More Upgrades Coming for North Old Town? First Street Giant Likely to See Changes

Mosaic District developers purchase grocery store.

The Giant store at 530 First St. was purchased by Edens, a mixed-use developer.
The Giant store at 530 First St. was purchased by Edens, a mixed-use developer.
Edens, the South Carolina developer responsible for bringing the mixed-use Mosaic District to Merrifield, plans to work their magic on a block of property in North Old Town, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Edens has purchased the Giant store at 530 First St. in North Old Town. The store is reportedly one of the oldest in the chain, opening in 1951, and could either see a facelift or demolition, but no decision has reportedly been made.

Giant sold its store at Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria, which closed last summer. It was renovated and became the home of The Fresh Market, which opened last month.

There is already one grocery store in the North Old Town area and another that will open soon: Trader Joe's grocery store at 612 N. St. Asaph St., is about four blocks south of the Giant, and a Harris Teeter is opening this year between the two, at The Kingsley apartment building at 500 Madison St. The Kingsley is expected to open this year.

While there is an enthusiastic crowd for Trader Joe's, the 100 reviews of this location on Yelp say parking can be difficult and it's popularity can be a drawback on busy weekends.

Edens is also under contract to purchase an ABC store next door to the Giant, according to the Washington Post article.

In other nearby grocery store news in Alexandria:
  • Giant is building a new store at Potomac Yard that is expected to open next year.
  • Alexandria Economic Development Partnership officials have said they have shopped the 20,000-square-foot E. Monroe Avenue Giant space to several potential retailers, including The Fresh Market. 
  • Work is moving swiftly along at a new 55,000-square-foot, $11 million Safeway store going up at 3526 King Street in Alexandria, replacing the old Safeway.
LaMora Pogue February 26, 2014 at 01:50 PM
Wow, loosing all my small Giants. I shop the Monroe and Asaph stores all the time and refuse to go to the mega Giant store on Duke or the Potomac yard as it is way beyond what I need and too much of a hassle because of that. Looks like I'll be changing brands. Not sure where I will go: either HT or back to Safeway.
Chip Carlin February 26, 2014 at 10:37 PM
This is very good news, that block is an eyesore. As far as food stores are concerned, retailers like Fresh Market, bakeries or speciality food purveyors would be fantastic. If you need to do " The big shop " once or twice a month, going to Giant or Shoppers at Potomac Yard, the new mega Safeway opening later this year at Bradlee, or to the Wal-Mart super food store in Penn Daw is the way to go. With the rapidly expanding residential population base nearby, the redevelopment also allows for more neighborhood centric retail which you see some of on N. St. Asaph St. and Montgomery St.. Chip Carlin
Diana Curfiss February 27, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Several years ago they said the ABC store was put off from being sold because they surveyed bones on the property. I have never seen any digging on that property. What happen to that piece of information?
Ross February 27, 2014 at 07:56 PM
I hope the Giant doesn't close before the Harris Teeter opens. I like having a convenient "mainstream" grocery store in North Old Town, for those of us who don't buy all our food at Trader Joes.
Trace February 28, 2014 at 02:27 PM
A Whole Foods would do well at this end of Old Town with all the EYA development near the metro and given how the one on Duke St is always packed. I agree with Chip, too - a unique bakery/coffee shop, wine store, specialty purveyors would be terrific here. Excited for the redevelopment of this block...it's been long overdue!
matt tallmerq March 04, 2014 at 02:25 PM
What about those of us w out cars?
LaMora Pogue March 04, 2014 at 03:24 PM
Exactly Matt. That is why so many people are upset with the thought of the little Giant on Monroe closing. Many people depend on that store that do not drive. The suggestion that they just hop over to Potomac Yard is just not a viable option. I do hope that is taken into consideration although I doubt it will unless the neighborhood makes a stink.
Trace March 07, 2014 at 03:24 PM
I think Edens is a pretty savvy real estate group. Hopefully they will understand the demand in the market for some of the necessities the Giant provides and will seek out a tenant that will satisfy that demand.
Jon Rosenbaum March 08, 2014 at 06:50 AM
Edens recently bought the ABC site but has owned the Giant for years. The new Harris Teater, due to open in the fall and a block from the Giant, will mean the demise of the Giant. Edens is very creative but doubt a new Giant is going to be in the mix.
matt tallmerq March 10, 2014 at 01:50 PM
I will be very upset if the Giant closes. It has dramatically improved over the last few years. My wife has celiac's disease, and it carries many more glutten-free items than TJ's, and at a much lower cost than Whole Paycheck. In addition, what will become of the ABC store? Will those of us without cars be forced to violate federal law and purchase alcohol in the district?


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