Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Giant Food store at Fox Chapel center to close

Shopping mall is key to affordable housing efforts, planners say

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Giant Food will close its supermarket in Germantown’s Fox Chapel Shopping Center in about two months, according to company officials.

The store’s 14 full-time and 48 part-time employees will have the chance to relocate to another store, said spokeswoman Jamie Miller. A written statement from company officials announcing the closing of the store, located at 19721 N. Frederick Road, gave few details on the reasons for their decision.

‘‘After a thorough review of the operating performance of our stores, we made a very difficult decision to close the Fox Chapel location,” said Jim Astuto, Giant’s executive vice president of operations.

He urged customers at the Fox Chapel Giant to shop at the Neelsville Village Center, 20944 Frederick Road.

Other Giant stores in Germantown located less than five miles from the Fox Chapel store are the Kingsview Giant at 18331 Leaman Farm Road and the Germantown Commons Giant at 13060 Middlebrook Road.

Miller said the grocer is working to identify another retail tenant for the Fox Chapel space.

The 50,000 square-foot Giant forms a major part of the shopping center that county planners consider a key to their hopes for maintaining affordable housing as the neighboring Middlebrook Home Park is redeveloped over the next several years. Bozzuto Homes has announced plans to replace the trailer park with a mixed-use development that planners hope will include at least as many affordable housing units as the 185 or so currently at the site.

County planners would like to see a provision for the redevelopment of the shopping center included in the master plan that is currently under revision.

Sue Edwards, a team leader for the Montgomery County Planning Board, said the loss of the Giant will not necessarily hurt efforts to redevelop the shopping center.