Arlington, VA

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Several Safeway stores in Arlington are offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Arlington, amid high demand for vaccinations.

The appointments are available for those ages 65 and up only.

Safeway stores in Arlington that appeared on the company’s vaccine appointment website as of 1 p.m. include the locations at 2500 N. Harrison Street, 3713 Lee Highway in Cherrydale, and 5101 Wilson Blvd in Bluemont. Stores in McLean, Falls Church and D.C. area also listed.

As of publication time, appointments were available for the second week in March. Appointment slots in previous weeks had been already been filled.

“Three of our Arlington stores will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines tomorrow,” a company spokeswoman confirmed to ARLnow Tuesday evening. “At this time, the allocated doses are very limited.”

Safeway is part of a federal vaccination program for national pharmacy chains and networks. CVS, another partner in the federal vaccination program, started offering appointments in Arlington earlier this month but its appointment website says CVS locations across Virginia are all fully booked.

Walgreens stores in Virginia are expected to start vaccinations soon, after the company gets its first shipment of nearly a half-million vaccine doses on Thursday.

Arlington County started taking appointments for those ages 65-74 on Friday, Feb. 12, after previously only vaccinating certain frontline workers and those ages 75 and up.

As of Tuesday morning, the county crossed the 10,000 mark for those fully vaccinated with two vaccine shots. A total of 31,553 vaccine doses have been administered in Arlington, and 10,157 people have been fully vaccinated, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.

Hat tip to @DMVVaccine

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A man collapsed at the Safeway store in Bluemont this morning and later died.

The man was in his 60s and collapsed near the pharmacy counter, according to initial reports. Medics reportedly performed CPR and rushed the man to nearby Virginia Hospital Center.

Arlington County police were on scene at the Safeway (5101 Wilson Blvd) around lunchtime today, investigating the man’s death. The death investigation is routine procedure after an incident like this and, according to a police spokeswoman, foul play is not currently suspected.

“At approximately 11:02 a.m. police were dispatched to the report of a cardiac arrest inside a business in the 5100 block of Wilson Boulevard,” said ACPD’s Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, an adult male was located suffering from an apparent medical emergency. He was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”

“The Arlington County Police Department is conducting a death investigation,” Savage continued. “Based on the preliminary investigation, the death does not appear suspicious.”

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It may not look very different from the outside, but the Safeway along Lee Highway at 2500 N. Harrison Street has been going through some big changes on the inside.

The grocery store chain has been giving some much-needed love to some stores in the region, which had previously earned nicknames like “Soviet Safeway” and “Un-Safeway.”

The exterior still has a tan, brutalist look reminiscent of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, but interior renovations have given new life to the store’s deli, seafood and produce sections, as well as relocating and renovating the grocery store’s Starbucks.

“In addition to extensive design renovations providing the store with a fresh new look, the store will now have new flooring, new fixtures and cases (including a chilled high-end wine case),” a spokeswoman for Safeway said. “The deli department has expanded its offerings of specialty cheeses and packaged meals. The produce department has expanded its assortment of premium juices as well as its fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, organics and nuts.”

The new interior comes with a slew of new product offerings as well, with a focus on organic, ethnic and specialty items, according to Safeway.

The floorwork, at least, remains half-finished, but ARLnow was able to confirm earlier this week that the store was stocked with ample vegan options and several White Claw variety packs.

Though the store remained open through renovations, a grand reopening celebration is currently scheduled for the afternoon of August 27. Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is expected to attend.

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Morning Notes

Ribbon Cutting for Revamped Rosslyn Safeway — “Safeway will unveil renovations to its Rosslyn store at 1525 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, VA, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 am on Friday, July 12.” [Press Release]

More on Real Estate Boom Forecast — “Real estate agents and local economists said inventories are so sparse that some popular Zip codes in Arlington and Alexandria show no homes for sale at all. They added that investors are pouring into the market, looking to turn homes into rental properties.” [Washington Post, InsideNova]

Acosta Signs Books in Clarendon — CNN correspondent Jim Acosta showed up to an sparsely-populated Barnes and Noble store in Clarendon for a “surprise signing” of his book “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America.” [Twitter]

Workers Vote for Strike at DCA — “On June 12, airline food workers who prepare, pack, and deliver food and beverages served onboard American Airlines flights departing from Reagan National Airport voted 100% to strike when released by the National Mediation Board.” [Press Release]

New Local Store at DCA — “The District of Columbia Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) today celebrated the grand opening of the Made in DC retail pop-up at Reagan National Airport, providing a new national and international presence for local makers and small business owners.” [Press Release]

ARLnow’s Press Release Section — For the next week, we’re experimenting with posting press releases directly on a special section of our site. Let us know what you think. [ARLnow]

Photo by Vernon Miles

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The long-awaited upgrades to Rosslyn’s aging Safeway are almost done, store staff say.

