Housing Complex

Developers Strike Deal on Controversial Florida Avenue Site

MRP's previous winning proposal for 965 Florida Ave. NW.

MRP's previous winning proposal for 965 Florida Ave. NW.

A longstanding conflict over a controversial planned development near the U Street NW corridor is finally nearing resolution, as the two competing developers have agreed to collaborate and bring a full-service grocery store to the project.

In July 2013, city officials surprised many neighbors by picking underdog developer MRP Realty over the JBG Companies to develop a valuable parcel of city-owned land at 965 Florida Ave. NW. JBG had been thought to have a leg up because the company owned an adjacent parcel that would have allowed it to bring in a supermarket and reconnect the street grid with a new segment of W Street—a priority of both the city and the neighborhood. But MRP offered more money and more standard affordable housing. The city's choice left neighbors and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham demanding a better explanation of the decision.

Now MPR and JBG have agreed to collaborate through a joint venture that will allow both a supermarket—likely a Harris Teeter, given its previous commitment to JBG—and a W Street extension, the two companies announced today. MRP will develop the 370,000-square-foot mixed-use property, with input and capital from JBG.

“In the joint venture with The JBG Companies, MRP Residential will provide more high-quality amenities and services, further enhancing the Shaw neighborhood,” MRP's Matt Robinson said in a statement. “Additionally, with Metro access and proximity to Howard University, this will be a highly desired address for residents of this dynamic neighborhood.”

MRP spokeswoman Julie Chase says a Harris Teeter is not yet a done deal. "We have not signed any leases, but a grocery of that quality and scale is what we are targeting," she says in a statement.

This post has been updated to reflect the fact that a lease with Harris Teeter has not yet been signed.

Image courtesy of Ellis Development

  • balooster

    Fantastic! I am glad they fixed this issue, I was just complaining about the lame open air market they were going to put in instead of a Harris Teeter. I am very excited about this as I live close by! Great decision everybody, I can't wait to hear more details!

  • Eric

    @balooster: Not that I'm not glad that the two companies worked out a better arrangement, but it wasn't going to be an open-air market, it was going to be a carefully curated market like that at Union Market. It would have been really nice to have in this neighborhood. Instead, we'll start to see an oversaturation of supermarkets in the area with the Trader Joe's, new Giant, Whole Foods, Columbia Heights Giant, and another Harris Teeter nearby all within close proximity, not to mention the various smaller vendors in the neighborhood and whatever might come of the troubled Howard Town Center project.

  • Ben

    agree with you Eric. Trader Joes four blocks away at 14th and U, this is akin to the overflowing amount of condos being built, over development of more of the same. The open-air market sounded unique and combined with the independent movie theater going in on V St, had the potential to be a really interesting and attractive couple of blocks, both day and night. not surprised that the powers that be ran away with this and forced the winning bidders to back down.

  • Gavin

    What's the plan with W Street? West of Florida, it runs one-way east (with a bike lane). But between Georgia and 4th, it runs one-way west (with no bike lane). So which way would the connection between Florida and Georgia would go? Or would they reprogram the whole street so it doesn't end both ways at Georgia?

    W is kind of schizophrenic overall. From 4th to 2nd, it runs one-way east, so it ends both ways at 4th.

  • Duff Man

    Very excited about this, and appreciative of Jim Graham and the personal attention he gave to this issue. The full-service grocery store will be very beneficial to the area , remember there will be at least four new apartment buildings within 3 blocks by the time this opens, not to mention the huge Louis at 14th and the giant buildings around the O Street Market. The Columbia Heights Giant cannot handle the crowds from its own neighborhood, and Trader Joes is more of a specialty store (which will also be constantly slammed). None of my neighbors were interested in an overpriced market operating as more of a food court than a useful store.

  • Chris hauser

    Another high rent apartment building. Onward and upward.

    Joe's is at 14th & u? Really? Cool.


  • jno

    It's one fugly building I will say that.

  • NM

    I think a market was a much more interesting concept than bringing in a HT. As a concept it is much more small business friendly than favoring a large monolithic corporate entity.

  • matt

    Please make an effort to cite the Architect/Architecture firm whose renderings you publish, whenever possible. They deserve to have their work known - for better or worse.

  • Ronny

    This is great news. Most residents of this section of the city do not have cars, and live here because it is highly walkable. There are no full-service grocery stores within reasonable grocery-bag carrying walking distance. Yes Organic and Trader Joe's are great specialty stores, but they are not ideal as primary full-service grocery stores. The residents of the neighborhood need a full-service grocery stores, and now it looks like we are on the path to getting one.

  • gimbels lover

    Ah, DC architecture, where "we bent it" counts as a parti.

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