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Mayor Bowser Celebrates Major Milestones on Historic MLK Gateway Project in Anacostia

Monday, November 15, 2021
MLK Gateway to Serve as the New Epicenter of Commerce, Culture, and Technology with a Mix of Neighborhood-Serving Retail

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the completion of Phase I and the start of Phase II at MLK Gateway, a transformational project that will bring office space, retail, and other neighborhood amenities to the corner of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE in historic Anacostia. The Mayor was joined by members of the Council of the District of Columbia, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), The Menkiti Group, LISC, CityFirst Bank, PNC Bank, and Enlightened Inc.

“At MLK Gateway, we’re collaborating with partners and leaders who know DC and who know Ward 8. And, together, we’re delivering results: jobs, opportunity, a new restaurant, and more,” said Mayor Bowser. “This is the second Neighborhood Prosperity Fund project that we’re celebrating in the past three days – on Saturday we were in Bellevue to open the new Good Food Market. We made a commitment to the community, and now we’re delivering. Today, we’re back in Ward 8, welcoming a Black-owned technology firm and celebrating all the opportunity that this site represents.”

Phase I of MLK Gateway includes a mix of uses and features the restoration of 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail as well as the addition of 20,000 square feet of newly built office space. The project is anchored by Enlightened Inc., an award-winning, Black-owned information technology and cybersecurity firm that has relocated its nearly 150 District-based employees to this new headquarters in historic Anacostia. Additional tenants at Phase I include Capital One Café, a full-service coffee and tea bar that provides financial management and banking services as well as collaborative workspaces for public use, and a new restaurant run by Ward 8-based business, The Gaston Group. Earlier this year, The Gaston Group received a $145,000 grant through the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund to support the bringing Kitchen Savages, a 40-seat fast casual southern bistro, to the development.

“Enlightened is proud to be a part of this community and to be an agent of positive economic development,” said Antwanye Ford, President and CEO, Enlightened Inc. “Bringing training programs and jobs is what we love to do, and we are looking forward to leading the charge in developing local entrepreneurs, launching businesses, and creating a national tech hub at the entrance to Anacostia.”

“MLK Gateway demonstrates what we can deliver when the public and private sectors work together to make big, strategic investments in existing communities,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “We triple downed on this project using New Tax Credits, Opportunity Zone, and Neighborhood Prosperity funds to make sure the residents of Ward 8 were supported.”

Phase II of MLK Gateway will include the construction of a new building at 1909 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE with street-level retail and multistory office space above. The project is anchored by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which will move from its current headquarters in historic Anacostia. Additionally, Phase II will be the new home of a Keller Williams Capital Properties (KWCP) office, which marks the first office of a national real estate chain in a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River. At MLK Gateway, KWCP will found the East of the River Real Estate Academy, a training center for aspiring real estate entrepreneurs that is designed to open doors to new opportunities for local residents.

The MLK Gateway development project was financed using a combination of $4.25 million in New Market Tax Credits and $3.3 million in Opportunity Zone equity. Phase I also received a $700,000 grant from the District’s Neighborhood Prosperity Fund and Phase II received a $250,000 grant from the same fund. The development of both phases of the project is being led by local DC-based, Black-owned integrated real estate services company, The Menkiti Group.

“We are proud to deliver Phase I and break ground on Phase II of this catalytic project east of the river,” said Bo Menkiti, Founder and CEO, The Menkiti Group. “We believe MLK Gateway is an innovative example of community-led participative development and demonstrates how the power of collaboration between the public and private sectors can truly drive neighborhood impact.”