Thursday, June 30, 2011

Again With The Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are in the news again.

The Business Lexington recently broke the news that I have been sitting on for a few days so I guess it is okay to talks about now.  The Kroger store in Chevy Chase has had a parking problem for lo these many years.  About as many years as since the returned to a Chevy Chase location.  As they made the stores bigger, the problem just got bigger too.

The first building that I remember on this property was a Colonial Alber's grocery store and, like Kroger, they sat back off the street with parking in the front.  At that time, the entire block of Lafayette (now Marquis) Ave. was filled with houses and commercial businesses had yet to encroach.  This and a sister store on Southland Dr were their only foray into the Lexington market.  Built in the mid 'fifties, in ten years they were gone.

Masters TV & Appliances had moved from the present Charlie Browns spot and stayed until a Higgin's KRI branch opened.  Neither one lasted very long.  Then came the Piece Goods Shop, a fabric and sewing store, which lasted until the very early '70s.

Kroger, which had had a presence in Chevy Chase since before the war (WWII), had moved to the 500 block of S. Upper St., then decided to return, tore down the old building and (if I recall correctly) brought the building a bit closer to the sidewalk squeezing the parking a little in order to bring in the delivery trucks to the rear.  Over the years, they have had two expansions and have approached their 40,000 sq. ft. limit for the B-1 zone.  Parking and the increase in population/area from which they draw has become a greater and greater mismatch, even after they acquired additional property.

A possible solution, placing the parking on the roof.  Hey, why not, it has been done successfully in Florida.  (I guess that goes along with Florida's own Fark tag.)  My feeling is that the engineering and the space necessary for the ramps up and down is going to be too costly and that it might be better to excavate for all the mechanical, food prep and offices.  That would leave much more of the ground floor for sale area.

I like the idea if it being right up on the sidewalk (10 feet back)and a possible cafe style seating area.  Even a art style bus stop could be designed into the facade.  Bring back the old type display windows and an awning and you have the urban feel of the rest of Chevy Chase.  It does seem strange to be talking about parking solutions in such a walkable neighborhood as this is.

The title does say stores - plural - so what is the other one.

A legal ad in the Wednesday Herald-Leader stated the intention of applying for a couple of liquor licenses for the old Joe's Crab Shack location on Nicholasville Rd. near Regency Center.  Also, within the last few weeks, an amended development plan was approved for a mystery tenant and the 15,000 sq. ft. structure is clearly labeled as a grocery and an attached liquor outlet.

Do we know any small footprint stores which would like to keep its plans quiet for a while?

The name on the legal ad was ......................Trader Joe's.

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