Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) Valerie Santos, Department of Real Estate Services (DRES) Director Robin-Eve Jasper joined community leaders to begin the demolition of existing buildings at Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road, NE to make way for a new $80 million mixed-use development.
"This project combines our goals of investing in neighborhood revitalization, transit-oriented development and increased affordable housing," said Mayor Fenty. "Along with the new Benning Library, the Department of Employee Services' new headquarters, and the recently opened Ray's the Steaks restaurant, we are making real investments here in Downtown Ward 7."
Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Construction are developing the site. Once the demolition work is complete, the development team anticipates a construction start in the spring of 2011 with an expected completion date in fall 2012. Demolition of the existing buildings is being handled by EEC of DC through Department of Real Estate Services and is expected to last one month.
The new three-building project, next to the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail station, offers 325 rental housing units available at affordable rates for families earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income and 48 market-rate for-sale housing units. It also includes 23,000 square-feet of retail and restaurant space; about 4,000 square-feet of space is reserved for local and small businesses. Other amenities include a 270-space underground parking garage and a community meeting room.
This is just one of a number of projects where the District is playing an important role in encouraging new investment in the neighborhood. A Great Streets grant from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) provided support for the opening of Ray's the Steaks at East River Park, which opened in early April of 2010 and is one of the neighborhood's first sit-down restaurants. Also in April, the District opened the $10.14 million Benning Library.
Next door, the District is building the $95 million Department of Employment Services (DOES) headquarters, a 230,000 square-foot office building in Ward 7, which is expected to house 500 government employees. The government center is expected to be a LEED silver certified green building and feature the largest green roof on a District-owned building. The new building is slated to house a One-Stop Employment Center and is expected to be complete later this year.