The owners of a Chevy Chase grocery have offered to buy a property on Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park that has become the center of a community protest after the Safeway supermarket chain announced it was closing its store there.
Yashar Sharazi, a part owner of the Brookville Super Market on Brookville Road in Chevy Chase, a family-run store that has been operating since World War II, said yesterday that he will begin operations in Cleveland Park as soon as the sale goes through.
Delores S. Montgomery, who with her elderly aunt owns the Connecticut Avenue building, said yesterday that she favors the sale but that it is contingent on the approval of her aunt, who is in a nursing home.
Sharazi declined to discuss the purchase price. Montgomery said her asking price was $2 million, and that she had turned down an offer of $1 million from another food retailer.
News of the impending sale of the building to another food retailer prompted delighted reactions from city officials and community activists.
"We're very excited and glad that it has worked out this way," said Margaret Hare, chairwoman of the Save Our Supermaket Committee that formed after more than 300 community residents, many of them elderly, decided to fight Safeway's decision to close the store.
Hare gave much of the credit for finding a substitute grocer to Mayor Marion Barry, who last month interceded to delay Safeway's closing, and whose aides later worked with the property's owner to find a replacement.
"Obviously, we're very pleased with the outcome here and so too is the community," said John Bonifaz, a community services coordinator for Barry in the area of Northwest where the store is located. "The mayor from the very start was concerned about the kind of effect the loss of the supermarket would have on the community."
Safeway officials announced they would leave the site at 3427 Connecticut Ave., saying they had been unable to work out a satisfactory lease with the owner and that the aging store needs extensive renovation. The company has said it makes a profit at the location.
The store originally was slated for closing this week, but after Barry intervened, Safeway agreed to keep it open until at least Thanksgiving. City officials have grown increasingly concerned about the dwindling number of food outlets in the District.
Sharazi, who has owned and operated the Brookville store for six years with three brothers, said the new branch in Cleveland Park would be much the same as their current store, which he said carries a product line comparable to Safeway's at competitive prices.
The Safeway on Connecticut Avenue -- a primary grocery for elderly apartment dwellers who complained that finding a new store would pose a hardship -- had come to be called the "Soviet Safeway" because of its long lines and short supplies, a problem Sharazi vowed to eliminate.