(Marshall Moya Design)

Developers say they are aiming to spur transformation in Southeast Washington with a major residential and retail project proposed for historic Anacostia.

As part of their six-block Reunion Square project, Four Points Development and Curtis Investment Group propose to begin constructing a 71-unit apartment building at 2255 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE within months, with delivery estimated in a year. The project has already received approvals, and the developers are waiting for final permits before starting.

Once that project is completed, they would start building a 130-unit apartment complex down the street, between 2001 and 2027 MLK Jr. Avenue. The developers are going before the Historic Preservation Review Board next month to seek approvals for the 130-unit project. They hope to start construction in 18 to 24 months, Stan Voudrie, principal at Four Points, said in an interview.

In addition to building 126 apartment units and six townhouses, the developers would revamp the strip of retail on the ground level. Moreover, the Anacostia Playhouse theater will get a new home on the strip. Architecture firm Marshall Moya Design created the design.

The project is across the street from the site Andy Shallal selected for his newest location of Busboys and Poets, which is expected to open at some point in 2016.

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While the current commercial scene in that part of Anacostia is largely service-oriented, with a dentist office and insurance provider, for example, Voudrie said, the influx of new residents may support a diverse retail strip, with food-services and shops, at some point in the future.

“The 71-unit project will be one of the first major residential developments right in historic Anacostia,” Voudrie said. “With the addition of another 130 units, we’re really excited about what that could mean about being able to bring retail and some of the residential services that people are clamoring for in that part of the city.”

Reunion Square has been in the works for several years: After spending the past few years going through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) process with the city to create flexibility within the zoning requirements and having conversations with neighbors to determine the best use for the space, the partners delivered the first element of the project, an office building at 2235 Shannon Place SE in late 2014. The building has been dubbed the “Southeast Municipal Center” and houses offices for the mayor and the Ward 8 Council member, among other things.

Upon completion of the two residential buildings, the developers will reach the halfway point in their project. Reunion Square would eventually bring 500 residential units and 1.1 million square feet of commercial and office space to the area. In October, Voudrie said, the partners will file the papers for a second office building, with 275,000 square feet of space.

Curtis Investment Group has a long history in Anacostia. The Curtis family built the Big Chair, a neighborhood landmark at V Street and MLK Jr. Avenue, as an advertisement for their furniture company, founded in 1926.

Shilpi Malinowski is a freelance writer.