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Cherrydale Safeway to Get Makeover

by Katie Pyzyk January 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm 2,147 94 Comments

Cherrydale SafewayThe Safeway store in Cherrydale (3713 Lee Highway) will soon undergo a revamp.

A Safeway representative attended the Cherrydale Civic Association (CCA) meeting earlier this month to discuss the remodeling plan with residents. According to information presented at the meeting, the building footprint would remain the same and the remodeling would occur within the store.

“We’ve asked them for a better deli, fresh produce, a bakery. A lot of food was too close to expiration,” said CCA President Maureen Ross. “It’s just in need of renovations.”

Ross noted that Safeway has thus far been receptive to the idea of adding a Capital Bikeshare station on the grounds.

”We’re very excited and we’re praising them,” Ross said. “We’ve also asked them to see if they’d be willing to adopt the street trees because Arlington County has not been able to maintain the trees and they look terrible.”

There’s the possibility that the final plan will involve changes to the store facade and landscaping, but that will not be determined until Safeway gives final approval and the design is revealed. Final approval is also necessary in order to name an official start date for the makeover, although the CAA hopes it can begin in March. We’re told the renovation should take around 90 days to complete.

  • “A lot of food was too close to expiration,”

    Sounds like the Bluemont Safeway.

    • I know right

      I was going to say, I don’t see how renovating a whole store will fix that problem, but you go for it, lady.

      • other side of the river


  • Cakes

    I remember this Safeway undergoing an interior renovation a few years back. Can’t have been more than 5 years, I think.

    I also remember as a kid, this Safway being built as the one directly across from it was being torn down.

    • Artie Fufkin

      It was around 2000 when they renovated that place. I remember because I lived next door at the time.

  • FoodieFlop

    The county should require 6-8 stories of affordable housing to be built on top of the Safeway.

    • Novanglus

      …and ground floor retail along Lee Hwy.

      • JMB

        Bocce court, lazy river,….

        • YTK

          Froyo store and SUV roof repair shop too

          • ArlRes

            I know the comments are in jest, but actually that would have been nice…

      • Sarcasm I

        And maybe they should remove the parking area completely and replace it with store fronts.

    • Sandra

      This Safeway used to be where the parking lot is now. With the renovations it has undergone, and those that are planned, I wonder about the future of the store. How many more renovations will it have? Housing on top of the Safeway will only limit the store’s ability to make changes as it sees fit, or to be flexible with the property in the future. 6-8 stories is also too much for Lee Highway to bear.

    • You laugh but that

      wouldn’t be horrible. I am not worried about your “affordable housing” comment because the economics would never make it feasible (nor should it). But, this is certainly a great time to evaluate the site for development and fill-in to make the area more walkable.

      while some of the recent additions are nice, they don’t make the area anymore walkable then it is now. The two biggest areas the inhibit walkability and are significant areas of Cherrydale is the Safeway Parking lot (that is never filled) and the 5 points area (mostly due to the points being dominated by 2 car dealerships, 2 gas stations and a generally crappy restaurant).

      Redeveloping the Safeway by rightsizing it and shifting from one side of the parking lot to something like the Whole Foods in Tenleytown or HT in Shirlington and then building low-retail commerical buildings along Lee Highway would help the situation.

      Instead, Safeway is trying fix the Brooklyn Bridge with spackle

      • John Fontain

        So Safeway is responsible for making your part of town the way you want it to be?

        • R. Davies

          I’m with you! It galls me that the “Arlington Way” makes everyone think they have a right to dictate how private property is developed and/or run. Let the Cherrydale Civic Assocation buy the place and run it if they’re so brilliant!

        • You are jumping to conclusions

          Hmm…did you fall over when you made that jump in your conclusions.

          Safeway can do whatever they want to their property it doesn’t bother me. It is merely a suggestion though I would guess many long term plans are developed via anonymous blog posts (rolls eyes). Safeway would make more money by selling the development rights and doing what I stated then simply redoing the inside of the store. I doubt management and employees would changes which is why that store is downright awful and never full except for long check-out lines.

