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Mayor Bowser Celebrates 263 New Homes and Progress on Food Retail & Restaurants at Skyland Town Center

Monday, June 21, 2021
District and Community Leaders Gather to Launch Construction of New Housing, Grocery, and Dining Options in Ward 7

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), along with development partners WCSmith and Rappaport, broke ground on the next phase of retail construction at Skyland Town Center and celebrated the ribbon-cutting of The Crest, a 263-unit residential property.

“We are so proud of the progress at Skyland Town Center as new residences deliver and food options take shape with more housing and food retail to come,” said Mayor Bowser. “By investing in housing, food access, and local retail businesses, we give more residents a fair shot. That’s why I included a $58M Food Access Fund in the budget to build upon this progress at Skyland and across Wards 7 and 8.”

During this year’s DMPED March Madness, Mayor Bowser announced that fast-casual restaurants Tropical Smoothie Café, Maizal and Mezeh will lease in the new retail block, along with noting that Roaming Rooster will locate in The Crest residential property. A drive-thru Starbucks – the first of its kind in Washington, DC – will complete the new retail phase. The establishments – many of them based in the Washington, DC area – will bring new and diverse shopping and dining options to the neighborhoods surrounding the 18.5-acre, mixed-use development. These will join CVS, Skyland Nails and Spa, Chase Bank and Like That Barber, a neighborhood “institution” that has been serving families in Wards 7 and 8 for thirty years. Lidl will anchor the new retail block with a 29,000 square foot grocery store, its first in the District of Columbia. Slated to open in fall 2022, Lidl will be the first full-service supermarket to locate east of the Anacostia River since 2007.

“I worked relentlessly during my time as mayor and with the current administration to bring a solid anchor to Skyland after Walmart renegade. Today’s Phase Two Ribbon Cutting ceremony and the announcement of the new amenities coming to the Skyland Town Center is proof that hard labor pays off. I am delighted that these new developments will help to bring to fruition what I have been unfailingly pursuing for Ward 7 residents for decades - more neighborhood amenities, full-service grocery stores and better-quality food service options for not only Hillcrest but for the 80,000 residents of Ward 7,” said Councilmember Vincent C. Gray.

The Crest is 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).

“Skyland took years to bring to fruition, and so we must double down on our commitment to adding safe affordable housing and food options,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “The food options at Skyland highlight the importance of Mayor Bowser’s $58 million commitment to expand access to grocery stores and sit-down restaurants in Wards 7 and 8 and give residents every opportunity to rise.”

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. Upon completion, Skyland Town Center will have up to 156,000 square feet of retail, a medical office building and 450 to 500 residential apartments in a vibrant town square setting. Deemed the largest retail development in Southeast Washington, D.C., Skyland Town Center will provide services and amenities to an underserved market east of the Anacostia River.

“This is a considerable milestone in realizing the Skyland dream, our vision of a vibrant mixed-use development that empowers the historically underserved community of Wards 7 & 8,” said Gary D. Rappaport, Chief Executive Officer of Rappaport. “We are proud of the work that went into completing Phase I and excited to break ground on Phase II – and there’s more to come.”

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated economic inequities in the District, with Black and Brown workers and residents without college degrees experiencing disproportionally high rates of unemployment and job loss. To address these disparities and make DC’s prosperity more inclusive, Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2022 Fair Shot Budget includes workforce investments focused on ensuring DC residents are trained and hired for high-demand, high-wage DC jobs. In addition, the budget prioritizes food access and economic recovery for all 8 wards.

Investments in the Mayor’s #FairShot FY22 budget proposal include:

  • $58M to expand access to grocery stores and sit-down restaurants in Wards 7 and 8 over the next three years, including $3M over two years for the DC Nourish Fund
  • $30 million for a new Employment Center Vitality and Local Job Creation fund to attract high-impact employers to the District​
  • $23.2 million to address urgent increased demand from unemployed residents through a surge in high-impact credentialing and by connecting more jobseekers to employment:
    • $5.9 million for Rapid Reskilling Fund providing high-demand workforce certifications for 700 residents.
    • $12.8 million for DC Futures – tuition and student support to provide free AA/BA degrees to 1,500 residents
    • $4.5 million for Career Coaches to support 5,000 unemployed residents in connecting to the employment and training opportunities that best meet their skills and experience
  • $49 million to reimagine our workforce system through expanded paid opportunities to learn on the job and prioritizing an employer-driven training system
    • 333 apprenticeships for youth and adults, including apprenticeships within DC government
    • Subsidized employment for 1,825 residents with barriers to employment
    • On-the-job training funding for 82 residents
    • Expansion of the DC Infrastructure Academy to serve 355 residents
    • Employer-led training grants to create new training programs that meet employers needs and train 750 residents
  • $1.5 million to expand Solar Works DC, training an additional 75 DC residents a year for careers in the solar energy industry​
  • $4.2 million to add 4,200 seats to the Summer Youth Employment Program for an Earn and Learn model for high school students who need credit recovery or summer learning
  • $500,000 for workforce training for LGBTQ+ residents

$9.2 million over two years to improve businesses’ navigation of the District’s technical assistance provider network, direct businesses to technical assistance providers best equipped to address businesses' specific needs, and expand technical assistance support for SMBs by scaling operational capacity of 40+ selected District-based providers.