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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

East Side News

Trader Joe’s for the People
To the delight of the NoMa neighbors to the east, Trader Joe’s has finally opened its doors in the desert between Harris Teeter and Union Market. Located on the corner of Fourth Street and Florida Avenue NE, the store is filling a gap for the residents of the new apartments and new and old rowhomes in that small subsection of the neighborhood cut off by tracks and industrial centers.

“We are so excited to be opening a store in such a neat and growing neighborhood,” explains NoMa store manage Rebekah Eagle. “As a resident of Northeast DC for the last 11 years, it is very exciting to see this part of the city grow and to be able to be a part of that.” Eagle plans to involve the new store in neighborhood events by providing in-kind donations of food and drink. “It’s important for every Trader Joe’s to support their neighbors and the local organizations,” she says.

“We’re thrilled that Trader Joe’s has arrived on Florida Avenue,” explains Robin-Eve Jasper, president of the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID). “TJ’s eclectic mix of foods and their aloha attitude will be a great addition to the neighborhood. We especially appreciate the way they jumped in as a new NoMa community partner with support for this year’s POW! WOW! DC mural festival.”

An important note about the store: it technically has two different addresses. Pedestrians looking for the front door are recommended to search for 1240 Fourth St., but the parking lot, and the actual Google address of the store, is 350 Florida Ave. As for the confusion, Eagle says hopefully it will work itself out once the building is filled with its office and residential tenants.

Ace-ing Earth Day
Just because the weather has not been living up to its ideal spring, that’s no reason not to celebrate the Earth. This Earth Day, the Fifth Street Ace Hardware in Mount Vernon Triangle put its garden products and green partnerships on display outside the store. Neighbors with kids or dogs stopped by to pick out plants or speak with representatives from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative or District Bliss.

“Ace Hardware is a coop, and each store is independently owned,” explains Courtney Belew, marketing manager for A Few Cool Hardware Stores, a group of 12 Ace locations in the DMV metro area. “That’s why it’s so important for us and our model that we involve ourselves in the local community and give back through educational opportunities and other events.”

The Fifth Street Ace is always on hand for events sponsored by the community improvement district (CID), providing its famous popcorn, a staple of local events and popped daily in-store.

A panel of developers discusses the future of NoMa/Union Market. Photo: Taylor Barden Golden

Accelerated Development
NoMa has been center of mind for many of the city’s developers over the last decade, and earlier this month a panel of developers sat down to talk about the progress made and the future of the new(ish) neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue. Joined by NoMa BID President Robin-Eve Jasper, the group discussed how collaboration and vision made the neighborhood what it is today and how it will help foster new life into the Union Market section of the city.

The event was organized by Bisnow, a commercial real estate news company that hosts live events and education. On the panel were representatives of some of the biggest names in DC-area real estate development: Carr Properties, Edens, Foulger-Pratt and JBG Smith. The panel was moderated by Evan Behr of JLL, a company that has studied the development in the area in relation to the growth of office space.

The overarching theme of the conversation was how the unique nature of having so much space on which to build, and very few barriers in terms of what was already on the ground, fostered an organic collaboration among large profit-driven companies. “The amenities came first and we got to build on top of them,” said Michael Abrams of Foulger-Pratt. It was clearly an exciting opportunity for companies that usually deal with existing residents and zoning and density regulations.

Looking to the future, the panel dived deep into the possibilities of the Union Market region adjacent to Gallaudet University, which hosted the event. The market space has a long and vibrant history of being, well, a market. There was a consensus among members of the panel that the history and industrial feel of the blocks should be preserved (let alone the fact that they must be because they are zoned historic). Union Market “just had a patina to it that we were drawn to,” explained Steve Boyle of Edens, the lead developer of the Union Market space. Unlike the main district of NoMa, the developers here hope to maintain the authenticity of the space while adding updates around existing history.

One thing was clear throughout the event – Northeast is thriving, and developers are happy to fill the need for more spaces of all kinds.


Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with the Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.

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