For several years now, the Capital City/Florida Avenue Market area has had its generous, but fully stocked, 27 acres ogled by big developers and investors - MRP Realty, Sang Oh Development, J Street, Edens & Avant, to name a few - without any action post-PUD approval or, in one case, even District support.
Yet a new role to be assumed by Richard Brandenburg, well-known D.C.-area foodie and formerly of the ThinkFoodGroup, signals that some development could be happening in the market area, and soon. Brandenburg has been hired by Edens & Avant, a large national property owner and developer, as its director of culinary strategy - a newly created position. As reported by the Washington Post - Brandenburg's job will center on Capital City Market. Sources familiar with the project now say Brandenburg is planning pop-up restaurants as a short term way to enliven the space.
Eventually, Brandenburg sees the site as a "wholesale-retail center with multiple restaurants, a culinary school, even a USDA hub." But Edens & Avant's long-term goals for its property - based on Brandenburg's ambitions - might be a while in the making.
Edens & Avant controls approximately 140,000 square feet (3.2 acres) on the eastern edge of the market along 6th Street, NE, through a joint venture with J Street Development. The land slated for new culinary inputs borders Gallaudet and co-mingles 3.8 acres owned by the university. With low overhead and no real commitment, pop-up restaurants have been touted as a venue offering restaurateurs the freedom to experiment with concepts, without a large up front financial commitment. It's also a way to get money coming in quickly, as an intrepid chef, or property owner, and is a growing trend in big cities nationwide.
There have been many plans for redevelopment of the market over the past decade, including a small area plan by the Office of Planning in 2009, but the market has been a real estate quagmire: 120 lots, with 108 owned by 68 different entities, many still operational. No word yet on whether Edens & Avant and J Street are looking to roll up their shirt sleeves and try to acquire more market property.
Edens & Avant is "temporarily holding off on discussing [Brandenburg's] full position" until he is officially on board, says a press release, along with its vision for its market property, though a media contact noted that Brandenburg will have a broad role that will impact the entire E&A portfolio of 125 properties along the East Coast.
The Capital City/Florida Avenue Market is the current incarnation of the Union Terminal Market, opened in 1928 to replace D.C.'s Center Market, first opened in 1802, which was razed to make way for the National Archives.
Washington D.C. real estate development news