Customers may have already noticed several changes in the store at 1525 Wilson Blvd, also known as the “Subterranean Safeway.” The Starbucks counter is now located by the front doors, rebuilt with the coffee company’s trademark white subway tiles.

Today (Thursday) people queued in long lines for coffee at 8 a.m. and a store employee joked that customers were already “wearing the new Starbucks out.”

Inside the Rosslyn store is also a seafood department — the location’s first — situated in the rear next to the new “Butcher Block” section with sliced meats.

The frozen section also has new freezers. Shelves in several aisles were also replaced with new ones placed wide apart and lit by LED strips. New self-checkout machines have joined the check-out aisles.

Store managers have also expanded the produce section, housing the fruits and vegetables in new wooden displays.

Construction continues in the deli and bakery section of the store, which staff told ARLnow is being expanded to include a flower section and curve around the wide alcove under the street windows.

The Rosslyn Business Improvement District said previously that the upgrades would be completed this spring.

Safeway replaced the tile floor with concrete, added the self check-out machines, and began replacing the raising aisle shelves in January “to provide more space for a greater variety of products.”

Rosslyn residents has long requested renovations on the store, which has operated out of the location since 1962.

Neighborhoods previously told the BID that “better grocery stores” was a top priority for the neighborhood.

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Rosslyn’s Safeway, one of the oldest grocery stores in Arlington, is getting a badly needed facelift.

The shop, located just a few blocks from the area’s Metro station at 1525 Wilson Blvd, should be fully renovated by sometime this spring, according to the Rosslyn Business Improvement district.

The Safeway’s management team told the BID that the store has already added new self check-out machines, and replaced the store’s tile floor with concrete. The shop also widened its aisles and raised its shelves “to provide more space for a greater variety of products,” the BID wrote in a blog post.

The store is currently installing new cases for frozen food, and workers plan to expand its bakery and Starbucks counter. The shop will also get a new seafood department.

The renovation work should come as welcome news to Rosslyn residents, as the Safeway garnered some brutal reviews from Yelp users over the years. Rosslyn-ites also told the BID in a survey last year that “better grocery stores” was one of their top priorities for future development in the area.

The Safeway has called the 1500 block of Wilson Blvd home since 1962. However, the store did need to relocate briefly when its building was redeveloped in 1985, and it returned shortly afterward.

Photo 2 via Rosslyn BID

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SunTrust Bank will close its branch in the Safeway at 3713 Lee Hwy on Feb. 5 — its second branch closure in Arlington on that day.

The bank told clients earlier in November that their accounts will be transferred to the Lee-Old Dominion branch at 4710 Lee Highway, unless clients specify a different location, Hugh Suhr, a spokesman for SunTrust, told ARLnow.

The branch at 249 N. Glebe Road is also set to close on that day.

Clients’ accounts at the branch on Glebe Road will be transferred to either the Arlington Gateway branch at 901 N. Glebe Road or the South Arlington branch at 3108 Columbia Pike, unless clients indicate a different location, Suhr said.

In May, SunTrust, which is based in Atlanta, was hit with a massive data breach that compromised 1.5 million customer accounts.

Photo via Google Maps

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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.

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In response to a controversial mixed use development proposed for Wilson Boulevard, a number of Bluemont residents have banded together to form the “Safeway Task Force,” and will be holding a public meeting tomorrow.

The group is made up of members of the Bluemont Civic Association and aims to educate community members about the proposed development. Members say they want to ensure that the Bluemont community is able to help shape future changes at the Safeway site at 5101 Wilson Blvd.

Earlier this year, Safeway began soliciting bids from developers who may be interested in building a new grocery store, with residential property above it. The building would take up the entire block of Wilson Blvd from N. Frederick Street to N. Edison Street.

Last year, attendees at a Bluemont Civic Association meeting confronted County Board Chair Mary Hynes about the development. A number of residents voiced concerns about increased density along the stretch of Wilson Blvd in question, and also worried about how small businesses would fare.

The task force will be hosting a town hall meeting on Tuesday, July 10 (tomorrow), which is open to the public. It will be held at St. Ann’s Church (5300 N. 10th Street), starting at 7:00 p.m. Members of the county Planning Commission will be on hand to speak about issues related to the proposed development, such as zoning and by-right policies, and will answer residents’ questions.

In the coming months, the task force hopes to meet with Safeway representatives to discuss plans for the future. The task force’s charter states it plans to wrap up work by November 1, at which time it will be decided if it is needed any longer.

Photo (bottom) via Google Maps

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