Gray signs legislation authorizing Skyland Town Center redevelopment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray officially signed off on the redevelopment of the blighted Skyland Town Center Monday, pushing forward a long-awaited attempt to revitalize the tired retail area.

Joined by members of the Council, Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins and representatives of Rappoport and W.C. Smith development team, Gray officially signed the Skyland Town Center Omnibus Act of 2014 in front of a crowd of community members, reauthorizing the use of a $40-million Tax Increment Financing subsidy (TIF) and approving the start of work on the development, located in Ward 7 at 2646 Naylor Road SE.

"Today is a momentous occasion for the residents of Ward 7, as the city finally makes good on a promise first made decades ago," said Mayor Gray. "The journey here has been long and hard, but I am excited to sign legislation that will bring much-needed retail and amenities to the community."

Much of the delay has been due to the fact that the property is made up of more than 40 parcels, and consists of more than 15 different property owners and 29 different tenants.

In a statement Monday, the city said the shopping center had been "poorly operated" for years, and "never met the retail needs of the residents of Wards 7 and 8."

Officials also added that the residents themselves had tried for years to revitalize the shopping center with no success, leading the city to intervene and begin its acquisition of the property in 2002.

The statement said Mayor Gray had been working to "clear all legal issues and resolve all tenant relocation concerns" over the past 36 months.

The Skyland Town Center will be bordered by Alabama Avenue, Naylor Road and Good Hope Road in Southeast D.C.

City officials said the newly redeveloped town center will include about 340,000 square feet of retail space and 480 apartments.

Mayor Gray hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the redevelopment project in March.