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    Balducci's Backs Out of D.C. Store

    BETHESDA, Md. -- Gourmet retailer Balducci's said last week that it won't be building a new store in downtown Washington for which it had signed a lease in January, according to a published report. The grocer explained that it wished to concentrate on improving business at its existing locations.

    BETHESDA, Md. -- Gourmet retailer Balducci's said last week that it won't be building a new store in downtown Washington for which it had signed a lease in January, according to a published report. The grocer explained that it wished to concentrate on improving business at its existing locations.

    The 21,000-square-foot store would have debuted early this summer on the ground floor of the Jefferson at Penn Quarter, a luxury condominium complex with over 400 units and a 265-seat theater. The Balducci's store was scheduled to be the complex's first supermarket tenant.

    The Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association and the developer, Texas-based JPI, both expressed disappointment over the retailer's abrupt change in plans.

    Balducci's spokeswoman Melissa Daly told the Washington Post that the Penn Quarter location no longer fit the company's "strategic focus," and that the retailer was "actively pursuing" another food supermarket operator to take over the site.

    In 2004 Bear Stearns Merchant Banking bought the grocer, part of the Sutton Place Group, for $50 million.

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