The firm behind one of the largest private developments in the District has made a key acquisition to advance the project.
Silver Spring-based Mid-City Financial Corp., owner of the Brookland Manor affordable housing complex in Brentwood, on Wednesday closed on its $14.1 million purchase of the neighboring Brentwood Village Shopping Center. The 2-acre retail center fronts the south side of Rhode Island Avenue NE, east of Brentwood Road and west of Montana Avenue.
Michael Meers, Mid-City’s executive vice president, said the acquisition “sends up a smoke signal and a signal to others that it’s OK to invest in the area, that change is coming.” All Brentwood Village leases will be terminated immediately, and the center is expected to be vacant by June 30. Brentwood Liquor is expected to close much sooner, perhaps by the end of January.
Brookland Manor, comprised of 19 garden-style apartment buildings, and Brentwood Village span roughly 20 acres, and their combined redevelopment is one of the largest purely private projects in D.C.’s pipeline. The project, broken down into eight blocks, calls for 1,760 residential units, 181,000 square feet of retail and 1,590 parking spaces.
Eugene Ford Sr., Mid-City’s founder, acquired Brookland Manor in 1977 under a 40-year fixed-rate mortgage with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The complex includes 373 Section 8 units that Mid-City cannot begin to redevelop until 2017. More than 380 units in the new community will be affordable for residents earning below 50 percent of the area median income.
Ford died Oct. 21 at the age of 86. In his obituary, he was described as an “affordable housing champion” whose firm developed, financed or facilitated more than 40,000 affordable units in the D.C. and Baltimore regions.
The D.C. Zoning Commission order approving Mid-City’s planned-unit development application notes that Brookland Manor was constructed in the 1930s and 1940s “in keeping with the Garden City movement.” And Brentwood Village, the commission wrote, was built as an automobile-centric amenity for nearby residents, but it “no longer provides quality retail that serves the needs of the nearby residents of Brookland Manor and the Brentwood neighborhood.”
Mid-City, Meers said, has connected most of the existing Brentwood Village tenants with local brokers, “helping them all to find a safe landing.” Maybe half, he said, “have a good option.”
The company’s plan is to raze the shopping center next summer, though construction of an anchor grocery store, and redevelopment of Brentwood Village, is not expected to begin until at least 2019. The first phase of project will be the construction of new housing in a lower density portion of the 20 acres.