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District Strikes Deal to Move Skyland Center Forward

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Agreement with Safeway makes way for long-awaited economic and job growth in Ward 7

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner announced today that a deal has been reached to remove a long-standing covenant with Safeway at Skyland Town Center at 2650 Naylor Road, SE. The agreement now makes way for highly-anticipated economic and job growth on this catalytic Ward 7 development.

The $265 million Skyland Town Center, as originally envisioned by residents years ago, will create a high-quality, destination retail town center in the heart of Wards 7 and 8 that will feature a new urban-format Walmart, neighborhood retailers and restaurants, and hundreds of jobs for District residents.

“We have finally cleared a path for a transformative Ward 7 project,” said Mayor Bowser.  “With this agreement, we will bring much-needed amenities to an area that has long been underserved, put hundreds of District residents to work, and create more pathways to the middle class.” 

Over a decade ago, the District embarked on a path to acquire and revitalize the blighted Skyland Shopping Center. In 2002, the District, through the National Capital Revitalization Corporation, intervened and began its acquisition of the Skyland site. However, a long-standing restrictive covenant had stalled the project from moving forward.

“I commend the Mayor for her expedient action in moving this development forward,” said Councilmember Yvette Alexander. “We have all worked so hard, and will continue to work hard, until Skyland is complete. This is a major victory for Ward 7.”

If the site was conveyed in 2010 as initially planned, the District would have reaped approximately $7 million in tax revenues to date. This is revenue that the District is now on track to begin collecting after the first phase of Skyland construction’s anticipated completed in mid-2018.

Today, the Bowser Administration and Safeway were able to come to an agreement that will pay Safeway $3.6 million over four years. Safeway has agreed to release the covenant on a parcel of the Skyland site which will now allow major construction to begin as scheduled later this month. 

To date, the District has invested nearly $60 million in the project for the purposes of acquisition, tenant relocation, property management, and legal fees. The District has invested in the project in efforts to spur further economic development not only in the immediate neighborhood of the future Skyland Town Center, but also in other parts of Wards 7 and 8.

At completion, the Skyland Town Center will be the first pedestrian-oriented mixed-use project in Ward 7 or 8, and will include transportation infrastructure improvements as well as a $5 million community amenities package. The Skyland Workforce Center opened in November 2014 to help local residents connect with jobs, both at the site and elsewhere.

Additional key benefits include 300 construction and 300 permanent jobs, nearly $65 million in sales and real-property taxes to the District over 10 years and creating approximately 450-500 residential units, with nearly 150 of those being affordable units.

“After nearly 15 years, the residents of Wards 7 and 8 will soon have access to quality retail they need and deserve,” said Deputy Mayor Kenner. “This deal now puts us in a position to create greater economic opportunity, and give Ward 7 and 8 residents a chance to share in the prosperity we continue to make in the District.”