Washington Business Journal
It took more than 20 years and had more plot twists than a Shakespearean tragedy, but a team led by McLean-based Rappaport followed through on its long-standing pledge to deliver community supporting retail to the site of the former Skyland Shopping Center in Ward 7’s Good Hope neighborhood.
On Sept. 27, Lidl became the first full-service grocery store to open east of the Anacostia River in 15 years. And it marked the biggest turning point in a development that’s been on the books for its two builders for 20 years, in a long underserved part of town.
The German discount market chain was just one of several new merchants in Skyland Town Center’s second phase. In addition to the 29,436-square-foot Lidl, the $17 million development included the District’s first drive-through Starbucks, a PNC Bank, Tropical Smoothie Café, Mezeh, Maizal and &pizza. That’s in addition to the project’s first phase, which brought to the community The Crest at Skyland Town Center, a 263-unit multifamily building with such ground-floor retailers as CVS Pharmacy, Roaming Rooster and a Trek bicycle shop.
An eminent domain battle, the loss of its first anchor retailer and multiple starts and stops were among the trials and tribulations that earned Skyland Town Center, with a new anchor tenant in tow, the Washington Business Journal’s Perseverance Award in 2020. Then again, as Walmart’s 2016 decision to pull out of the project showed, nothing’s for certain until the punch list is completed and the ribbons are cut, especially amid a prolonged pandemic.
All in, including acquisition, relocation, site work and construction, the city and development team have spent more than $130 million, with a third phase still to come.