium high rises to make the densities successful.  Our challenge is to have enough buildings with 2-4 stories above commercial and community services on the bottom floor, so the streets become lively with neighbors going about their daily tasks.

Safeway’s experience partnering with housing developers and working with residents through the zoning process has allowed the company to align itself with public officials who are looking to fashion their neighborhoods as more walkable, urban and environmentally friendly.

This is contrast to Wal-Mart, which is looking to sell more groceries and open at least four stores in the District, but is fending off protests. Developing mixed-use projects is more complex work than simply rehabilitating grocery stores, but  Tim Baker, vice president of eastern division real estate for Safeway, said company officials have begun meeting with residents about plans to redevelop the property into a mixed-use project. Baker, who used to work for Wal-Mart, said it pays off. “The way we look at it is, we can get an even better project that way,” he said.

Safeway… who would have thought?? They’re going for a huge private label organic food line, and now mixed use redevelopments. Quoting Arlo at Woodstock “New York threw away its clothes!!”

So come on people. Raise your voices, envision your future sustainable! Together we can make sustainable real!!

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