Monday, August 5, 2013

City awards 965 Florida development contract: more $$ and affordable housing, no Harris Teeter


You may have been following the development of 965 Florida, a big city-owned parcel that's up for development. There were two competing bids: one, by the JBG Companies, promised housing, a Harris Teeter, and would include an adjoining parcel the same company owns. The other, by MRP Realty and some other companies, offered the city more money and had more affordable housing. While the City Paper and others thought JBG would win, it turns out the city went with MRP.

MRP's proposal, which is with Ellis Development Group and Fundrise, will build a 370,000 square foot building called The Griffith, with 35,000 sq ft or retail and also an indoor market with smaller grocers and retail instead of a supermarket. Not sure what they actually entails -- something fancy like Yes! Organic Market, or a 7-Eleven?

The choice has caused some people to be unhappy. Councilmember Jim Graham said an email that he's seen or received dozens of emails objecting to the choice, and JBG themselves were surprised by the pick. The city responded, basically saying there were three reasons they picked MRP: they offered more money, they'll have more affordable housing, and they'd be part of a Planned Unit Development, a type of plan that requires a lot of community input. Graham included Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins' email saying basically the same things.

MRP also implied they might still include a grocery store though, and it should be noted that the proposed Harris Teeter in JBG wasn't guaranteed, it was a non-binding agreement.

So in short, I don't think it's the end of the world.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this is an overall win for DC writ-large. The trajectory of the city's development is leaving a lot of people with less affordable housing options, as is the case with many cities experiencing rapid gentrification. In an era where public policy can't keep pace with the real estate market, efforts to ensure new developments have a reasonable percentage of affordable housing units should be welcomed and prioritized in the decision process.