Reported onOctober 14, 2022 By The Menkiti Group
The Menkiti Group | 3401 8th Street NE | Washington | DC 20017
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The redevelopment of the 2.2-acre Bond Bread Factory / WRECO Garage site at Howard University received unanimous approval by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on Thursday, September 29, 2022. Redevelopment of Bond Bread/WRECO will be led by a master development team consisting of DC-based developers The Menkiti Group, Fivesquares Development, and EDENS. The project advances the guiding principles of the Duke District Plan, with an intention to emphasize the centrality of a “university district” to the future of the neighborhood and position that district as a dynamic, mixed-use area. With this approval, the project can move forward with design and permitting.
“Urban transformation is about so much more than bricks and mortar; it is also about the intangible and how well a project preserves and transforms the identity of the community. For me, this project is deeply personal as a local Black developer and real estate professional who has spent the last two decades building an organization in the District that is focused on transforming lives, careers, and communities through real estate,” said Bo Menkiti, Founder & CEO of The Menkiti Group.
“I have witnessed firsthand the power and impact of being able to incorporate both the cultural history and the restoration of historic buildings into transformative new developments. I am truly honored to have our firm leading this special project in partnership with Howard University and alongside our fellow developers at Fivesquares and EDENS. Together we share a collective vision and goal of preserving the history of the Bond Bread and WRECO buildings as well as reconnecting the community to its cultural history.”
The vision for the project is to enhance the cultural heritage and character of DC, the historic Shaw, Pleasant Plains and LeDroit park neighborhoods, and Howard University. The 9-story redevelopment, designed by Studios Architecture, includes 469 residential units, a 180-room lifestyle hotel, 50,100 SF of retail space, and a 19,800 SF open public courtyard with the historical truss reveal of the former WRECO bus garage. Façade retention of the two historic buildings will seek to respect the scale of the neighborhood while creating a harmonizing blend between preservation of existing design and contemporary design. By creating a vital neighborhood center, the development team aims to highlight the inextricable link to Howard University and will ensure the project reflects the culture and character of the University, the neighborhood and its history, and the surrounding community.
“This project will be the 18-hour, destination anchor for what is emerging as one of the most exciting districts in Washington DC where Howard University and the city come together in a new vibrant central square,” said Andy Altman, Principal & Co-Founder of FIVESQUARES. “As the former planning director for the city, it is especially rewarding to partner with the talented team of The Menkiti Group and EDENS to bring a community vision generated over a decade ago to life.”
In late 2017 Howard University released a highly competitive developer selection process which received more than 20 responses to its Request for Qualifications. After careful review and deliberation, Howard selected a development team comprised of diverse, locally based, locally operated experts in the areas of neighborhood building, retail development, and multi-family housing.
“Receiving this approval represents a critical next step in enhancing Howard University’s strategic efforts to energize and revitalize the community surrounding our campus,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “The Bond Bread Partnership has enabled us to move forward with this development that will enhance the Shaw and Pleasant Plains neighborhood and create value for D.C. residents and businesses, while respecting the historic structures on this site.”
The Bond Bread Partnership comprised of The Menkiti Group, Fivesquares, and EDENS has defined their vision for this project as one that focuses on maximizing the benefits to the university as well as the neighboring communities. Together they are committed to reinforcing and expressing Howard’s historical legacy as a world-class and globally significant institution by defining the urban gateway of Georgia Avenue as a dynamic entrance to the university as it meets the city and dynamic surrounding neighborhoods.
“In repurposing this historic project, we acknowledge that these two landmarks have witnessed significant cultural shifts while embracing the nuances of their own stories – a time where one building fed the city and the other serviced the buses at Howard University’s front door,” said Steve Boyle, Chief Development Officer at EDENS. “Without diminishing the heritage of this site, we reflected on how the revitalization could lead the dialogue of the past, present, and future while continuing the interwoven story of service and legacy on the Georgia Ave corridor. The design of this emblematic project required active listening and discovery to craft a cohesive tapestry that amplifies the stories and voices of today while allowing for future stories to be told.”
The current design concept seeks to open up the site through various connections from W to V Street as well as a passageway through Georgia Avenue. The project design encourages and invites the local community to experience the robust programming and gather in a courtyard steeped in historical expressions of art, poetry, and literature of the neighborhood.
“We believe deeply in the power of preserving the cultural history and legacy of a place, and that is evident in the plan we are committed to executing.” said Bo Menkiti. “When this site is effectively preserved and carried forward into the future, we know it has the potential to be one of the great iconic sites in the city that will be a feature of the neighborhood and Howard University’s historical identity, as well as a beacon to their future impact.”
About The Menkiti Group
Founded in 2004, The Menkiti Group is a 100% minority-owned Certified Business Enterprise headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional offices in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Menkiti Group is an integrated real estate services company focused on a double bottom line, measuring success in terms of positive social impact and financial returns. The company was founded with the mission to transform lives, careers, and communities through real estate, and they are committed to driving neighborhood impact and engaging in communities with a long-term lens. Their focuses include urban investment, residential and commercial development, residential sales, and a commercial brokerage.
The company’s approach to urban neighborhood transformation and investment is centered upon partnerships with capital investors, local developers, community stakeholders, and small business owners to create thriving urban spaces that drive sustainable neighborhood impact and produce economic growth. The enterprise is dedicated to making smart investments in neighborhoods that are often on the “other side of perception,” to directly impact community vitality. Projects range from residential renovations and the development and tenanting of main street commercial properties to large-scale, mixed-use, transit-oriented development projects.
Over the past 18 years, The Menkiti Group has invested over $350MM in emerging urban neighborhoods, worked on the development of over 3MM SF of real estate, and has assisted over 2,000 families in purchasing their first homes. For more information, please visit menkitigroup.com or call (202) 733-5455.
SOURCE The Menkiti Group