Georgetown "Social" Safeway

Washington, DC

“Most air pollution and green house gas emissions come from the electricity needed for buildings, about 70 percent. Every time we build a building like Safeway did in Georgetown, we cut the building’s energy consumption 30 percent. It’s the most cost-effective thing we can do to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.”
- Doug Gatlin, Vice President, US Green Building Coun

The Safeway project in Georgetown is located on the site of an existing grocery store that is divided from the street by a large parking lot.  The new design mends this urban edge by pulling the building back to the street – recreating the urban pedestrian experience along Wisconsin Avenue.   The parking garage is then located behind the ground floor retail while still keeping an above-ground parking deck off of the back of the second level.  This creates a more pedestrian friendly store with a more active street front environment.  

The new building is two stories with the Safeway Grocery on the second floor and smaller “mom and pop” liner retail stores on the ground floor.  The main store is accessed from a two-story corner piece that will also act as a public area.  In the winter, the second floor of this entry will provide enclosed seating space, while in the warmer months, windows surrounding the corner might be opened to provide a more inviting atmosphere.

Due to the historic nature of Georgetown, there was careful consideration on the façade detailing of the building.  Some elements such as the rhythm of the bays were set up as a response to the rowhouse context, while the sunshades were placed as a functional and innovative response to the southwest sun.  The blending of material selection (red brick), façade rhythm, and contemporary elements for sun control, provide a transition from traditional architecture to a contemporary yet contextual north edge of Georgetown proper.

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Project Data

71,000 sf grocery store
liner retail stores



Congress for The New Urbanism Charter Award


Design and Development Award

Torti Gallas + Partners understands how to integrate and transform neighborhoods for the connected world.

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