Mount Vernon Square has new owner
As first reported by the Washington Business Journal, the Mount Vernon Square shopping center at Richmond Highway and Arlington Drive was recently purchased by an affiliate of Fresh World, an American and international supermarket chain; however, precise plans for the retail center’s long vacant Safeway site remain unclear due to ongoing discussions between Fresh World and Safeway/KLNB. Safeway’s lease at the site runs through April 2026, and KLNB has been looking to sub-lease
the divisible 57,816 square feet of space.
According to Evan Kaufman, executive director at the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation (SFDC), SFDC has been actively engaged for the past three years in helping identify a new tenant for the Safeway space, which has been empty since the supermarket closed in March 2017. At one point, said Kaufman, SFDC held discussions with developers about a potential mixed-use development; however, Mount Vernon Square is zoned commercial, and going through the rezoning process to add residential would have taken a year or more — something the property’s former owner did not want to pursue.
SFDC also explored the possibility of a food hall with a recreational element, but the financing requirements were too complex.
“All in all, we ended up with a good buyer,” said Kaufman. “Ideally I would have liked to see a mixed-use development with a mix of affordable and market rate units, but I think this new buyer is a good alternative.”
Fresh World currently operates supermarkets in Springfield, Herndon, Manassas and Woodbridge. A representative from the company told On the Move they will share more information about plans and timelines as things become clearer.