Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the realities of the potential Wegmans deal start to set in

After my initial rush of excitement upon hearing about the potential of Wegmans at the Walter Reed site, some uncomfortable realities started to set in. The Washington Post's Jonathan O'Connell is in Las Vegas for the next few days covering the RECon commercial real estate convention, where the meetings between Wegmans execs and DC pols (Mayor Gray is there, along with Harry Thomas Jr., Vincent Orange, and Michael A. Brown) will take place. O'Connell Tweeted yesterday that Wegmans "needs at least 120k square feet and mucho parking". We're not yet sure if Wegmans will be amenable to underground "mucho parking" rather than surface parking; if they're sticklers for surface parking then, as stated by the Post's Mike DeBonis, "Harriet (Tregoning) not gonna like". And then of course we still have the traffic issues on Georgia Avenue to contend with.

Mayor Gray, build that streetcar. Faster.

As far as I know, this is Wegmans' first entry inside an urban border, and though I can't believe I'm holding Walmart up as an example of anything good, I'll say that Wegmans might want to take a lesson from Walmart and its "urban format" models if it is to enter into urban markets successfully.

Gray's meeting with Wegmans execs is today at 11:30 PST. Those of you who want to keep up with the latest developments might be interested in following Jonathan O'Connell on Twitter.


  1. I am not convinced that Wegmans ant Wlater Reed is a real concern. Right now there is a large hospital and other institutions at the site. Thousands of workers arrive and leave at about the same time. A Wegmans and other institutions can't be much works than that. Let's see the vehicle numbers for the current Walter Reed and the typical Wegmans vehicle numbers.

  2. Wegmans used to have urban stores. They began eliminating them in 1979.

    I would love to see them return to that model - the age of the superstore is passing! (I hope.)

  3. @Anonymous 1:18, Interesting...I always think of them as a megastore and forget that they have a long history.

  4. I wasn't trying to be anon, but the blog won't let me post any other way!

    Anyhow, it's interesting that they don't have the opening of the Britton Road (Rochester)store on that timeline. It was their first superstore. (They tore down my Jr High school to build it. My younger sister and brother both worked there.)

    They used to have one in downtown Rochester. It was really small, really really small, and it was in midtown mall. They still have one on East Avenue, and while it's bigger that your standard urban store, it's smaller than the megastores they're building these days.

    They used to be a normal supermarket with good products and good customer service. Now they are a giant good supermarket with good products and good customer service.

    (I don't know if it was the rust belt rusting, or Wegmans wanting out of the city that killed Midtown's store though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midtown_Plaza_%28Rochester%29 )


  5. Yeah, I'm not OK with Wegman's if they demand this kinds of suburban layout and a huge waste of space through parking. I agree with you on Walmart--they are at least looking to the architecture into our neighborhood's context.