Bond Bread Factory & WRECO Garage Redevelopment
In 2018, Howard University began reimagining and redeveloping the 2.2-acre Bond Bread Factory and Washington Railway and Electric Company (WRECO) Garage in the heart of the booming Shaw neighborhood.
The mixed-use development will include public and retail space to serve as a hub for Howard University and nearby neighborhood activity. The project advances the guiding principles of the Duke District Plan, emphasizing the centrality of a university district to the future of the neighborhood it surrounds. The end goal would be positioning the district as a dynamic, mixed-used area.
The project will be led by a master development team of DC-based developers: The Menkiti Group, Fivesquares Development, and EDENS.
The Bond Bread/WRECO site is home to two existing historic structures; the 1929 Art Deco Bond Bread Factory, and the 1930 Washington Railway and Electric Company (WRECO) Garage. Both buildings have been entered into the National Register for Historic Places with the Bond Bread Factory recognized for its significance to the Art Deco architectural movement, and the WRECO garage recognized based on its significance in relation to early railcar transit in DC.
The Bond Bread Factory building was completed in 1930, its distinguished design standing out from other contemporary factory buildings in downtown DC. When construction began in 1929, the Bond Bread Factory stood out as a state-of-the-art building designed by an experienced bakery architect, C.B. Comstock. His design mixes elements of the popular art deco style in its verticality and stepped façade, as well as the stripped classicism prevalent in federal Washington. In 2013 the building was added to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites.
Bond Bread Historic
The WRECO Central Garage was built to house and maintain a bus and streetcar fleet for the Washington Railway and Electric Company. Opened in 1930, this garage was designed by a noted architect and Washingtonian, Arthur B. Heaton, and was considered to be the first purpose-built bus garage.
ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The project site is located in the heart of the Duke District, at the doorstep of Howard and at the intersection of 3 distinct communities: LeDroit park, Howard University, and the U Street Shaw neighborhood. Shaw emerged from freed slave encampments in the rural outskirts of Washington, D.C. and was named after the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.
Following racial segregation in the 1890’s, the city’s African American population coalesced into those areas of the city open to them, including, most notably, greater U Street and the adjoining Strivers’ Section. Between 1900 and 1920 the racially mixed neighborhood progressively changed to a more homogenous African American one. The overall racial climate in Washington inspired a new ideology among African Americans that transformed U Street into a self-sufficient community and became notably known as the pre-Harlem center (and “Black Broadway”) of African American intellectual and cultural life.
1968 HU DCPL
In 1948, restrictive covenants overturned by the Supreme Court led to a mass exodus of educated African Americans from their neighborhoods, and businesses lost the concertation of economic support. That decline was punctuated as the neighborhood was devastated during the riots in 1968 and the community lost many of its businesses and middle-class residents. While the Shaw neighborhood started to grow again over the past few decades, the revitalization and development of the neighborhood remained disconnected from the neighborhood’s history, culture, and connection to the neighborhood's past.
1968 HU DCPL
The Bond Bread and WRECO project’s goal is to enhance Howard University campus and enhance the cultural heritage and character of the historic Shaw, Pleasant Plains, and LeDroit Park neighborhoods.
The 11-story redevelopment, designed by Studios Architecture, includes 469 residential units, a 180-key lifestyle hotel, 49,999 ft.² of retail space, and a 19,800 ft.² open public courtyard with the historical trusses reveal of the former WRECO bus garage. Façade retention of the two historic buildings is aimed at respecting the growing scale of the neighborhood. This includes creating a harmonizing blend of preservation of existing design and advancement of contemporary design. The development team plans to highlight the inextricable link to Howard University by creating a vital neighborhood center. This project will reflect the culture and character of the University, the surrounding neighborhood and its history, and the immediate surrounding community.
On July 29, 2022, the project received unanimous approval from the Historic Preservation Review Board on its design concept and approach to preserving the historic façade and elements of the two buildings.
Founded in 2004, The Menkiti Group is a 100% minority-owned Certified Business Enterprise headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional offices in Worcester, Massachusetts. The organization was founded with the mission to transform lives, careers, and communities through real estate. The Menkiti Group is a double-bottom-line company that measures success in terms of financial and positive social impact.
Fivesquares Development is a Washington, DC-based real estate development firm that transforms large, complex sites into exhilarating places that have a meaningful impact on the people and communities we touch. It is important to us to shape profoundly unique developments that also do good. So, we specialize in partnering with non-profit, cultural, government, and academic organizations to optimize the value of their real estate—and further their missions.
EDENS is a retail real estate owner, operator, and developer of a nationally leading portfolio of 125 places. Our purpose is to enrich the community through human engagement. We know that when people come together, they feel a part of something bigger than themselves and prosperity follows— economically, socially, culturally, and soulfully. EDENS has 250 employees across offices in key markets including Washington, D.C.
Key Lifestyle Hotel
SF of Retail Space
SF Open Public Courtyard