The Menkiti Group Celebrates Ribbon Cutting on Phase I of MLK Gateway Project in Historic Anacostia

The Menkiti Group | November 18, 2021


Phase I of MLK Gateway reaches completion, providing a backdrop for a new epicenter of commerce, culture, and technology in Ward 8.



(WASHINGTON, D.C.) PR Newswire– The Menkiti Group was joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser and city officials for a ribbon cutting earlier this week on November 15 to celebrate the completion of Phase One of the historic MLK Gateway project in Anacostia. The first phase of the project 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.


“We are proud to deliver phase one of this catalytic project east of the river,” said Bo Menkiti, Founder and CEO, The Menkiti Group. “We have been actively engaged with the historic Anacostia community, working together with the Bowser Administration, DMPED, and local leaders, residents and business owners to execute on a collaborative vision for equitable and sustainable economic development in Ward 8 and believe that MLK Gateway demonstrates how the power of collaboration between the public and private sectors can truly drive neighborhood impact.”


The project is anchored and co-developed 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. By moving to MLK Gateway, Enlightened became the largest private technology employer to move east of the Anacostia River in four decades, further accelerating job growth in Historic Anacostia. Enlightened plans to launch a technology incubator to groom growing tech firms to do business with the federal government and will run a cybersecurity training program to enable local residents to gain marketable information technology skills.


“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.”


Additional tenants at phase one include a new restaurant run by The Gaston Group, a Ward 8-based business and Capital One Café, a full-service coffee and tea bar with collaborative workspaces and meeting rooms for public use. The café, which occupies approximately 3,700 square feet of retail space, brings locally sourced food and beverages, complimentary Wi-Fi, private rooms for guests to enjoy, and financial education opportunities for the community.


“We are continuing the transformation of this historic neighborhood by revitalizing the gateway of the Anacostia business area,” said Mayor Bowser. “My Administration never gave up on this project because we know it has helped us bring jobs, housing, and new amenities to Ward 8.”


The first phase of MLK Gateway was financed using a combination of $4.25 million in New Market Tax Credits and $3.3 million in Opportunity Zone funding, grant funding, and senior debt. The project was one of the first in the country to deploy a combination of both Opportunity Zone funding and New Market Tax Credits. Additionally, the project also received a $700,000 grant from DMPED’s Neighborhood Prosperity Fund. Financing partners for the first phase of MLK Gateway include PNC Bank, City First Bank, LISC, Consortium America, and Uplands Real Estate Partners.


“The completion of MLK Gateway Phase I brings economic opportunities and jobs to the historic Anacostia community,” said George Ashton, Managing Director, LISC Strategic Investments. “LISC is proud to partner with mission driven developers like The Menkiti Group that build impactful community-based projects that are directly responsive to the community’s needs. We are excited to celebrate this milestone and look forward to continuing to support our Ward 8 residents.”


“As fellow Washingtonians, we are thrilled to partner with The Menkiti Group to deliver vibrant retail and high-quality jobs to historic Anacostia,” said Joshua Hoffman, Principal, Uplands Real Estate Partners. “MLK Gateway represents the best of what a public-private partnership can achieve.”


Through engaging with the community and local business owners, The Menkiti Group has been able to bring to life the local residents’ vision for the neighborhood. The design of the building by architects Hickok Cole embraces and incorporates the site’s existing historic facades, a vibrant mix of neighborhood-serving retail, and provides a gateway to commerce, culture, and technology at the entrance to Anacostia.


“It’s a privilege to be entrusted by The Menkiti Group, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the Anacostia community to design Phase I of MLK Gateway. We’ve been deeply integrated within the community, working with local review boards from the start, and committed to delivering a design that bridges the gap between Anacostia’s history and its bright path forward,” said Bertin Radifera, Senior Associate and Senior Project Manager at Hickok Cole. “We are incredibly proud to play a role in launching Anacostia’s next chapter and look forward to engaging with this vibrant community on many more opportunities down the road.”


Located at the corner of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, MLK Gateway is a two-phased community-oriented project that drives neighborhood impact in the heart of historic Anacostia. 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.


At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Bo Menkiti and The Menkiti Group were joined 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, Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Capital One, Andy Navarette, 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 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 $250MM 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.

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