Walkable communities with access to public transit, shops, restaurants and outdoor space seem as if they should be a natural part of urban living, but sometimes old developments get in the way.

New mixed-use developments have reopened streets in Southwest Washington and at CityCenter, the site of the old Convention Center. Now a multi-phase redevelopment will transform the dated shopping center adjacent to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station and extend Fourth Street NE into a main shopping street that will end at a public plaza in front of the station.

The redevelopment of the Rhode Island Center, a joint venture by MRP Realty and B&R Associates, will also improve access to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The project will relocate the trail, adding green space to it, and open a pedestrian bridge to the public plaza.

As part of the redevelopment, approximately 315,000 square feet of apartments will be built, along with up to 200,000 square feet of retail space. Construction is anticipated to start in 2017 and the apartments should be ready for occupants in 2019.

Plans call for 1,555 apartments, including studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. The apartments will have ground floor retail along with parking.

The developers hope to have a health club and a full-service grocery store among the retail tenants. For more information and updates, go to www.mrprealty.com.

Michele Lerner is a freelance writer. To pass on a tip or news item, contact us at realestate@washpost.com and put “Town Square” in the subject line.