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Mayor Proposes New Grocery Store Incentive for Wards 7 and 8

by Nena Perry-Brown

A rendering of Benning Market, courtesy of Neighborhood Development Company.

DC may soon have another tool available to incentivize grocery stores to open in Wards 7 and 8.

Mayor Bowser's office has proposed a bill aimed at helping kickstart the city's "reopening" efforts, starting with its alcohol consumption. The Reopen Washington DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment Act of 2021 includes, among other things, a provision that would make it easier for grocery stores located in Wards 7 and 8 to apply for a Class A retailer's license, enabling them to sell beer, wine, and alcohol as long as it only totals up to 25% of annual gross receipts.

These stores would also be able to sell single containers of beer or malt liquor for consumption off-premises. Grocery stores that secure a 25% class A retailer’s license in Wards 7 or 8 would be able to apply for another of these licenses for a store location in one of the other six Wards after six months. The renovated Capitol Hill Safeway is the most recent example of a grocery store that holds this license classification. 

Inequitable food access has long been a concern in Wards 7 and 8, where there are only three full-service grocery stores for roughly 150,000 people. Another two are in the pipeline east of the River: a Lidl at Skyland Town Center (the city's first), and a Good Food Markets on South Capitol Street.

A replacement grocery store is also on the boards for the future Northeast Heights Town Center at Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue. Smaller efforts include a non-profit grocery co-op working toward opening a physical location and a grocery component in the under-construction Benning Market.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/mayor-proposes-new-grocery-store-incentive-for-wards-7-and-8/17812

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