A new, urban model Safeway ‘Lifestyle Store’ on King Street in the city of Alexandria, Virginia was recently completed and has opened its doors for business. It replaces the former suburban model Safeway, a smaller store surrounded by a large surface parking lot and built in the early 1980s. This project leads the community’s desire to transform the city’s western entry, currently dominated by car-oriented strip development, into an urban and pedestrian friendly multi-way boulevard. The Safeway Lifestyle Store, with adjoining retail pavilion, creates a streetscape of buildings that engage King Street, with pedestrian connections to nearby residential, institutional, and retail properties. In addition to a much-needed upgrade of facilities, the project is intended to act as a catalyst for future urban development.
The store rises at its most visually prominent eastern orientation on King Street, to form a glazed prow designating the main entrance. The prow provides a focal point from both interior and exterior and brings natural light into the store. A cantilevered balcony over the main entrance accommodates outdoor seating. The store’s façade materials include regional brick, European fiber-cement panels, and Brazilian slate.
In order to meet sustainability goals of Safeway, the design team, and the city, storm water management is addressed with on-site collection and filtration. The landscape design includes multiple rain gardens and plantings to capture, slow, and filter water. Public art is also incorporated into the site design with the use of COR-TEN weathering steel screen walls, articulated stainless steel mesh sculptural screens, and colorful painted scrims.
Cunningham | Quill was the design architect for the project and collaborated with Freeman Morgan Architects (Associated Architect), Safeway’s regional in-house store design team, and Campion Hruby (Landscape Architect). The land-use attorney was Land Carroll & Blair and the project was built by Chesapeake Contracting.