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Cafritz Adds Retail, Shifts Plans For Huge Second Phase Of Fort Totten Development

The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation has landed two new retailers for its major Fort Totten mixed-use project, and the shape of its second phase is changing.

A rendering of Phase 2 of the Art Place at Fort Totten development.

The development team announced last week it signed OneLife Fitness for 40K SF and Phenix Salon Suites for 10K SF at its Art Place at Fort Totten development.

The deal represents the first location in the District for OneLife Fitness, which has 16 locations in Maryland and Virginia. The Phenix Salon Suites concept will include a series of salons operated by separate small businesses.

The two retailers signed on for the existing Phase 1 buildings, which delivered in 2017 with 520 units, and they are expected to open by early next year. Cafritz Foundation's Jane Cafritz told Bisnow she sees these retailers as adding significant value for residents. 

"The Phenix Salon Suites is going to be fantastic," Cafritz said. "It's a unique concept that's going to have beauty and wellness professionals able to own and operate their own businesses ... These budding beauty professionals in the Northeast community are going to be able to establish themselves as entrepreneurs."

While the developer added new users to the first phase, it lost one of its major anchors for Phase 2. 

Meow Wolf, an immersive art installation that had planned to open its fourth location at the development, is no longer part of the project, neighborhood blog Next Stop Riggs first reported.

Cafritz confirmed that the development team is no longer pursuing its original plans with Meow Wolf, but she said they are going to keep the option open to work together in the future. She also said the team is in talks with several other options to replace Meow Wolf at the project.

The team is also planning to build a live performance venue in the second phase, Cafritz said. It hasn't yet finalized a deal with an operator, but Cafritz said it is envisioned as a sizable venue that will host live music, community theater productions and other types of performances. 

"There's sort of a niche space that's not occupied between the 9:30 Club and The Wharf, and this is going to be a performance space that's geared toward that middle space, and we think it's going to be hugely popular," Cafritz said. "I think that community could use that size performance venue."

The Modern at Art Place apartments in Fort Totten

The second phase hasn't yet begun construction, but Cafritz said the team aims to deliver its 250 multifamily units, including 30 live-work units for artists, by 2024.

The foundation also has plans to build a 25K SF Aldi grocery store, a 25K SF Explore! children's museum, a food hall and additional retail in Phase 2. Cafritz said the food hall, like the salon studio, will help foster local small-business entrepreneurs. 

"The food hall is fantastic because it gives budding chefs the opportunity to be entrepreneurs," Cafritz said. "That's the beauty of food halls. They can come in and try their ideas at a station. It's a great way to introduce them to the community."

While much of the Phase 1 retail has been convenience-oriented uses for the neighborhood, Cafritz said she hopes Phase 2 will help draw people from around the city to visit Fort Totten.

"We want it to be a destination, and we are working very hard to reach that goal," Cafritz said. "I am convinced we will be what we've always wanted to be, which is the impetus for the revitalization of this fantastic community."