          But, long term that spot is ripe for development in-fill (be it now or 10 years down the road) just like the 5 points areas. See the Bergmans’ development if you don’t think so. It would also mesh with smart growth and continuing to create more localized neighborhoods.

      • confused

        otoh they can still develop later, depending on how the market develops. Since most of the apts there are four stories, I guess 6-8 would violate the zoning. And of course shirlington is overall a denser area.

  • Richard

    That Safeway is terrrible

  • Finally

    maybe they will finally realize its not 1985 anymore and they need self checkout. the 10+ deep lines with 1-checkout line open screams union tho, so we’ll see. great news for that new residential building going up across the street and the apartments above subway

    • BBMS

      I don’t know the state of affairs with Safeway now, but when I bagged groceries back in the 80’s the Safeway checkers were all union and they were real difficult about their schedules.

      • They are still union

        And thus, one of the reasons why you only see 2-3 checkout clerks in safeway v. any Harris Teeter which has 5-8 clerks. Now, not to seem anti-union but Giant is also union but always seems to have adequetely staffed check-out lanes. It is just a symptom of Safeway being awful.

        • JohnB

          VA is a “Right to Work” state so I don’t think the issue is related to unions.

          • drax

            Everything is a union’s fault, you see.

          • True. But that

            relates to having a company being open-shop meaning there are union employees and non-union employees working in the same spot. But, I’d guess that that Safeway is all union given the absolutely low-level of workers at the store. Regardless of a store being open shop there are ways to coerce employees to join the union like say the non-union employee always working Xmas or late night or having general awful hours and management doesn’t want to make waves about. If you don’t think that happens I’m not sure what to tell you.

        • John Fontain

          The lines at the Washington Blvd Giant have been pretty bad of late.

          • bobbytiger

            The ones waiting for a parking space?

          • Arg-linton

            Bluemont Safeway patrons are over it and would rather drive to Falls Church or Giant to get decent service/goods.

    • Cherrydale Luddite

      If the have lots of self checkout lines then they will discover they don’t need as many checkers. I’d rather have a checker check my groceries and know that I’m not putting someone out of work.

      • Me Too

        And we all know if they get rid of checkers and put in self checkout they aren’t going to lower the prices with the money they saved, so let’s stick with the checkers.

      • Do you go to an ATM

        pay via credit cards, pay bills on-line, drive a car, etc. Because under that same non-sensical theory you are also putting people out of work – like a bank teller, bus driver, etc.

    • Rory

      Giant has unions too, they don’t have this problem. I guess part of it is the culture

  • DB

    The produce at this Safeway is horrible. Can they add checkout lanes and a few more employees, too? Last time I was there they had two lanes open out of the tiny number they have to begin with. The smaller Giant at Lyon Village has more lanes!

  • Jon

    The biggest problem I have with that Safeway is that they are ALWAYS understaffed. But it’s still nowhere near as awful as the Lyon Village Giant.

    • Grocey shopper

      Recently I left my groceries in the cart and walked out at Lyon Village Giant because staff would not let customers check out. One customer was tying up 2-3 cashiers as other workers stood around watching. Do the managers and employees never shop anywhere themselves or is it too difficult to translate their own shopping experience to their work experience? Very strange.

    • drax

      A union to raise wages would help that.

      • QTR

        Yeah, that worked really well for Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc….

  • Sarah

    ABOUT TIME! This place is the worst! Sketchy….

    S is for sorry ass safeway
    A is for atrocious
    F is for funkmeister dirty
    E is for expired products being sold here
    W is for WORST safeway eva
    A is for abomination for grocery store standards
    Y- is for years. You will waste many of these if you stand in their lines.

  • Safeway Sux

    S is for sorry excuse for safeway
    A is for atrocious
    F is for funkmeister dirty
    E is for expired products being sold here
    W is for WORST safeway eva
    A is for abomination for grocery store standards
    Y- is for years. You will waste many of these if you stand in their lines.

    • Boooo

      Sorry, that was just as unfunny the second time…

      • Not Me

        Well you gotta hand it to her for having the presence of mind to copy it before trying to submit it. That would have been a pain to reconstruct and would surely have been different the second time around.

