What’s Next for the Empty Safeway Store in Downtown Bethesda?

Property manager says she’d love another grocer to lease the space


Safeway at Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue


Former patrons of the closed Safeway grocery store near the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda are hungry for information about what’s coming to fill the vacant space.

Jean Cleary, a senior property manager for Polinger Co., which owns the building that housed the store, said she gets the question “a thousand times a day.” She doesn’t yet have an answer.

“We are actively pursuing tenants,” she said Tuesday.

Although there has been some interest in the roughly 42,000-square-foot store, no one has committed to leasing it, according to Cleary.

The Safeway that occupied the space for about 27 years closed in mid-March because it was underperforming, according to a spokesperson for the grocery company.

Cleary said Polinger would like to replace the Safeway with another grocery store but is open to any tenant that would work for the busy Bethesda corner. While Safeway’s lease doesn’t run out until the year’s end, Cleary said a new user could move in before then.  

The closed Safeway sits at the street level of a mixed-use building that also includes the Bethesda Place Apartments, Cleary said.

Other grocery stores in Bethesda include the Safeway on Bradley Boulevard, Harris Teeter on Battery Lane, Giant on Arlington Road and Trader Joe’s on Wisconsin Avenue.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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