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Bond Bread Project Receives Approval by Historic Preservation Review Board

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The redevelopment of the 2.2-acre Bond Bread Factory/WRECO Garage site at Howard University recently received unanimous approval by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). Redevelopment of Bond Bread/WRECO will be led by a master development team consisting of D.C.-based developers The Menkiti Group, Fivesquares Development, and EDENS. The project advances the guiding principles of the Duke District Plan, with an intention to emphasize the centrality of a "university district" to the future of the neighborhood and position that district as a dynamic, mixed-use area. With this approval, the project can move forward with design and permitting.

"Urban transformation is about so much more than bricks and mortar; it is also about the intangible and how well a project preserves and transforms the identity of the community. For me, this project is deeply personal as a local Black developer and real estate professional who has spent the last two decades building an organization in the district that is focused on transforming lives, careers, and communities through real estate," said Bo Menkiti, Founder & CEO of The Menkiti Group.

The vision for the project is to enhance the cultural heritage and character of D.C., the historic Shaw, Pleasant Plains, and LeDroit park neighborhoods, and Howard University. The nine-story redevelopment, designed by Studios Architecture, includes 469 residential units, a 180-room lifestyle hotel, 50,100 square feet of retail space, and a 19,800-square-foot open public courtyard with the historical truss reveal of the former WRECO bus garage. By creating a vital neighborhood center, the development team aims to highlight the inextricable link to Howard University and will ensure the project reflects the culture and character of the university, the neighborhood, and its history, and the surrounding community.

In late 2017 Howard University released a highly competitive developer selection process, which received more than 20 responses to its Request for Qualifications. After careful review and deliberation, Howard selected a development team comprised of diverse, locally based, locally operated experts in the areas of neighborhood building, retail development, and multi-family housing.

The Bond Bread Partnership comprised of The Menkiti Group, Fivesquares, and EDENS has defined their vision for this project as one that focuses on maximizing the benefits to the university as well as the neighboring communities. Together they are committed to reinforcing and expressing Howard's historical legacy by defining the urban gateway of Georgia Avenue as a dynamic entrance to the university as it meets the city and dynamic surrounding neighborhoods.

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The current design concept seeks to open up the site through various connections from W to V Street as well as a passageway through Georgia Avenue. The project design encourages and invites the local community to experience the robust programming and gather in a courtyard steeped in historical expressions of art, poetry, and literature of the neighborhood.

"We believe deeply in the power of preserving the cultural history and legacy of a place, and that is evident in the plan we are committed to executing," Menkiti said. "When this site is effectively preserved and carried forward into the future, we know it has the potential to be one of the great iconic sites in the city that will be a feature of the neighborhood and Howard University's historical identity, as well as a beacon to their future impact."

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