        • John Fontain

          Nah, wouldn’t have been a pain to reconstruct given that it was copied from someone else…


          • drax

            So someone was goofy enought to write that, and someone else thought it was worth copying.

          • Buckley

            Actually, it goes deeper than that. Someone was goofy enough to write that, and someone else thought it was worth copying and then someone else went even further and thought it would be a good use of time to research where that second someone copied the first someone’s goofy post. Proof positive you can’t be lazy on these boards.

      • YTK

        Safeway has always been unfunny to me. Was so happy to see the one in my nabe close its doors forever.

  • Sandra

    I like the Lyon Village Giant, usually good service, and for a small store, reasonable selection. I also like the Lee-Harrison Harris Teeter, excellent service and selection. The best is the new Trader Joe’s in Clarendon. That is an excellent addition to Arlington County. I wish Safeway the best on its renovations, but I think it does have competiion from other neighborhood merchants in the neighborhood on deli, produce and bakery. I find the Cherrydale Safeway to be not much different from other Safeways I have seen, including the one at Lee-Harrison.

    • Ziv

      I like the TJ in Clarendon, but the last time I was there the line wrapped all the way back to the dairy section! We were all taking one too many glasses of wine because it took us 5 or 10 minutes to get there and judging by the line in front of us, we needed the refreshment…

  • dorkbomb

    This Cherrydale Safeway is like a Wegman’s compared to the Safeway on Wilson or the one on Old Dominion in McLean.

    • Ziv

      When I first got to Arlington in the 80’s, the Safeway on Wilson (near George Mason) was scornfully nicknamed the “Soviet Safeway” because they only had one kind of each item and they frequently ran out of what they were supposed to have.

      • LAL

        I always call it the Soviet Safeway too!! I remember when the Cherrydale Safeway was renovated and it doesn’t seem that long ago compared to other renovations. I’ve only shopped there a few times recently on Monday nights, and it’s a dream compared to the Wilson Blvd Safeway. The checkout lines do suck….

  • Dissatisfied Customer

    I’ll bet there will no notifcable difference. The Cherrydale Safeway has terrible service, is always dirty, poorly stocked, downright ugly inside and out, and has vast areas set aside for services that almost no one uses: deli, bakery, seasonal junk. The most noticeable feature of the store is how empty it is compared to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Giant, etc. But it nevertheless has the longest, slowest lines. Really Safeway, you can do better than this.

  • HJ

    Why is it necessary to renovate to improve product rotation? Will renovation have any impact on product rotation?

  • MD

    I only go to this Safeway because I live right next door to it. Even then, I only go for one or two items, or something I may need for a recipe. I honestly would rather DRIVE somewhere else to shop for groceries than walk 5 min next door. There are never enough lanes open — even when the lines are snaking up the grocery aisles, they never open additional registers. They are rarely ever stocked (no apples….really?) and I find the staff there to generally be more interested in talking with each other than in ringing up your groceries correctly.

  • GreaterClarendon

    I actually like that Safeway. It is the best in the immediate area (between the 2 Giants) for buying for larger families, and not young singles. You can always get a parking space, and don’t worry about cars appearing out of nowhere. Sure it could use better produce, but I’m fine with it as is – and I shop there more now that they have Exxon gas discounts that can add up pretty quickly. I usually shop after work, or on the weekends, and although once in a time crunch I abandoned my shopping cart fully stocked due to slow lines, lines have generally not been an ongoing issue.

    • Hank

      Yeah, I like it, too. The staff has always been really friendly. I really haven’t had the terrible experiences others have been reporting. It would be nice to have self checkout lines, though.

      • BBMS

        David Broder shopped there a lot. I used to stop by around closing to see a friend who checked there, and he was often there picking up a few items.

  • Buckley

    Expired bologna, mushy pears and unsightly street trees. Wait, what’s the problem again?

  • Mick Way

    I’m hoping it will renovate into a Wegmans.

    • relax

      Wegmans is meant for soccer moms in the suburbs. There is one in Gainesville. They sell 49 packs of everything so you have stuff to put in your 4500 sq ft house.

