Massive Rhode Island Ave Development Changes Approach

Rendering courtesy of MRP Realty

We have been following the massive proposed development next to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro stop for over a year now. The 13 acre development will cover about 6 blocks and is planned for the current strip mall anchored by Save-A-Lot, Big Lots and Foreman Mills. In December the development created a lot of buzz when it was announced that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema would join other amenities such as a supermarket and gym.

The developer, MRP Reality has spent 18 months and quite a bit of money navigating the planned-unit development (PUD) process, and received approval for the PUD from the Zoning  Commission in October 2016. That’s why we were surprised to read from this article in the Washington Business Journal that the developer is switching tracks, and pursuing a matter of right development approach, and forgoing the PUD process. From the (pay-walled) article:

With by-right, MRP will not have to return to the commission every time it wants to make a change, as it might have through the PUD process. And it will be largely free of legal challenges…

While building as a matter of right will allow more flexibility, according to the article, the plans for the nine building, 1,550 residential unit mixed use development are not changing (including the Alamo Drafthouse lease). The development will completed in multiple phases spanning 10 years, and is planned to begin summer 2018.

5 thoughts on “Massive Rhode Island Ave Development Changes Approach”

  1. This seems like good news. Changes in the law appear to be working as appropriate, with developments like this, right over a metro, no longer being subject to needless community obstruction.

    1. “needless community obstruction?”

      There is so much tension around development, around people feeling ignored, around racial displacement. If you are unaware of this, you’re really missing the bigger picture. Less input = good? Really?

      1. Can you explain the racial displacement as it relates to mostly surface parking lots and some big box retailers located at this site?

        Question which do you think gets done first, this development or 908 Monroe Street with its 10 year head start? I am really glad we have a nice empty lot there instead of businesses and residents that contribute to the neighborhood.

  2. Hello Shani –
    Does this mean that MRP will be required to build with lesser density, or will they be able to go forward with the plans that are already public?

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