WASHINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL: Amazon Fresh appears to have resumed plans for a new market in suburban Maryland, more than a year after hitting the pause button on its larger nationalexpansion amid concerns about the concept’scompetitiveness.
Falls Church-based construction company L.F. Jennings is seeking subcontractors to help it build a 38,000-square-foot grocery store at an undisclosed location in Silver Spring. Prospective firms arerequired to sign a nondisclosure agreement before getting access to bid documents.
L.F. Jennings has set a Feb. 7 deadline for prospective subcontractors to bid on the interior fit-up work. Ken Collins, listed as the point of contract for the solicitation, could not be reached for comment.
Those data points, including L.F. Jennings’ track record building other Amazon Fresh markets like the one at the Fair Lakes Shopping Center, all point to a resumption in work on the planned Amazon Fresh at White Oak Town Center. The status of that project has remained murky since Amazon slowed its retail rollout in early 2023.
Since then, the company (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been testing the waters with a new format for Amazon Fresh at select stores in the Chicago area and in southern California, and CEO Andy Jassy toldanalysts on the company’s earnings call last week that he’s encouraged by those early results. The updated stores, like one that opened in Chicago, have been refreshed with an expanded selection of items, including grab-and-go meals, along with improved technology to help speed the checkoutprocess.
“It’s very early, it’s just a few months in, but the results thus far, are very promising, and on almost every dimension,” Jassy said of the new Fresh format. “We need to see it for a little bit longer time but the results appear like we have something that’sresonating, and if we continue to see that, then the issue becomes how fast, and what’s the best way to expand.”
Amazon declined to comment on “specific store openings.” beyond Jassy’s statement.
Representatives for White Oak Town Center’s developer, a joint venture between Bernstein Management Corp. and Finmarc Management, also declined to comment on the status of their project’s anchor grocer.
The developers have signed leases with a number of other retailers, including Dave’s Hot Chicken, First Watch and Jersey Mike’s. Bernstein and Finmarc have retained KLNB Commercial Real EstateServices to market the project at 12345 Columbia Pike, with about 103,000 square feet of retail space, to prospective tenants.