Nov 16, 2021 - News

Anacostia sees hope in new developments

A crowd of D.C. leaders and developers shoveling dirt in a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

Anacostia’s transformation is bringing new sit-down restaurants, businesses, and development to a historic and underserved community.

Why it matters: Anacostia is the kind of neighborhood we refer to when saying -the city’s prosperity is felt unevenly.

  • For decades, the gateway into Ward 8 on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE was neglected — while other neighborhoods west of the Anacostia River saw investments.

Driving the news: Now there is a new Capital One Café, the headquarters of an IT firm, and more development set to bring stores and restaurants to the city’s poorest ward.

  • Developers and city leaders yesterday cut the ribbon on the completion of the MLK Gateway Phase I and shoveled dirt to mark the groundbreaking of Phase II.
  • Enlightened, Inc. is an IT consulting firm that has created 47 new jobs as it relocates from downtown to Anacostia, its president and CEO Antwanye Ford said yesterday.
  • Chef Darrell Gaston is opening a new sit-down restaurant soon, a major addition to the neighborhood that only in the last few years has added a Busboys and Poets and Starbucks.

What they’re saying: “I grew up in Anacostia, and always had a dream of figuring out how to own a business and hire people from the community to get them off the streets,” Gaston told Axios after the ceremony.

What’s next: The city is seeking proposals from developers to build residential units around the corner at 1234 Good Hope Road SE, deputy mayor John Falcicchio said yesterday.

  • Once Phase II of the MLK Gateway project is complete, the Department of Housing and Community Development will move its offices there. The agency is currently across the street at the corner of MLK and Good Hope Road, a prominent corner that would become available for a new use or redevelopment.
  • Led by developer Menkiti Group, MLK Gateway is relying on a bevy of public financial incentives and has hired from the local community.
  • Officials said it was crucial to build prosperity in the city’s majority-Black neighborhoods while preventing displacement through job opportunities and property tax breaks.

The bottom line: “We’re highlighting a model I’m fond of: taking what works in Northwest and bringing it to other parts of the city right here,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at the site of Phase II.


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