Developers Strike Deal on Controversial Florida Avenue Site
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