Press Club

The mysterious new grocery store in Crystal City sure looks like an Amazon Fresh store

(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) Is Amazon building a flagship grocery store near HQ2? Based on photos showing the inside of the under-construction store, it sure looks like it.

Nothing has been announced, and both Amazon and building owner JBG Smith have been tight-lipped about the thus-far-unnamed grocery store that’s coming to 1550 Crystal Drive, though rumors have swirled throughout the year that Amazon is behind the store.

The company, meanwhile, has been busy opening Amazon Fresh grocery stores throughout the D.C. area. The stores are similar to traditional grocery stores but with technology that lets customers instantly checkout without scanning items.

Crystal City has long been without a grocery store, after the lone Safeway that served the neighborhood closed in 2005. There are grocery stores nearby, however, including Harris Teeter stores in Pentagon City and the Potomac Yard area, a newer Amazon-owned Whole Foods in Pentagon City, and what was formerly a Shoppers supermarket in Potomac Yard.

The Shoppers is becoming — you guessed it — an Amazon Fresh store.

In Crystal City, building permits conspicuously fail to name the store that’s under construction at 1550 Crystal Drive.  But the store is described, as “a new retail shop providing packaged salads, sandwiches, entrees, soups & various beverages [and] self app check-out.” It will also have anti-graffiti window film.

The windows of the store are covered —  with generic images and the announcement of a “specialty grocer coming soon” — but one enterprising local resident was able to sneak a peek inside. He observed an Amazon-like orange wall, plus aisle and restroom signs that look remarkably similar to those in the Amazon Fresh store in Chevy Chase.

Earlier this year another tipster told ARLnow that a friend who was involved in the construction project described it in a way that sounded exactly like an Amazon Fresh store. But the friend was under a non-disclosure agreement — a bit unusual for a grocery store construction project — and did not reveal the name of the store.

As of publication time a PR rep for Amazon Fresh has not responded to a request for comment from ARLnow.

This would not be the first time that Amazon has left a couple of breadcrumbs while being secretive about something involving Arlington.

In 2018, in the midst of the company’s HQ2 search, ARLnow reported exclusively about a spike in web traffic from Amazon computers to a particular story about Arlington winning a top environmental award. Nine months later the company announced that HQ2 would be built in Arlington.

Portions of photos via Google Maps

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