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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rhode Island Center

Please see the press release I received from MRP today this is about the development discussed at our last SMD and ANC meetings:



Mixed-Use Mega-Project Adjacent to Rhode Island Metro will be Catalyst for NE DC Transformation


WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 21, 2015) – MRP Realty, developers of commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate across the Mid-Atlantic region,  along with B&R Associates L.P., announced today the two have formed a joint venture to redevelop the shopping plaza known as Rhode Island Center into a thriving, multi-phase, mixed-use environment.


The first phase of the joint venture between MRP Realty and B&R Associates will include building approximately 345 residential apartment units and 47,000 square feet of retail. The project plans for a retail-activated plaza oriented to the Metropolitan Branch Trail and the new pedestrian bridge, providing access to the Rhode Island Avenue metro station. The joint venture recently retained KLNB for retail leasing, and is targeting a health club as the lead retail tenant for phase one.  The architect for the residential buildings is SK&I. 


“The original project was much lower in density and more geared towards auto and industrial use,"said Ryan K. Wade, founding principal of MRP Realty. "The new development will tap into the new Metro connection and the Metropolitan Branch Trail -- for both cyclists and pedestrians -- while still providing sufficient parking but at a level that reflects the range of transportation options." 


“Rhode Island Center is one of the rare opportunities to make a significant contribution to not only the neighborhood, but to the entire city,” added Bob Murphy, MRP Realtys managing principal. “MRP Realty and B&R Associates will be working hand-in-hand with Councilmember McDuffie and ANC 5E, as well as the D.C. Office of Planning and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development teams to transform the old shopping plaza into a vibrant development centered around Metro and the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The new Rhode Island Center will be a catalyst for the transformation of Northeast Washington and we are proud to be a part of the team.”    


The architecture of the redevelopment will respond to the industrial heritage of the neighborhood and the existing industrial buildings running along the Red Line through Northeast Washington, D.C. During redevelopment, the joint venture will extend the street grid through the site and introduce a new retail main street that will run from Fourth Street NE and terminate at the public plaza in front of the Rhode Island Avenue Metro entrance. A new curb-less road will form a unique public space and create an opportunity for special event programming. 


Additional plans for phase one include improving the Metropolitan Branch Trail by relocating it underneath the existing bridge to the Metro, creating additional green space along the trail and opening up the pedestrian bridge to the public plaza. By extending the cycling infrastructure from the Metropolitan Branch Trail to Fourth Street NE, bike lanes will have a dedicated, grade-separated trail improving cyclist safety. At its completion, the final product will include up to 200,000 square feet of retail to include a full-service grocer.


B&R Associates,  the original developer of the shopping center over thirty years ago, will remain an active participant on the development team.


“We looked at a number of different options, including an outright sale, but the opportunity to remain involved with the project through a redevelopment joint venture with MRP received strong support from the families involved with the original development,” said Brad Bernstein, managing general partner of B&R. "We are all excited to get this project moving forward, and we intend to bring increased vitality to the immediate area at Rhode Island Avenue Metro.” 


The joint venture has filed a planned unit development application for height with the city and is seeking stage two approval for phase one of the project which will aim to break ground in 2017.


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