As gentrification creeps east of the Anacostia River, D.C. officials announced on Wednesday that a Starbucks will anchor a new development in Anacostia.
Anywhere else in the city this wouldn’t be news. There’s a Starbucks inside of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and the Safeway store on Alabama Avenue SE, but this is the first standalone Starbucks franchise east of the river. That’s compared to more than 60 shops on the west side of town.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a release that she signed a letter of intent with the Starbucks, which is “committed to hiring D.C. residents.”
“This is how we expand prosperity—by being intentional about how we develop our neighborhoods and ensuring that as we grow, we create jobs for residents and set our communities up for long-term success,” Bowser said.
The coffee franchise will be one of the ground floor retailers of a new $50 million mix-used development called Maple View Flats on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. The site will also include 114 affordable housing units.
The announcement comes as Busboys and Poets prepares to open up shop just a few blocks away next year—it’s part of another project that Mayor Bowers says will offer employment opportunities in Ward 8, which has the highest joblessness rates in the city.
As the disparity of coffee shops, sit-down restaurants, and grocery stores in Wards 7 and 8 is clear, Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White applauds the development. “We have waited years for more equitable development,” White said in the release. “I’m proud to stand alongside Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor Snowden in celebrating this progress.”
But some residents worry that Starbucks, which some believe is a driver of gentrification, is coming at the expense of longtime residents and business owners. “I’m happy for the change, but a lot of new businesses are going to force people out,” one Southeast resident told NBC Washington.
Either way, it will be here “in the not too distant future,” Snowden told NBC.
As featured in DCist