      • mick Way

        You obviously haven’t drunk the Wegmans kool-aid. It’s right there between the in-house dry-aged beef and the impossibly-fresh fish.

  • Pablo

    Did Cherrydale Safeway notice that someone stole their Starbucks?

    And I guess that just like with Ballston Commons, Safeway’s Arlington stores must make enough money to be deemed unworthy of overhauls.

  • John Fontain

    I agree with the comments about expired items at this Safeway. It’s really amazing, actually, that so much stuff in the dairy/deli cases is near or past expiration. I’m surprised they haven’t gotten into trouble because of it.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Ditto for the Safeway at Wilson and N. Edison just west of N. George Mason. I hope if/when it is ever renovated it might be a store I’d want to shop at – its only a 10 minute walk from my house.

      • Henry Spencer

        Some months ago, there was talk of developing that site with multistory apartments above a new Safeway and underground parking, but I haven’t seen anything more since.

    • drax

      Is it illegal?

  • motley

    The best way to renovate this Safeway would be to put a Wegmans in its place. I can’t believe that the type A Arlington residents, who go to the mat for the silliest things, haven’t demanded better and cleaner grocery stores.

    • John Fontain

      Well, they’ve got their priorities and I guess back yard chickens come first on that list.

      • Backyard Chickens

        Just wait until there will be the demand for increase animal control employees as people having backyard chickens inevitable increases the number of foxes, coyotes, raccoons, etc. that like to eat chickens occurs.

    • Like me, people vote with

      their wallet and never go into the store so could careless given the 5-6 other options within 1-1.5 miles.

  • motley

    Sorry, Mick Way – didn’t see your comment before I posted. Great minds think alike!!

  • kdub

    Can they please renovate the Safeway in Rosslyn? That place is awful!

  • High Riser

    “6-8 stories is also too much for Lee Highway to bear.” Not any more. The county board set the defacto standard for Lee Highway at 11 stories in December when the county board unanimously approved McCaffery’s plan for the Bergmann’s Cleaners site. The recipe: Draw up your tower with a description of it’s unique site attributes. Add a bike rack, a pinch of sidewalk tables, street retail, and a dash of Lead Gold with a green roof. Turn up the heat and whip in a handful of affordable apartments. Serve to the county board with Dom Perignon and they will find the weasel words to justify and approve it.

    • Road DIet

      Lee Highway provides an excellent connection to Washington, DC, both by car and by bus. On such highly desirable property it only makes sense to have denser building codes.

    • Mr Greenjeans

      Um High Riser,

      That’d be LEED Gold (Leadership In Energy & Environmental Design). Lead gold is mixing metals in the worst way.

      • High Riser

        Hey, Mr. Greenjeans, The board’s implementation of that program is actually alchemy for developers; they are allowed to essentially document what they are doing regarding energy and environmental design anyway nowadays and turn it into gold, i.e., a 40% den$ity bonu$. The board doesn’t get much in return for citizens.

        • Reading is fun

          God – all you “6 – 8 feet” posters should perhaps read the article. There’s nothing in it about building on top of the current property. That comment was from a snarky poster. You guys are pretty dense or just need any excuse to get on your soap boxes and pontificate on county development.

          • nom de guerre

            Reading is fun but reading comprehension is difficult-“6-8 feet. ” WTF?

          • Reading is fun

            Lord – I meant 6 – 8 stories. That has nothing to do with comprehension and everything to do with fat fingering. Read the comments and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    • Frog

      Why does one building on Lee Highway “set the pattern” for the rest of Lee Highway? That’s like saying the 30 story building going up in Rosslyn now “sets the pattern” for the rest of Wilson Boulevard.

      • It’s called RE Taxes

        Like all other government institutions, is really more worried about increasing RE taxes to pay for crap they think county residents need. That can be done in two ways, raise rates or increase development. Allowing for 11 story building on Lee highway increases development which increases tax revenue without per se raising rates. It really is a no-brainer on their part.

        If you question this premise, when was the last time the county board turned down a development project on real reasons i.e. not using affordable housing or the like. I can’t remember. The last project turned down of any memory was O’Connell’s fields. That would cause absolutely no increase in the tax base so the ACB could accomodate the NIMBYs but if O’Connell had sold the land to a developer and moved their campus to Fairfax, there is absolutely no way that project would have been rejected by the ACB.

