Benning Market will have a 7,000-square-foot food hall. (Courtesy of Neighborhood Development Company)
Benning Market will have a 7,000-square-foot food hall. (Courtesy of Neighborhood Development Company)

Ward 7 residents have long complained about the lack of fresh food options available to them, but city, business and neighborhood leaders hope the soon-to-be-built Benning Market in the River Terrace neighborhood will offer some relief.

On Dec. 10, District officials joined leaders of the Neighborhood Development Company and Market 7 — a community exchange that features District Black-owned businesses — in breaking ground on the construction of Benning Market, a multi-use development that will include a 7,000-square-foot food hall. Benning Market, anchored by Market 7, will house several food stall incubations as well as a community grocery store and office space and has been scheduled to open in late 2020.

Revere Bank and the Enterprise Community Loan Fund Inc. will serve as financiers of the estimated $6 million project and the Asturian Construction Group will build the structure.

Adrian Washington, founder and CEO of the Neighborhood Development Company, expressed excitement about Benning Market.

“We are here to celebrate the groundbreaking of a great exciting project,” Washington said. “This will be a great project for the River Terrace and Ward 7 communities. Benning Market will have locally owned businesses and help bring economic development to the area.”

Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) said Benning Market will be a welcome addition to the ward. The council member said Benning Market will be part of an emerging River Terrace neighborhood.

“Our streetcar will go past here,” Gray said, pointing to Benning Road NE. “We could have a stop here. There are plans for the modernization of the East River Park shopping center and there is money in the budget to re-do the Whitlock Bridge.”

John Falcicchio, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s chief of staff and the interim deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said two key District programs, the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund and Great Streets, supported Benning Market as a concept and a soon-to-be reality.

“This project has been years and years in the making,” Falcicchio said. “This place will offer food options for residents for years to come.”

Mary Blackford, founder of Market 7, said Benning Market “is more than just retail.”

“Market 7 is a real, multi-generational, community-based approach to sustaining in Ward 7,” she said. “The new Market 7 at Benning Market will be an exciting expansion of the work we are already doing to bring abundance, vitality, and total wellness to our community by creating a space where our local ecosystem and small businesses can thrive.”

Cinque E. Culver, an advisory neighborhood commissioner for single-member district 7D04 based in River Terrace, said Benning Market could help stimulate his area economy.

“River Terrace residents won’t have to go somewhere else to sit down and get a cup of coffee,” Culver said. “Benning Market could act as a catalyst to see more small businesses come over here.”

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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