The money is coming…

…by means of tax increment financing (TIF). Before the Council is a proposed revision of the 2004 Retail Incentive Act which will designate Rhode Island Avenue NE, along with various other areas in the City, as Priority Retail Areas.

YES! Rhode Island Avenue is part of this. It is slated to get no more than $15 million in TIF monies to aid in redevelopment. The Act is in its 3rd reading before the Council. Here is the Wikipedia definition of TIF:

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a public financing method which has been used for redevelopment and community improvement projects in many countries including the United States for more than 50 years. With federal and state sources for redevelopment generally less available, TIF has become an often-used financing mechanism for municipalities. Similar or related approaches are used elsewhere in the world.

Here are the areas mapped out that will receive the funding for Rhode Island Avenue NE.

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10 thoughts on “The money is coming…

  1. Very exciting news indeed. How does the planning process work?

    I vote for a Whole Foods and Busboys and Poets as our first business recruitment priorities!

  2. I would just like to see the shopping center with the Safeway in it redeveloped. A new Safeway like the others in the city that are also getting remodeled would be great, along with a Target or Walmart. I would like to see it made into a more transit oriented development, with a town center design and underground parking. Also the retail parcels further down RI Ave really look tired and old. The one with Adventure dental could really use a redevelopment as well. Some decent sit down restaurants would be good too, less carryouts, new fast food places like Baja Fresh, Chipotle, etc.

  3. I agree guys! I think the Safeway shopping center could really use a face lift….the new Foreman Mills isn’t doing them any favors with that. One of the biggest mistakes they made in that area is with the Home Depot/Giant development. They have that HUGE parking lot that hardly gets used. That space, since it is next to the metro, could have been turned into a mixed-use development so easily, with retail, residential above the retail, parking garages etc. Having the Metro next door would have been a huge draw, and would have spurred development elsewhere.

    Also, the shopping center with the Adventure dental in it has always reminded me of the shopping center in Cleveland Park with the Petco in it. With a remodel, that center could be really cute. Additionally, up the street in Woodridge, our storefronts could be really cute and tastefully done with a good developer at the helm.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  4. Don’t throw in the towel on the Home Depot/Giant development just yet…I’ve seen some creative remodels of very similar car-centric shopping centers in recent years that have transformed them into “town centers.” Rockville is playing around with some of these ideas right now. Imagine how much better the center would be if they transformed the mega parking lot into parking garages with walkable, first-floor retail. With the right urban planning folks at the helm, you might even be able to figure out how to throw some mixed-income lofts/apartments into the mix. If the Home Depot in Gaithersberg can get by with a parking garage, there’s no reason it couldn’t work here too.

    If the ANC folks don’t have a vision for Rhode Island Ave, we do!

  5. The Home Depot was good for the time it was built. Before it was the Home Depot, it was a big empty lot with junk in it. Now, people come from all over the city to shop there.

    Though, I agree that parking lot is overkill. Most of the time it’s half empty. I don’t want to lose parking though, when I go to Home Depot, I’m usually buying something big, and I need to drive there. A good model I think is the Home Depot in Springfield. It has a 2 level garage connected to it, and saves a lot of space. Though, I don’t think they’ll be in too much of a hurry to redevelop it since it was built fairly recently.

    If we could get quality development where the Safeway, Autozone and other metro adjoining parcels, we would be making a lot of progress.

    1. Unfortunately people, if you notice the outline for the areas that are getting the TIF money, you will notice that the Home Depot/Giant area is NOT in it. Maybe with the redevelopment around it, we will see a developer re-vamp this area on their own?

      1. Even though the Home Depot center is not ideal development, compared to the other parcels, it’s the best shopping in the corridor.

        I think the TIF is appropriate to focus on the other parcels, because they are much less than ideal development, they’re straight up eyesores.

        We should focus on redevelopment of Safeway, Autozone, and the other parcels near the metro, and worry about the Home Depot later.

      2. I was just looking at the map again. The outlined areas include the Safeway, Autozone, the old warehouses across Home Depot, and Edgewood Terrace behind Safeway.

        Trust me on this, if we can successfully redevelop those areas outlined, this will get rid of the majority of the blight in the area. After that, we can tackle the Home Depot.

  6. Agreed! I think the Home Depot center is a long-term project. I’d definitely prioritize cleaning up some of the other areas and bringing in more small businesses and – if we’re lukcy – mixed-use parcels first.

  7. Exactly what will the $15 million accomplish in these three areas? Will it be split equally among the three parcels? Is the money only for retail purposes? All three parcels fall within the the Rhode Island Avenue Great Street corridor. With the TIF be a major/minor source of funding for the RI Avenue Great Streets development? And, when will the funding be available?

    The parking lot of the Brentwood/RI metro station is supposed to have residences, shopping, and parking available. This project should have broken ground last year or even earlier. Can anyone provide an update on the status of this project?

    I’d like to see the RI Ave. Streetcar put in place before any of these major developments are started.

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