Tell me about RIA.

Located at the site of the former Brookland Manor Apartments and Brentwood Village Shopping Center, RIA is a 20-acre community destination featuring new apartments, homes, and senior living, a revitalized town center, new retailers and restaurants, and lush public spaces.

How will current residents be impacted by the development? Will there be tools or resources in place to support residents during this transition time?

MidCity proudly reports that, it has made a commitment to retain the project-based Section 8 contract that assists 373 families and will provide all residents in good standing with the right to return. For those not familiar with Section 8 and how rents are calculated, even though the proposed buildings will be new, the resident portion of the rent will continue to be calculated based upon 30% of their certified income.  MidCity has committed to try to do all relocations on site and has done so thus far with the only relocations being those from Block 7 to other parts of the property.  Phase 1 consists of Block 7 and MidCity has submitted a Stage 2 PUD Application to the DC Zoning Commission for the construction of two new buildings – a 200-unit affordable senior building and a 131-unit mixed income building.  The Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on February 23, 2017 with a conclusion expected in Summer 2017.  Groundbreaking would occur on or around January 1, 2018.

Additionally, to help with the resident transition process, MidCity has partnered with a not-for-profit entity to conduct a community needs assessment so that we can design programs and individual action plans to support residents in preparation for the new community. MidCity and related interests will likely fund a substantial portion of this initiative privately, but expect that others will also contribute resources to help with these activities. Current residents will be notified of any development impacting their home at least one year prior to the commencement of construction. MidCity will provide support to residents, including a moving stipend and relocation assistance.

What existing buildings will be impacted by the development at RIA?

All of the buildings will eventually be demolished and renewed in a phased redevelopment. The first building to be demolished is the Brentwood Village Shopping Center, which is expected to be razed by year end 2016 and will eventually make way for mixed-use buildings along Rhode Island Avenue – ground floor retail with rental apartments above.  There are three existing multifamily rental buildings on Block 7 where Phase 1 of the project will take place.  These buildings include 64 existing apartment units and will be replaced with 331 new units.  The expectation is that the three existing buildings will be demolished sometime after August 1, 2017 with construction to begin shortly thereafter.

What does the Stage One PUD Approval do and what was the process that was undertaken?

The Stage One PUD Application was approved on November 6, 2015, incorporating substantial input from the community. The project received tremendous support from ANC-5C (with a 7-0 vote), the DC Zoning Commission (with a 5-0 vote), the Brentwood Civic Association, Rhode Island Avenue Main Street, and countless other churches, nonprofits, civic groups, individual homeowners, and residents. The Stage One PUD Approval established the site plan (road network, green space, etc.), height, density, land use, and affordable housing conditions.

As the individual buildings are proposed, as is the case with the Block 7 buildings for which an application was filed in September 2016, MidCity must file a Stage Two PUD Application and reconvene with the community and the Zoning Commission to review the detailed design and architecture of each building. MidCity is committed to engaging in robust dialogue with community members every step of the way. The Stage One PUD Approval provides MidCity with broad approval guidelines; the proposed buildings will meet these requirements in addition to receiving community and Zoning Commission approval.

When will construction/demolition begin? When will there be informational meetings?

Community Construction Management Meetings have begun! Please follow our social media for meeting dates, times and locations.

Block 7 – the vacant buildings along Saratoga Avenue and Brentwood Road will be the first to be demolished as this site will host our first two buildings serving initially as replacement affordable housing for current residents.  Below please find MidCity’s Top Ten List from the Community Construction Management Meeting related to the demolition of Block 7:

  1. MidCity will be demolishing the 3 vacant buildings on Block 7, which is on Saratoga Avenue between Brentwood Road and 14th Street NE.
  2. Once demolished, MidCity will leave the buildings’ slabs and foundation walls.
  3. MidCity anticipates demolition will start at the beginning of 2018, and will last between 3-6 months.
  4. The demolition contractor is Rodgers Brothers.
  5. Demolition will occur between 7am and 7pm, Monday through Saturday.
  6. Construction-related vehicular entry/egress will mainly be off of Brentwood Road directly into the alley behind the site, with some trucks traveling up Montana Avenue to Saratoga Avenue and into the site.
  7. MidCity will take air samples to ensure the air around the site is within a healthy range for workers and the surrounding neighborhood. MidCity will use dust control (a water spray) during demolition.  Any hazardous materials encountered at the site will be removed within the parameters of MidCity’s permit, and monitored by the appropriate authorities.
  8. MidCity will ensure the noise remains within the allowable range required in our permit, and do not anticipate continuous loud noise at the site during the demolition.
  9. MidCity will remove debris on a regular basis during normal work hours, and will have appropriate fencing to keep the site and the surrounding areas clean. MidCity will regularly ensure that streets remain clear of mud and debris.
  10. MidCity will set rodent traps before demolition commences, and continue to monitor those traps during demolition.

Contractor and development team contact numbers will be provided to the community prior to demolition beginning so residents and neighbors may report any concerns or issues with demolition.

The media, blogs, and others have speculated on the affordable housing commitment here. Want to comment on this?

The Zoning Order issued by the DC Zoning Commission sets forth our voluntary commitments clearly.  Contextual information is set forth below but it is worth noting that on August 1, 2017 all property use encumbrances related to affordable housing will terminate.  Our objective from the outset has been to preserve and improve the affordable housing.   This property is privately owned, and our voluntary affordable housing commitments are as follows:
* Retain the Section 8 contract that assists 373 very-low income families.
* Provide at least 22 percent total affordable housing units; the legislated requirement is 8 percent.
* Provide the opportunity for all residents in good standing to remain in the community.
* Build replacement affordable housing first.
* Aim to perform all resident relocations on site at our expense.
With support from agencies, officials, neighbors and residents, we will collectively build an inclusive community with economic diversity and opportunity for all.

Can you tell me more about the existing Brentwood Village Shopping Center and what your plans are there?

MidCity acquired the shopping center on December 16, 2015 and demolished the existing structures in late 2016.  Since mid-2015, MidCity has been using the parking lot for arts and community programming events, including National Night Out, Resident Summer BBQs, and various Rhode Island Avenue Main Street Events.

MidCity is very excited to announce the completion of the surface mural in the former Shopping Center parking lot. Residents and neighbors met with MidCity’s muralist to design the image for the lot – many even were able to participate in painting the mural on MidCity’s Community Painting day! Please check out our social media accounts for mural images.

Phase 2A of the project, which includes Blocks 2 and 3 that front Rhode Island Avenue, will not commence until 2019, at the earliest.   Ultimately, Blocks 2 and 3 will include ground floor retail with residential uses above.  A new street will be introduced in the development that will bisect the current shopping center and utilize the existing signalized intersection where the Brentwood Fire Station is located.

What new retailers, businesses, and restaurants will RIA bring to the Rhode Island Avenue Corridor?

MidCity has begun its outreach to full-service grocery stores and has received positive early feedback based upon perceptions of the Rhode Island Avenue NE corridor, demographic trends, and the fact that up to 1,760 households will be located in RIA. MidCity expects conversations with anchor grocers to continue and to advance as planning efforts progress. The mixed-use buildings along Rhode Island Avenue will likely not commence construction until 2019. As the date draws near, MidCity expects to engage fully with the community and listen to what kinds of retailers meet the public’s needs. MidCity views RIA as a living community and a resource to the surrounding neighborhoods. MidCity will propose a retail and restaurant mix that meets the community’s everyday needs and enhances the quality of the neighborhood, while providing opportunity to interact and connect with neighbors and friends.