Friday Question of the Day – Do You Like the Idea of a “Griffith Market” at 965 Florida Ave, NW?

MRP and Ellis Griffith Market 5.13
Click to enlarge New Rendering via Ellis Development

From a press release:

MRP Realty and Ellis Development Group have teamed with Fundrise, a local, online platform that uses technology to create a new model for real estate investment centered on crowdsourcing, to offer the public the opportunity to invest in their next development, The Griffith, located at 965 Florida Ave, NW. The Griffith is a mixed-use development consisting of approximately 370,000 square feet, including 40,000 square feet of ground floor retail and residential units above. The Griffith title is in homage to the old Griffith Stadium that was located between Georgia Avenue and 5th Street from 1911 – 1965. The development parcel is currently being sold through the District of Columbia Deputy Mayor’s office, and MRP’s proposal has been selected to be in the best and final round.

Ground floor retail of the development will include Griffith Market, designed as an indoor farmers’ market that allows small and independent grocers, operators, and retail entrepreneurs to set up inside the building and serve the general public in a creative and affordable manner, thereby creating an urban village that is authentic to the culture of Shaw and LeDroit Park. It is intended to compliment, not diminish, the high end, large scale grocery store planned for the Howard Town Center. More importantly, Griffith Market is intended to provide food and retail options that serve the immediate neighborhoods of the community while also serving as a destination for residents throughout the City.

Ed. Note: In late April we looked at the Ellis and competing JBG proposals for 965 Florida Ave, NW. A winner has not yet been selected.

I’m curious what folks think about the proposed Griffith Market. Do you think it will work well in that location? Do you think it can serve the public in an “affordable manner”? Would you invest in something like that?

47 Comment

  • I live just down the street…it would be a great addition to the neighborhood and something that the neighbors could really support in a more personal way.

  • I also live just down the street and I think it would be pretty cool to have an indoor farmers market. From the description it sounds like it could be broader than just food being sold there… but if I’m wrong I would encourage the developers to go down to Atlanta and check out the DeKalb Farmer’s Market for inspiration… god I miss that place….

    • I would love a no-frills DeKalb style market. I’m afraid this will be more like a Smuckers Farms type maket, stocked with super tempting (but not affordable) artisanal products.

  • As a 10-year resident, a few blocks away, my neighbors and I are looking forward to JBG’s proposed development with a Harris Teeter.

  • Really?

    First, Calvin Griffith was a racist who moved DC’s baseball team to Minnesota because they “only had 15,000 blacks”. Why memorialize his name?

    Second, the architecture in the rendering is awful.

    Third, the indoor farmer’s market concept needs careful execution to work. Not saying it won’t here, but see the newly opened Glen’s Garden for some potential pitfalls (though they say they’re trying to address them).

    Fourth, and I know this is nitpicky, you mean to say it will complement with an “e” Howard Town Center, not compliment.

    Obviously, you have some details to refine, some big, others not. Please start with changing the name and the architecture.

    • The Deadskins, which I believe had a different owner but also used Griiffith Stadium didn’t integrate until forced to by the deal that built RFK. This is the kind of ignorance that makes me sympathize with long time (usually African-American) DCers who complain about the insensitivity to history here. I hope the local NIMBYs make the developers life miserable. I live one neighborhood over so I think we’d have less impact. I do wonder as do others, downthread, if the area can absorb this much new retail. The service businesses like dry cleaners that are supported by neighbors are small, restaurants are a gamble despite paying high rents, and web-based small business doesn’t rely on traditional foot traffic.

    • You make some great point, not least of which is the difference between a genuine knowledge of the city’s history and a mindless fetish for nostalgia, the latter being sadly all-too-common today.

      • I disagree. He makes some terrible points. If the name is wrong, and this guy is a loser/racist, then lets change the name. To say you hope the local Nimbys give this guy hell is disgusting. This is more housing, in a city that needs it, in a location that is ripe for development.

        I tend to think you should leave worrying about the amount of retail development to the professionals. They are the ones putting the money behind it. If there wasn’t a market for it, they wouldn’t be investing in it.

        • It looks like you meant to reply to Rich’s comment (which I neither endorsed nor criticized. But I wholeheartedly disagree that we should trust developers to make good decisions about development. Projects that are profitable for them aren’t always beneficial for the neighborhood. Meaningful input from the community is important.

          • I probably should have responded to Rich’s comment, but a response to your is valid as well. His only point that can have validity is that possibly there is too much retail supply in the area, which is seriously debatable given all the new housing coming on-line.

            His point that Nimby’s should stand in the way of the development because of the name is ridiculous. Perhaps some input by neighbors into aesthetics and features can be good, but input/stopping a project because of a name is wildly unproductive.

  • The JBG proposal is 100 times better than this Ellis proposal. Don’t get sucked into the idea of the market when it is enveloped by a boring prison looking building. Demand a building design that looks as good and dynamic as their planned utopian market claims. As it stands, the design of the JBG building will be a much better and long lasting impact on the neighberhood

  • The PR myth-making of Ellis/MRP/Fundrise continues to grow. In their press release above, they state:

    “[The Griffin Market} … is intended to compliment, not diminish, the high end, large scale grocery store planned for the Howard Town Center.”

