The hitch? Finding a grocery to anchor the space. "Everything is dependent on the grocer," said Price. "Until we secure one, we won't know how much square footage of retail space we'll have available for other businesses." Price says "quite a few" are vying for the space, but one thing is for certain: it won't be a Giant, since the O Street Market project knocks the store out of contention. Price projects that plans for Howard Town Center to firm up by May.
Howard Town Center at 2100-2146 Georgia Avenue is the proposed development of CastleRock Partners and Howard University to take the place of the Bond Bread building and offer 70,000+ s.f. of commercial property, a 45,000 s.f. supermarket, 300 to 450 residential units, and parking. All of this, says, Price, is dependent on the grocer, how much square footage it would entail and its architectural plans.
Perhaps one reason grocers are reticent to stake claim to the property is because of the new Safeway now planned for middle-Georgia Avenue and the Yes! Organic Market already up the street, in addition to the Giant slated for Shaw. Back in 2009, Philadelphia's Fresh Grocer was a top contender for the site; their corporate office confirms the location is still under consideration."The Fresh Grocer is very interested in and committed to new store development in the District of Columbia, especially at the Howard Town Center," said Patrick J. Burns, President and CEO of The Fresh Grocer. "We have been working with the investors and developers of Howard Town Center for years and are disappointed that the project has stalled. However, our interest in bringing a ground-up, state of the art Fresh Grocer supermarket to the Howard Town Center remains steadfast."
The script for Howard Town Center has a long and colorful backstory, which includes the 2006 land swap of the city-owned Bread building property for Howard's land at Florida and Sherman Avenue, for which the city will solicit bids for a mixed-use property that would include 300 residential units.
Earlier in its illustrious life, the Bond Bread building was wedded to the People's Involvement Corporation (PIC), a 30-year tenant. The non-profit was promised ownership of the property in a verbal agreement with Mayor Washington in 1965. When it was not granted, PIC sued in 2003 and lost, naturally, with the court concluding that "a mayor's written promises cannot be relied upon."
Trammell Crow Company was the initial developer in the projects early stages, but the university did not have control of the land until 2008, at which point the project was up for bid and Howard opted for CastleRock Partners' proposal in November of that year.
Washington, DC Real Estate Development News