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Mayor Bowser Welcomes New Whole Foods Market to Ward 1 Mixed-Use Project Ahead of Upcoming New Affordable Housing

Thursday, July 23, 2020
New Affordable Housing at The Wren Will Add to the District’s Goal of Producing 36,000 Homes by 2025

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a major milestone for a key District development near the U Street corridor in Ward 1 with the grand opening of a Whole Foods Market at 965 Florida Avenue, NW. When completed, The Wren, a 375,000 square foot mixed-use development, will produce more 431 apartment units, including 132 units of deeply affordable housing for low- and very-low income households located just two blocks from the vibrant U Street corridor and entertainment district and five blocks from the U Street Metro Station.

“When we think of projects like this, we start by asking ourselves what the residents in that neighborhood need to live a healthy, sustainable life,” said Mayor Bowser. “965 Florida Avenue is a great example of bringing new housing with affordable options, food accessibility, and safer streets and sidewalks to this vibrant area.”

At the start of her second term, Mayor Bowser set a bold goal to deliver an additional 36,000 units of housing – including at least 12,000 units of affordable housing – by 2025. From January 2019 through May 2020, the District has produced 7,604 units, of which 1,383 are affordable. You can track the District’s progress toward #36000by2025 at open.dc.gov/36000by2025.

“As the Ward 1 Councilmember, I’m proud to have worked with Mayor Bowser, DMPED, and our Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to bring Ward 1 residents a project that our community can be proud of,” said Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. “By prioritizing affordable housing, job creation, and local hiring by Whole Foods Market, we have been able to deliver an equitable and inclusive result for residents. I am excited to welcome Whole Foods Market and our future neighbors to Ward 1.”

As part of Mayor Bowser’s efforts to bring shopping, dining, and entertainment amenities to residents in all eight wards, District officials have attended the International Council of Shopping Centers with the Washington, DC Economic Partnership to encourage investments in DC neighborhoods. This effort has led to several grocer announcements at District projects; most recently Lidl at Skyland Town Center in Ward 7, as well as this Whole Foods Market in Ward 1 and another Whole Foods Market at the Parks at Walter Reed in Ward 4. Since 2000, DC’s retail attraction efforts have produced more than 300 stores and restaurants opening, creating nearly 15,000 jobs and more than $116 million in annual sales tax revenue.

“Our goal with every DMPED-led project is to provide for the best economic and community benefit possible,” said Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “Today, we get to celebrate the fruits of our labor, in welcoming a great grocer right off the U Street corridor – one of the busiest neighborhoods in the District – as well as more than 400 units of housing bringing us closer to the Mayor’s goal of 36,000 units by 2025.”

Additionally, The Wren development came with more than $500,000 in community benefits to support local hiring, businesses and entrepreneurship and improvements to the intersection of Florida Avenue and Sherman Avenue, NW, the sidewalks, and streetscape, making the area safer for pedestrians and motorists.

“We are proud to open our sixth store in Washington, D.C.,” said Scott Allshouse, Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic Regional President. “It is our mission to nourish people and the planet, and we look forward to doing that as part of this community.”

The project is overseen by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) with development partners MRP Realty, JBG Smith Companies and Ellis Development.

“It’s rewarding to deliver this combination of needed housing and quality retail to this diverse and growing community,” said MRP Realty Principal, Matt Robinson. “The opening of the Whole Foods Market on Florida Avenue is incredibly exciting for Shaw, Howard University, Columbia Heights, U Street, and other communities in close proximity to The Wren DC, and together with JBG Smith and Ellis Development we’re honored to partner with an organization that brings so many benefits to the neighborhood and the District of Columbia.”