Letter to the Editor: Proposed grocery’s size isn’t central to objections

The Ladybird project would include a grocery store below apartments on Yuma Street NW. (rendering courtesy of Valor Development)

Regarding The Current’s July 26 article on the proposed mixed-use development of the Superfresh site, the purported scaleback by the developer is nothing more than a smaller supermarket. Otherwise, the six-story project remains the same.

I am personally not convinced that the size of the market is any more profitable than its predecessor. But the size of the store is a diversionary tactic to mollify those who object to the development itself. While I respect the architects for their sensitive blending with the neighborhood, as a retired city planner who worked in D.C., I lay the responsibility for this out-of-scale development at the feet of the Office of Planning and the Zoning Commission.

I assume that the precedent used for the scale of the development is the nearby former American University law school, now a building of undergraduate classrooms and academic offices. The dense classrooms relate primarily to Massachusetts Avenue and not the Yuma Street neighborhood.

What is more appropriate is the scale of the neighborhood within the vicinity of Yuma Street, a significantly large conglomeration of single-family, mostly Colonial center-hall homes. The proposed Ladybird development threatens the integrity and casts an unspoken threat to the integrity of that neighborhood as the site of the next wave of increasing density. That is the central issue and should be the central issue of objection, not the size of the market.

Konrad Perlman, American University Park