(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) announced that the District has taken the next step to acquire the long-stalled Capitol Gateway Marketplace site, located in Ward 7 at the intersection of East Capitol Street, NE and 58th Street, NE, by filing a Complaint in Condemnation with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
“Last year, we delivered Good Food Markets in Bellevue. In January, we broke ground on Lidl at Skyland. And now, we are delivering for the residents of Ward 7 at Capitol Gateway,” said Mayor Bowser. “Today, we are one bold step closer to delivering on a promise made more than 20 years ago to bring a grocer to Capitol Gateway, and many steps closer to seeding new, locally-owned food businesses in our neighborhoods through the Food Access Fund.”
In February 2022, the Council of the District of Columbia approved Mayor Bowser’s request to authorize the use of eminent domain to initiate action at the Capitol Gateway Marketplace. On June 2, 2022, the District filed a Complaint in Condemnation with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
The site is now poised to deliver a new supermarket and fresh food access point. By acquiring the property, the District will be able to address unsafe and unsanitary conditions, reduce food insecurity in the area, and bring jobs and opportunity to the community. Absent eminent domain authority, the site – located in an area underserved by fresh food retailers – would likely have remained vacant until at least 2037, since there is no legal or financial reason for the developer to advance the project.
DMPED has secured a preliminary commitment from one of the largest grocery store operators in the area to deliver an approximately 55,000 square-foot grocery store that would anchor the Capitol Gateway Marketplace and bring fresh food options to the community. DMPED is working to make a formal announcement on the grocery store in the coming weeks.
The Capitol Gateway project results from a $30.8 million HOPE VI grant awarded to DCHA in 2000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to redevelop East Capitol Dwellings, Capitol View Plaza, and Capitol View Plaza II (collectively “Capitol Gateway”). The HOPE VI contract covers a combination of several parcels bisected by East Capitol Street and adjacent to the Prince George's County, Maryland line. The master plan for the Capitol Gateway revitalization effort – first introduced in 2002 – envisioned a mixed-use development that would replace a large area of public housing with a mix of uses, housing types, and families with various income levels.
“By acquiring Capitol Gateway Marketplace, we can fulfill a long overdue promise and deliver a grocery store and retail to the community,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “We have more work to do, but the finish line is in sight.”
Mayor Bowser’s effort at Capitol Gateway are part of her Administration’s broader effort to increase food access to underserved areas of the District.
The Mayor also announced today that the third round of the Food Access Fund will open for applications on Monday, June 27, making up to $7.3 million in grant funding available. To date, the Food Access Fund has awarded 16 food-related businesses more than $12.7 million in grant funding for projects located in Wards 7 and 8, and, with the Council of the District of Columbia’s approval of the FY23 budget, the Food Access Fund stands at $73 million for Fiscal Years 2021-2024. The Food Access Fund is a grant program to increase equitable access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food by securing grocery stores and restaurants, fast-casual restaurants, and other food access points in areas with low food access, with a focus on Wards 7 and 8.
Due to the fact that 85% of DC residents who live more than a mile from a grocery store are residents in neighborhoods East of the River, Mayor Bowser has prioritized delivering new food options to Wards 7 and 8, including supporting four new grocery stores: Good Food Markets in Bellevue (delivered 2021), and three currently under construction, including Lidl in Skyland (2022 delivery), Muki’s Market in Fort Davis (2022 delivery), and Fresh Food Factory in Kenilworth (2023 delivery).
The Bowser Administration has advanced several efforts to increase access to fresh and affordable food East of the River and other areas with limited food options. In addition to creating and funding the Food Access Fund, the Administration also changed the Supermarket Tax Credit to focus eligibility on areas most in need of grocery stores, expand support to more fresh food retailers, and add community engagement requirements for grocers. Additional food access efforts include the Nourish DC Collaborative created to provide flexible loans, catalytic grants and technical assistance to emerging and existing locally-owned small food businesses in the District.