Ladies and Gentlemen: We have lift off. Today, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Co. gathered at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station in Ward 7 to throw a demolition party for development partners Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Development at the site of the future Minnesota-Benning project.
This particular press mixer was the culmination of two years of Land Disposition Agreements that sought to answer the question: How can the District best put $80 million to good use in a neighborhood known for its high crime, heavy traffic and lack of sit-down restaurants? One of the neighborhood's first sit-downs, Ray's the Steaks, only opened this past April with the help of a grant from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development's office, and the District wants another.
The answer the development team came up with was the Eric Colbert & Associates-designed Minnesota Avenue-Benning Road, NE, (formerly known as "Phase 2") a five-acre, three-building mixed-use development. The transit-oriented goliath will stand adjacent to the Minnesota Avenue Metro and the new, $95 million Department of Employment Services (DOES) headquarters (a.k.a Minnesota Avenue-Benning Road, NE Phase 1).
The location of the project is part of the larger Great Streets initiative, a joint venture between DMPED, The District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and the Office of Planning that seeks to transform some of DC's more blighted neighborhoods into "great streets - places where people want to be." Upon delivery in the fall of 2012, the Minnesota-Benning project will boast 325 rental housing units at 60% AMI, 48 for-sale condos offered at market rate and 23,000 s.f. of retail and restaurant space.
Five thousand s.f. of those 23,000 s.f. will be reserved solely for sit-down restaurant space and 4,000 s.f. will be set aside for local business, assures DMPED Director of Communications, Mary Margaret Plumridge.
So, let's say you have a great idea for a sit-down restaurant in Ward 7. Will you be eligible for the same type of grant DMPED made available to Ray's the Steaks? Those details are still being ironed out, and the District seems at least mindful of the fact that this will require something more luring than an empty space.
Either way, construction begins Spring 2011.
DC Real Estate and Development News