        • High Riser

          Exactly. It’s to raise tax revenue for their pet projects, e.g. trolley & megapool. They’re running out of space for high rises along the Metro so they’ve started ad hoc on Lee Hwy with the Bergmann’s and the Old Colony House sites. They have file folders full of exemptions and excuses with which to hand out bonus density from affordable (LOL) housing to LEED. Throw a few sidewalk tables and chairs into your development plan and you’ve got yourself a “placemaker” worthy, in their minds, of another floor. Plan to sell some organic edible items and you get to add some more apartments. They are even adding more excuses to their folders.

          • Ziv

            Have you seen that the Goodyear shop oppo Rock Bottom Brewery is getting torn down? 165 unit apartment building is going up. And it will have less than 1 parking space per apartment I bet!

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            Ziv- there are more parking spots than apts per this news release


            Also- it is right by the mall and sky walk to the metro station, plus its along a bus route.

          • High Riser

            Why is that Ballston apt blding only 6 stories? That’s where the tall bldgs were supposed to go, i.e., along the Metro corridor per the GLUP, not on Lee Highway, e.g., Bergmann’s. OH yea, that’s before the board realized that they were going to have to raise a huge pile of taxes to pay for all of their new pet projects.

          • Ziv

            Sheriff, per your link, 163 units/164 parking spaces, so I was off by 2 spaces. LOL!
            So between the managers space/engineers space/guest space, none of the 2 bedroom units will have 2 spaces, and there won’t be nearly enough parking. So second cars will be parked on the street, kind of like the Madison. Arlington is building too dense/too high, and then adding insult to injury they are allowing too few parking spots in the new buildings. The Arl Board are transit zealots and they are hurting the county because of it.

  • Alex

    That was a busy Safeway in the 80s.

  • electricbill

    This Safeway is terrible. In the last few years, I’ve noticed all the Safeway’s are awful. Has the whole chain slid or is this just a Nova thing?

    • Quoth the Raven

      Just a nova thing, I think. Safeway in the NW (at least the ones I’ve been to) are great – clean, nice, great produce, etc. Not sure why they can’t do the same thing here….

  • Penny

    The worst problem is the store had a new manager every 6 months. A new manager started last month and said he will be there for at least 2 years

  • i want to ride my bicycle

    the most important part of this article (and one that is being overlooked) is the addition of a capital bike share at the Safeway. This will be great for people wanting to go to Safeway, Cherrydale hardware, etc. also for residence of that neighborhood to get to the metro (or whole foods).

  • Bicycle, bicycle

    Residents, I meant residents, that’s what I get for typing before coffee.

  • Arg-linton

    So fustrating reading this story. Safeway should re-evaluate every store in the county as they all perform below standards, slum level even. Harrison’s not included but really, Bluemont, Rosslyn and Cherrydale ALL need attention…dire attention. How can Safeway operate with such confidence when their competitors are performing leaps and bounds over them. Who is there GM???? Does the CEO know?? Sheesh

  • High Riser

    Frog said, “Why does one building on Lee Highway “set the pattern” for the rest of Lee Highway? That’s like saying the 30 story building going up in Rosslyn now “sets the pattern” for the rest of Wilson Boulevard.” No it’s not. The General Land Use Plan (GLUP) for Rosslyn allows tall bldgs and the rest of Wilson doesn’t. The GLUP for Lee Hwy (outside of Rosslyn) doesn’t currently allow 11 story bldgs but the board has now set a legal precedent for more by approving Bergmann’s. And, there will be more.

  • High Riser

    Whoops. I should have said the GLUP for Rosslyn and along the Metro Corridor allows tall bldgs and the rest of Wilson doesn’t.

  • Jake

    Wow! Surprised at the vitriol! I just moved here a couple months ago and. Haven’t ran into any lines yet! The store seems clean and I look forward to the remodel. Others have cited the ever changing management as a problem, but the new managers are doing something right. Plus. Love the parking lot!


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