Skyland Shopping Center project has a tangled history

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Photo - The Skyland re-development site in southeast Washington.
The Skyland re-development site in southeast Washington.
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

The effort to redevelop the Skyland Shopping Center began in the 1980s, and the process has spanned six mayoral administrations.

Initially, residents and merchants wanted to renovate the existing shopping center, which was at the intersection of Good Hope Road, Naylor Road and Alabama Avenue in the city's Hillcrest neighborhood.

But attitudes shifted as the years passed.

By 2002, the National Capital Revitalization Corp. began working on a plan to redevelop the property from scratch.

Along with the NCRC, a subsidiary called the RLA Revitalization Corp. helped execute plans for the site.

By 2005, the District agreed to use more than $28 million in federal funds for the project. The city used both eminent domain and voluntary sales to purchase the 44 parcels that make up the property, efforts that led to a series of prolonged legal battles.

In 2007, shortly after Adrian Fenty became mayor, the city changed course on how to pursue the project and disbanded the NCRC and its subsidiary. The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development took control.

That office, along with the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, continues to oversee the project.

Last year, District officials staged a ceremony to begin razing the property.SClBMayor Vincent Gray said at the time that the project showed his administration recognized that "east of the river oftentimes has not gotten the kind of investment, the kind of treatment, the kind of involvement that we think it deserves."

Developers say the property, part of which are expected to open in 2016, will ultimately include 325,000 square feet of retail space and more than 450 housing units.

- Alan Blinder

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner