Thursday, January 19, 2006

Goodbye, and good riddance

Following up on last night's breaking news, Hayduke received his first dispatch from a local correspondent who attended the King's Contrivance Village Board meeting where plans were released for a new grocery store at the local village center.

Before we get to the story, I'd like to take this time to invite everyone reading this to submit via email any stories about the county they feel aren't being adequately covered by our local papers. Of course, I'll retain editorial control over what gets posted, but don't be afraid to throw in commentary with your news; after all, that's what this blog is all about.

Without further ado, here's the report from correspondent Mac Hater (sorry, man, that was the best nickname I could come up with for you; it's pretty true, though).

Last night at the Kings Contrivance Village Board meeting, Kimco Realty presented its plans for the KC Village Center. The most detested Safeway, whose lease expires at the end of June, will not be back. Taking its place will be a new Harris Teeter. The plans are to leave the Village Center intact as it is now without modification (or refurbishment), but the current Safeway and what was (eons ago) the Friendly’s Restaurant will be totally razed. A new, much larger grocery store will be constructed from the ground up on the sites now occupied by the Safeway and the old Friendly’s parking lot.

The loose time frame looks to have the Safeway closing its doors in mid June (as its lease is up on June 30th) and demolition and construction will hopefully begin immediately thereafter. Although they did not provide specific details, Kimco officials suggested that the new store could be open as soon as late Summer 2007. They stressed the importance for opening the new anchor store as quickly as possible to minimize the adverse impact on the smaller shops in the Village Center. There are many loose ends to be worked out with the county, such as traffic and zoning issues, but Kimco feels confident that things will move quickly and does not expect problems. In a brief statement Guy Guzzone pledged his support for the project, affirming its importance to Kings Contrivance Village Center and Howard County.


Kimco officials addressed a number of questions from residents ranging from the location of shopping cart corrals in the parking lots to where the Tractor Trailers will unload.


Harris Teeter has no stores in Maryland but is growing its franchise. There are stores in Ballston & Pentagon City, Virginia, with two more currently under construction in the District of Columbia. Harris Teeter is a full service grocery store. It is more high-end than Safeway or Giant. In addition to providing your usual run of the mill grocery store offerings they will also have a large number of organic and natural products. For example a Harris Teeter official explained that they will have 80-90 organic products in just the produce section alone.

Yum.

Yum, indeed. This is great news to everyone who hates the Safeway, which is just about everyone who's ever been there.

3 comments:

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Anonymous said...

As soon as we K.C. residents are relieved of the overly-long and impossible-to-ignore construction eyesore to erect what is possibly the ugliest church ever constructed, we now lose a very serviceable neighborhood grocery store and face another protracted construction project to replace it. There is no good reason for the new grocery store construction to last for a year. Demolition of the old store and site prep shouldn't take more than a month. The new structure is basically just a box with lighting and refrigeration plant - 6 months. Believe me, I know of what I'm talking about. Teeter isn't interested in being a good neighbor by getting the job done without causing unneeded stress on the community and the other retailers in the village; they want to do it at the pace best suited to their own interests only.

If there's one thing Columbia and K.C. don't need, it's more upscale establishments. This blog makes a point of always lamenting the economic squeeze on lower income familes in the county, yet you endorse this sort of upscale development. Do you know what credibility is?

Sure, our Safeway had its faults. But it also had advantages. It was possibly the least crowded grocery within 10 to 15 miles or more. It didn't try to be everything for everybody with aisle after aisle of redundant food products and, worse yet, non-food junk sundries. The produce department was only a little limited compared to the closest competitor, Giant in Owen Brown, and was generally of better quality. It was reasonably clean and pleasant enough for regular shopping. It was a nice neighborhood store. More than enough to make up for a few minor shortcomings. Yet the general consensus seems to be that Teeter's is going to be so much better that it will be worth a year or more of pre-opening disruption, reduced sales to the other retailers, hardships on the elderly and handicapped in the community, and post-opening increased traffic and crowded shopping.

Residents of K.C.: you are about to find out what it means to not know how good things were until you lost it. I'm not surprised at this lack of foresight; it's the Columbia tradition... pave paradise and put up a parking lot... every man for himself... it's all for sale...

Columbians pay lip service to social ideals, but their choices show they're just common hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the foregoing dissenting opinion re: Harris Teeter. That was over two years ago and, IMO, I was right. It turned out even worse than I thought it would. TWO YEARS in construction (shameful!), incredibly high prices, and at least a 100% increase in traffic. Our KC/Dickenson neighborhood is ruined. I hope you are happy with your short-sightedness. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. I told you so!