A specialty grocer is eyeing The Route 1 Corridor, South of the Capital Beltway, for its latest Washington area store. This grocer is only interested to open its store in communities where the education level and incomes are significantly above average.

Jeff McKay, Fairfax County supervisor tells that there is a letter of intent between The Fresh Market and Combined Properties Inc to bring the grocery store to South Alex, the mixed-use redevelopment of the 10 acre Penn Daw Shopping Center. It is located at the intersection of Route 1 and Kings Highway, less than a mile south of the Huntington Metro station. He says that this development will transform Route 1.

However, Randy Kenna, Combined Properties Vice president of East Coast development and acquisitions, denies these developments, that there has been a deal with The Fresh market to anchor South Alex, a project that will include 400 Class A Apartments, 41 townhomes and 44,000 square feet of retail-including a 25,000 square foot national specialty grocer. He says that they are excited about the project and its potential to transform the Alexandria neighborhood. However they have no deal with The Fresh Market.

Penn Dew hasn't had an anchor tenant since Shoppers Food Warehouse vacated more than three years back. Construction on South Alex is expected to start in late 2015 or 2016.This project will have a 7000 square foot public plaza a 5000 square foot dog park, 3500 Sq Ft Tot Lot, Two ground level outdoor courtyards and a 763 space parking structure wrapped with four stories of apartments.

Looking back five years, The Route 1 Corridor would not have met The Fresh Market's real estate and demographic criteria. It used to be an area of rundown strip shopping centers, aging motels and auto-dealers which is getting transformed now.

The closest area to Huntington has experienced a sea change, led by Combined's Penn Daw plans, the 275-unit Grande at Huntington from Capital Investment Advisors, the 240-unit Shelby from Insight Property Group, King’s Crossing from JBG Rosenfeld Retail, and A&R Development’s 141-unit multifamily building on Huntington Avenue.