On a blighted, 4-acre site in Washington, D.C., where a strip mall and surface parking lot once stood, JBG Smith, in conjunction with Lowe Enterprises, constructed one of the first ground-up mixed-use projects to include residential housing above a Walmart store.

In addition, the project, Fort Totten Square, brought to the neighborhood a needed grocery store, other retail, and affordable workforce units, all within walking distance of a mass transportation hub. Rents are 30% to 50% lower per square foot than at residential units nearer to downtown.

As the first of two phases, the project, named for its nearby subway station, was designed to be a catalyst for the area’s development, to make the locale more pedestrian friendly and encourage retailers to locate there. One of the developer’s prime concerns was to have the new construction fit the neighborhood. The building Hickok Cole Architects designed has a contemporary verve, with an exterior of brick and metal panels and other materials.

Extensive on-site amenities include a clubroom, a fitness center with indoor–outdoor yoga studio, a two-tiered pool, two green courtyards with barbecue grills, fire pits, an outdoor TV, bicycle racks, and a bicycle maintenance room with equipment.

The entrance to the residential portion was located away from the Walmart entry for a quiet arrival and departure. The big retail store was also built to take advantage of a grade change with the parking garage belowground, to lessen its impact.

Sustainability was achieved through low-VOC paints and carpets, high-efficiency windows, a smoke-free environment, and an on-site bike-share program. Collaboration with the community led to a rapid lease-up.