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Mayor Bowser Announces Five New Businesses Coming to Skyland Town Center, Celebrates 263 New Homes

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Skyland on Its Way to Becoming a Vibrant Town Center with New Homes, New Businesses, and New Opportunity

(Washington, DC) – Today, as part of March Madness, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced new progress at Skyland Town Center in Ward 7, including the beginning of residential leasing and five new food service leases. Once completed, Skyland Town Center will be a vibrant town square with upwards of 450 homes, a grocery store, a medical office building, and up to 156,000 square feet of retail. The Mayor made the announcement with the team from Rappaport and WC Smith.

“I know it’s taking time, but what we’re seeing at Skyland is a development that matches the vision of the Ward 7 community – a site with new housing, a grocery store, good amenities, and jobs and opportunity for DC residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “I’m grateful for everyone who is playing a role in moving Skyland forward – the Ward 7 community, our business partners and community builders, and, of course, our DMPED team. I look forward to the continued groundbreakings, and I look forward to all the ribbon cuttings even more.”

In 2019, Mayor Bowser and the development team announced that they secured a lease with Lidl US, which will open in 2022 and occupy 29,089 square feet within Skyland. It marks the first internationally recognized full-service supermarket to enter Wards 7 and 8 since 2007. The newest food service leases announced today, include:

  • Roaming Rooster, which launched in the District in 2015 and serves fresh free-range grain-fed chicken, will open its fourth location at Skyland.
  • &Pizza, which launched in the District in 2012 and serves pizza, will open its tenth location at Skyland.
  • Maizal, a South American street food eatery, will open its first standalone and first sit-down location at Skyland.
  • Mezeh, a Mediterranean-influenced eatery, will open its second location at Skyland.
  • Tropical Smoothie Café, a National fast-casual café concept inspiring healthier lifestyles, will open its third DC location at Skyland.

Mayor Bowser also celebrated the start of residential leasing at The Crest, the first residential property to open at Skyland. The 290,000 square foot building features 263 homes, a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments, as well as a fitness center and courtyard pool and grills. Of the 263 units, 53 are set-aside for those earning up to 80% of Median Family Income (MFI) and 26 are designated as workforce units (80% to 120% MFI).

“Today’s announcement of the additional amenities coming to the Skyland Town Center is the result of decades of hard labor. I am pleased to have relentlessly worked during my time as mayor and with the current administration to bring a solid anchor to Skyland after Walmart reneged and withdrew its commitment. We were able to use eminent domain to make clear a path for the development to proceed. I am also delighted that this announcement supports my legislation to end food deserts in Wards 7 and 8 through my three East End economic bills. One of these bills targets nine development sites in Wards 7 and 8, including Skyland, for retail and full-service grocery stores. As such, what could have stayed a dream deferred is now not just a beacon of hope but valuable proof of real progress through collective effort. Now the grocery stores, sit-down restaurants and amenities needs of deserving Ward 7 families and neighbors are starting to be met,” said Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent C. Gray “I look forward to continuing to work with our partners, stakeholders and my Ward 7 Economic Development Advisory Council to bring even more desperately needed full-service grocery stores and retail opportunities to the ward.”

Later this year, a Chase Bank will open at Skyland and a Starbucks will open in 2022. These businesses will join CVS Pharmacy, Like That Barbershop, and Skyland Nails and Spa, which are already operating at the site.

“The Skyland project has helped us continue to promote and encourage economic development and amenities in Ward 7 and surrounding communities,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “Announcing these exciting retail leases is the latest example of our commitment to residents and businesses of this neighborhood to build on the victory of this transformative project.”

For more than 15 years, the District sought to redevelop the area that was once the Skyland Shopping Center, located at the intersection of Alabama Avenue, Naylor Road, and Good Hope Road in Southeast Washington, DC. Mayor Bowser moved the project forward by providing a $7 million grant for infrastructure work, as well as up to $3.6 million to Safeway to release a covenant on the site that was preventing the deal from progressing. Additionally, the mixed-use project was approved for Tax Increment Financing funding, which the Mayor restructured after the anchor tenant broke their commitment to the project.

“For too long Wards 7 &8 were overlooked when restauranteurs looked to open new locations. But that has started to change, and we’re excited that, with the signing of these new businesses at Skyland Town Center, these neighborhoods are beginning to move from food deserts to food destinations,” said WC Smith Chairman and CEO Chris Smith. “We thank the new restaurants coming to Skyland for being forward-thinking.”

“In leading the retail leasing, we constantly focus on the tenant mix so that we have a development that balances both national retailers and local retailers who live within the community,” said Henry Fonvielle, President, Rappaport. “We are pleased to welcome local operators with global food flavors to Skyland Town Center that will enhance the retail and dining experience for the neighborhood.”

Today’s announcement was made at the annual March Madness event and is part of March Madness Week in the District. The week features a series of economic development events and announcements, focused on health and housing, opportunity, prosperity, and equity.