Georgetown Day School says it has reached agreements to buy two Tenleytown lots currently occupied by Safeway and a car dealership to clear the way for a massive campus expansion. In deals expected to close Thursday, the elite private school will buy the Martens Volvo-Volkswagen dealership and the Safeway store across the street.
The purchase will allow Georgetown Day to finally merge its upper school in Tenleytown with its lower and middle schools, which are on MacArthur Boulevard about four miles from the Tenleytown location.
“We’ve been waiting about 45 years to reunite the campuses,” says Alison Grasheim, a spokeswoman for Georgetown Day.
Actually bringing the schools together will take several years longer, though. Safeway, at 4203 Davenport Street, Northwest, and Martens, at 4800 Wisconsin Avenue, will remain in their locations for at least 10 months under leaseback deals with Georgetown Day.
It could be another five to seven years before all Georgetown Day students attend an expanded Tenleytown campus. The school has not made any decisions on tearing down its new acquisitions or planning its new lower and middle schools. Grasheim says designs for the built-up campus will take Tenleytown residents’ concerns into account. A press release from the school reads that the eventual campus will “be consistent with the beauty and character” of the neighborhood, with an emphasis on green spaces and pedestrian and bicycle access.
Georgetown Day buying the Safeway lot also drastically shifts long-term plans for Tenleytown. The supermarket chain had been considering replacing the 38,000-square foot store with a larger one with a 150-unit apartment complex above.
The school is spending about $40 million to buy the two properties, Grasheim says. That’s a great deal for Safeway and Martens, which have a combined assessment of about $10.2 million, according to DC property tax records.