A new mixed-use development has opened on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road in Southeast, D.C., and the city hopes it will turn into a gateway for business opportunity and job growth.
The three-story complex in Anacostia is anchored by Enlightened Inc., a Black-owned cybersecurity company that moved from Connecticut Avenue and K Street NW to be part of this project.
Antwanye Ford, president and CEO of Enlightened Inc., spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday. He said that the company was able to create 35 new jobs with the move, 25 of which are hires from Ward 8.
“One of the things that’s important to me is to be able to provide that opportunity for folks in Anacostia,” Ford said. “To be able to be an example of what’s possible.”
Additional tenants include a soon-to-be-opened restaurant and a Capitol One Café branch — a full service coffee bar where you can also get your banking done.
Construction began on a larger complex across the street at 1909 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, which will headquarter the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development.
The two complexes are part of a development project called MLK Gateway, a public-private partnership between the city and Black-owned real estate company Menkiti Group.
Menkiti Group CEO Bo Menkiti said the project was driven by what Anacostia residents wanted.
“This project started with a vision from this community,” Menkiti said. “A vision we heard loud and clear over the two years that were spent engaging and listening to community organizations, residents and local business owners.”
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. I couldn’t be prouder of how this plan has come together. pic.twitter.com/gnW9eMkOS3
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) November 15, 2021
Mayor Muriel Bowser called the project a pipeline for new jobs.
“We are highlighting a model I’m fond of,” Bowser said. “Taking what works in Northwest and bringing it to other parts of the city.”
Phase two of the project will also be home to a new Keller Williams Capital Properties office, which will be the first national real estate chain in the neighborhood.