After years of limited grocery options, some residents of Ward 7 in Northeast D.C. could soon get a supermarket.
Mayor Muriel Bowser says the city has agreed with a major grocer to move into the Capital Gateway Market near Fort Dupont — a move that she notes is especially urgent for the east end of the district.
“Food access is a critical social determinant of health, and it is in the public interest to provide where lacking,” Bowser said in a statement. “There are currently only two existing full-service grocery stores in Ward 7, serving 80,669 residents, of which 92% are African American.”
The market would be set up in a space that has been empty since Walmart left the area in 2016.
However, the D.C. Council must authorize eminent domain and allow the chain to move in for the deal to go through.
John Falcicchio, the city’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said that providing food access was a top priority for the administration.
Food justice is an emergency, and together we need to take these immediate, bold actions to deliver it,” Falcicchio said.
Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray also underlined that focus on residents in underserved neighborhoods. This includes those in Ward 8 and along the eastern portions of the districts commonly considered “food deserts.”
“When this legislation is passed, we will be on the fast track to opening another new grocery store in Ward 7,” Gray said in the joint statement. “Though the east end of the District remains underserved, we are making progress to eliminate food deserts and bring equity to residents of Wards 7 and 8, who live with far fewer grocery and shopping options than residents who live west of the Anacostia River.”
D.C. leaders added that, without eminent domain, the location would likely sit vacant until 2037.
WTOP’s Ivy Lyons contributed to this report.