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MRP Partnership Inks Deal For Buzzard Point Development Sites That Could Add Over 2,000 Units

The intersection of Half Street and S Street SW, where MRP and FRP are planning to advance their Buzzard Point development next.

Three developers are joining forces in Buzzard Point under an agreement that could generate more than 2,000 new housing units.

MRP Realty and FRP Holdings have negotiated the rights to develop several parcels of land owned by Steuart Investment Co. in a deal that would see the latter take ownership stakes in existing properties developed by the MRP and FRP joint venture.

“This is a unique opportunity to expand upon our existing footprint in one of the best markets in the world,” FRP Holdings Chairman and CEO John Baker said in a press release. “When the dust settles on these projects, this partnership will control nearly every asset visible to the naked eye as you drive into our nation’s Capital from the south. It has the potential to be something really special.”

Buzzard Point has been a magnet for new development this year, with a team of developers securing construction financing for a 2M SF mixed-use campus in April and Hoffman & Associates landing a 38K SF entertainment tenant for its Audi Field-adjacent property just last week.

The agreement announced today would fill in gaps between these projects, adding up to 10 buildings connecting Nationals Park to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and Audi Field.

The joint venture of MRP and FRP has already developed three properties in the Capitol Riverfront area: Dock 79, Maren and The Verge. Including those existing projects, which total around 900 units, the team said its full plan could add up to 3,000 units and 150K SF of retail, totaling 3M SF of development.

The Verge, which broke ground in 2020 at 1800 Half St. SW, began lease-up within the past two months. Dock 79 and Maren, which sit across from Nationals Park and include retailers Dacha Beer Garden, The Salt Line and All Purpose Pizzeria, have completed lease-up. 

Under the terms of the deal, Steuart is acquiring a 20% stake in Dock 79 and The Maren for $65.3M, and it has the right to acquire a 10% to 20% stake in The Verge.

The deal also includes other development sites controlled by FRP and MRP in which Steuart has the option to acquire stakes: Phases 3 and 4 of the Riverfront on the Anacostia development directly southwest of Maren and Parcel 664E directly east of The Verge.

Steuart controls four parcels of land in Buzzard Point on which MRP and FRP can now begin pre-development work under the terms of the agreement. The joint venture partners plan to acquire those parcels from Steuart once they are prepared to move forward with development on the sites, MRP principal John Begert told Bisnow.

"It's a generational opportunity for our company and what we can do for the city and those neighborhoods," Begert said.

The developers first move following the agreement is to tee up development on a Steuart-owned parcel at the intersection of Half and S streets SW. That parcel, which currently hosts a concrete plant, would be MRP and FRP's fourth multifamily property in the neighborhood. 

Begert said he hopes to move forward with construction on that parcel in the back half of 2023, but acknowledged that construction financing is "literally impossible" right now because of rising interest rates. 

Still, he said having an agreement in place and all partners involved on the same page regarding development gives them a head start in bringing a major new destination for the riverfront to fruition.

"Luckily, this is literally a 15- or- 20-year play," Begert said. "We feel really really good about this move."