By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO

It looks like Ward 7 will get a another grocery option as Mayor Muriel Bowser announced plans to bring Lidl Grocery to the Skyland Town Center.

“Lidl is a fantastic grocery store – a grocery store that we are proud to be bringing to the residents of Ward 7,” said Mayor Bowser in a press conference. “Lidl knows what we know: Every corner of Washington, D.C. is a great place to do business. As we continue working to make our city’s prosperity more inclusive, this partnership is a reflection of the work we are doing to bring high-quality resources and amenities to every part of our city – amenities that will set our families and neighborhoods up for long-term success.”

Lidl Grocery will open at Skyland Town Center in Southeast, Washington, D.C. (Courtesy Photo)

Bowser along with Rappaport Development and WC Smith made the announcement this week during RECon, the yearly gathering of International Council of Shopping Centers, held in Las Vegas, NV.  The Skyland Town Center is a sprawling 18-acre project located at the intersection of Good Hope Road, Alabama Avenue and Naylor Road, Southeast.

Lidl US, which is an international company, started in  Ludwigshafen (25 miles south of Frankfurt) in 1973, according to the site. By the 1990s the store increased its imprint across Europe making its way to the US in 2017.

Today the company operates, 10,500 stores across 29 countries. They have 65 stores in nine states along the east coast. Lidl will utilize 29,089 square feet of the Skyland space. CVS will also make its home in the town center.

“We are committed to opening stores in the most convenient location for our customers,” said Johannes Fieber, CEO of Lidl US in a statement. “We selected Skyland Town Center because it offers District residents an easily accessible, convenient and visible site. Understanding the history of the site and the tremendous anticipation from the community, we look forward to building a store customized for the shoppers of Skyland Town Center.”

Landing Lidl was a collaborative effort between Rappaport and WC Smith, who spearheaded the retail and residential leasing, along with District Government, and others like Skyland D.C. and the Washington East Foundation, who have been on the Skyland redevelopment for 15 years.

“Lidl’s decision to locate at Skyland Town Center means that our future residents will have a top-quality supermarket at their doorstep,” says WC Smith CEO, Chris Smith. “WC Smith has long been active in this part of Southeast, Washington, as we manage 4,300 apartments in Wards 7 and 8. Having Lidl so conveniently located will provide a significant boost to the neighborhood and a much-needed service to the people who live there.”

The road to bringing an anchor store to Skyland has been a long one with many people grateful for this week’s news. Councilmember Vincent Gray (Ward-7) said in a press statement:

“I am pleased that Lidl U.S. will open one of its full-service grocery stores in Ward 7 at the Skyland Town Center.  We have worked long and hard to bring a solid anchor to Skyland,” Gray wrote.

“This is a significant step toward providing more food options and helping to ensure the future of the East End as a desired location for retail and hospitality opportunities.  

Since my return to the Council, I have introduced three East End bills focused on ending food deserts in Wards 7 and 8 by incentivizing greater economic development and bringing needed amenities to the East End.  One of these bills targets nine development sites in Wards 7 and 8, including Skyland, for retail, restaurants and full-service grocery stores. Securing an anchor for Skyland after Walmart reneged on its commitment to open a store at Skyland is an incredible feat.”

Skyland Town Center will offer over 135,000  square feet of retail space and  450 to 500 residential apartments. About 263 apartments will open in 2020. Construction on the project started in 2015.