Shaw Whole Foods Development Breaks Ground, 30 Percent of Residences Will Be Affordable

It may have been a long time coming for this former vacant lot on Florida Avenue, but another mixed-use, mixed-income development is now being realized in Shaw.

This morning, city officials and the developers behind The Wren gathered at 965 Florida Avenue NW (map) to break ground on a new community that will bring 433 apartments and a new Whole Foods to the neighborhood. The development is a partnership between MRP Realty, JBG Companies and Ellis Development with hord | coplan | macht as the architect.

While a new Whole Foods is always news in DC, the real news might be the number of affordable residences that are included as part of the new development. Of the 433 apartments that will rise on the site, 132 will be set aside as affordable units for households earning up to 30 and 50 percent of area median income, representing a victory for Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has made the creation of affordable housing units a signature component of her administration. The Wren is one of the first developments in DC to follow new land disposition rules whereby 30 percent of residential units in new buildings built on previously District-owned land must be affordable.

Future site of The Wren

Chip Ellis of development partner Ellis Development shared an interesting full-circle tale of his involvement in the project.

“For someone like me, whose great-grandparents came to this neighborhood in the 1920s and settled in the 1800 block of 9th Street, and ran a food café called the Eureka Café while living above, it gives me great satisfaction in knowing that I’m a part of a project that will continue to provide housing and nutritious food to the residents of Shaw.”

The Wren is expected to deliver in the fourth quarter of 2020.


As featured in Urban Turf