    What planet to do they live on? The “high-end market” they are referencing which they note will not be displaced — as proposed by the Howard Town Center — is an inner city, low cost market.

    The neighbors want and deserve a time-tested supermarket: a Harris Teeter, NOT an untried, feel-good farmer’s market.

  • Union Market isn’t too far from here. And then there’s the “Eataly-style” food emporium that’s supposed to be part of the new Colesium project. Not to be forgetten are Giant, Wal-Mart, and Harris Tetter. And isn’t Yes! coming to H St. soon? Somethings got to give.

  • Something on the model of Chelsea market would be pretty great. I agree that a generic produce stand isn’t so interesting v the Teet down the street, but if it were more focused on speciality food (and not just expensive stuff) it would do well.

  • The rendering is ugly and boring

  • Sounds very similar to what the O St Market is going to be, and what Union Market already is… While the need for grocery stores is acute in DC, the need for markets like this is probably more limited. Not sure it would work.

  • THE INDOR MARKET IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. A grocery store is 100000% better than an indoor market. If you want over priced food that is only open on the weekends, sure get the market.. what we need in this neighborhood is a REAL grocery store that has more than over priced produce… that is how you increase the value of the neighborhood.

    Also the JBG proposal looks much better… and can be completed SOONER.. JBG has funding and is well capitalized… the other project will take much longer

  • I like it. Its different. Who wants just another grocery store? We have a lot of those. There is a Teeter going in on 7th Street. There might be one going in at McMillan. There’s a new giant at 9th and O.

    So the name is a bit much. But, they can find a new name if people are offended. I dont think the name makes the project.

    • Actually, this would be in place of the Harris Teeter…

      • I thought they had another site in mind as well? On 7th or Georgia or something.

        Also, forgot about the Trader Joes. The teeter on Kalorama.

        The world wont end if a teeter doesnt go in on Florida.

        I dont care if its this indoor market or not, but something different would be nice to add variety and give the development its own identity would be cool.

        • Of course the world won’t end, but there will continue to not be a major grocery store in the area. TJs isn’t a full-service grocery store and the Harris Teeter in AdMo isn’t remotely close. Grocery stores spur development.

  • Good idea? Yes, since i live two blocks away. Practical and sustainable? I have doubts.

  • I live literally ACROSS the street and far prefer this to the Harris Teeter plan. This encourages some local food vendors, and pays homage to an old DC institution.

    • I also live within a block. Local food vendors are nice and all, but I really just want to be able to buy produce and paper towels in the same place.

    • Local food vendors in DC=pricey, upmarket food. I’d take a big chain grocery store over them, at least in my neighborhood.

  • As much as I would like for this to work, I don’t think the area has enough density to sustain this pitch. Farmers/retailers are already complaining about not getting enough weekday traffic at Union Market (although, I’m guessing the relatively out-of-the-way location has a lot to do with this). While great in theory, I think a lot more needs to happen other than the mere addition of an uninspired residential building.

  • The problem with this proposal is there is a huge chance it never takes off and you end up with empty retail and nothing for the neighborhood. Harris Teeter is a guaranteed success in this neighborhood. When I want independently grown produce, theres always smuckers, Yes!, and the farmers market.

  • As a foodie, I have to say the more markets the better, but I’m starting to question whether there will soon be a saturation point as several grocery stores are slated to open. As the quality of the farmers markets in DC can vary, as is true with the grocery stores, perhaps we can hope that the cream will rise to the top…?

    • The grocery business is pretty scientific at this point, I’m pretty sure all the grocery chains research neighborhoods pretty heavily before they sign any new leases. This is one area where I think the free market works, grocery stores tend to last much longer than other types of retail (and I’d be inclined to think their careful planning, retail strategy, and pricing strategy has something to do with that). These aren’t small boutique shops that open and close in a few years, they are businesses with thin margins that understand that one mistake can cost a fortune.

  • The JBG proposal is 100 times better. I see absolutely no value in the this indoor market idea. I also can’t help but to question the financial backing of this plan. That should immediately raise many reservations. Another lot that sits empty for years while fighting for financing is the LAST thing our community needs.

  • let’s throw a freaking aldi in there if we want an affordable grocery store.

  • I don’t think the Ellis building looks appreciably worse than what JBG is proposing.
    I don’t know whether this particular marker idea is going to work but I appreciate the sensitivity to the fact that not everyone who lives in that neighborhood now has the means to shop at a high end grocery store. (Yeah, I know – “Harris Teeter is high end?” Actually, for some people it is.)

  • Hideous, hideous, hideous.

  • JBG for sure. They own a plot next to the proposed site so they can better leverage the land especially the new W st. And we need another gym in the area! Enuf with all the grocery store chatter.

  • JBG is the preferred vendor for my neighborhood. The micro-units proposed by JBG will be a first in DC and, as JBG is a tried-and-true development company – unlike Fundrise who do not seem to have any noted accomplishments yet, only a lotta hype — something will get built, starting in the near term.

Comments are closed.