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What's Next For NoMa?

Washington, D.C.

NoMa has spent the last decade transforming from vacant lots to millions of SF of office, residential and retail. Developers say the neighborhood’s next phase will be the arrival of edgy, unique retailers and restaurants over the next three years modeled after New York’s meat-packing district. We snapped ULI-Washington executive director Lisa Rother, EDENS managing director Steve Boyle, NoMa BID president Robin-Eve Jasper, StonebridgeCarras principal Doug Firstenberg, and Georgetown urban planning professor Uwe Brandes at a recent 10th anniversary celebration of the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro station. 


Doug, whose company developed Constitution Square in NoMa, says when DOJ agreed to move to the neighborhood in 2008, he guaranteed the agency 7k SF of new retail in addition to the 50k SF Harris Teeter under construction at the time. Now there’s three times that much retail. The next wave will be inspired by Union Market, a 66k SF indoor market that’s a five-minute walk from the Metro. The EDENS project has attracted 40 culinary entrepreneurs who’ve set up several small restaurants. EDENS has plans for more retail, restaurants, hotel, entertainment, and incubator space for food concepts surrounding Union Market. 


Steve says EDENS is trying to attract “innovative but authentic” retail that appeals to Millennials and Baby Boomers. Some of them will be successful online lifestyle-centric stores that want to establish new or expanding brick and mortar shops. In the last decade NoMa has added 3.8M SF of Class-A office space; 5,400 residents in over 3k apartments; three hotels with 622 rooms; and 183k SF of retail, according to a report commissioned by ULI Washington and the NoMa BID. It’s provided over $300M in direct fiscal impact to DC to date and projects $1B by 2019.