The Menkiti Group Celebrates Major Milestones on Historic MLK Gateway Project in Anacostia
MLK Gateway to serve as the new epicenter of commerce, culture, and technology with a vibrant mix of neighborhood-serving retail.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Menkiti Group was joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser and city officials Monday to celebrate two major milestones for MLK Gateway: the ribbon cutting of its completion of the first phase and the groundbreaking of its second phase. The development of both phases of the project is being led by local D.C.-based Black-owned integrated real estate services company, The Menkiti Group. MLK Gateway is a powerful example of a successful collaboration between the D.C. Government, private sector, and local residents. Located at the corner of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, MLK Gateway is a community-oriented project that drives neighborhood impact in the heart of historic Anacostia.
"We are proud to deliver phase one and break ground on the second phase 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."
The first phase of MLK Gateway includes a mix of uses and features the restoration of 14,000 square feet of ground floor retail as well as 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 one include Capital One Café, a full-service coffee and tea bar with collaborative workspaces and meeting rooms for public use, and a new restaurant run by The Gaston Group, a Ward 8-based business. The phase one building's design embraces and incorporates the site's existing historic facades, a vibrant mix of neighborhood-serving retail, and provides a backdrop for a new epicenter of commerce, culture, and technology in Anacostia.
"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."
The second phase of MLK Gateway will include 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 Washington, D.C.'s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) which will be retaining its headquarters in the historic Anacostia neighborhood and is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser's initiative to locate public agencies on the east side of the Anacostia River. Additionally, phase two will be home to a new Keller Williams Capital Properties (KWCP) office bringing a national real estate chain east of the river. At MLK Gateway, KWCP will found the East of the River Real Estate Academy, a training center for aspiring real estate entrepreneurs designed to open doors to new opportunities for local residents.
"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."
Through numerous meetings and engagement with community groups, residents, and local businesses, The Menkiti Group has been able to bring to life the city and local residents' vision for the neighborhood. The Menkiti Group is honored to execute on that vision and further realize its mission of transforming lives, careers, and communities through real estate and they remain dedicated to driving neighborhood impact as they continue on into the second phase of this project.
"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."
Both phases of MLK Gateway are models for public and private collaboration. The partners for phase one include The Menkiti Group, Enlightened Inc., the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), PNC Bank, RMS Investment Group, and City First Bank of DC. The partners for phase two include The Menkiti Group, Enlightened Inc., SHIFT Capital, DMPED, DHCD, EagleBank, LISC Black Economic Development Fund, Chestnut Funds, Chase Bank, Harbor Bank, NCIF, and Industrial Bank.
"It's an exciting experience to leverage District assets in a purposeful manner with the clear intention of strengthening the Ward 8 economy," said Department of General Services (DGS) Director Keith A. Anderson. "That's precisely what we achieved when we negotiated a new headquarters lease for the Department of Housing and Community Development; this space will ensure their staff can continue providing and creating innovative programming services for the District."
Bo Menkiti and The Menkiti Group were joined at Monday's ceremony by Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio, Enlightened Inc. President and CEO Antwanye Ford, SHIFT Capital CEO, Brian Murray, and community members as well as representatives and partners of the projects.
"At The Menkiti Group we have remained diligent over the last 17 years to pursue our mission of transforming lives, careers, and communities through real estate and this project is a testament to our commitment to enhancing the fabric of life in America's urban communities. We are proud to celebrate this significant milestone in bringing to life the community's vision for the historic MLK Gateway alongside partners who share a similar commitment to driving neighborhood impact for Anacostia. We look forward to continuing to work with the community to show the power and strength of D.C. residents east of the river," said Menkiti.
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 organization was founded with the mission to transform lives, careers, and communities through real estate. The Menkiti Group is a double bottom line company, measuring success in terms of financial and positive social impact. The company's approach to urban neighborhood transformation and investment is centered upon residential and commercial development, residential sales, and commercial brokerage.
The Menkiti Group invests in abandoned and underutilized properties and transforms them into exciting and affordable homes and workspaces. Projects range from single-family residential renovations and the development and tenanting of main street commercial properties to large-scale, mixed-use, transit-oriented development projects. Over the past 17 years, The Menkiti Group has invested over $225MM in DC's emerging neighborhoods, worked on the development of over 2.1MM 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.