WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Anacostia is changing, but not everyone is convinced that it’s for the better.
The latest sign of the times is a Starbucks eyeing a new development in the area, thanks to efforts from Muriel Bowser’s office.
It would be the first of the franchise east of the river.
The future site is Maple View Flats: a 50 million dollar low-income housing complex with retail space at street level.
Cameron Robinson thinks it’s a sign of progress for the community.
“It just gives the neighborhood hope. I feel like it’ll be something different," she said.
India Wilkins, who works down the street, also thinks the chain would be a positive addition.
“I drink Starbucks specifically every day. So I mean it helps me stay awake. I think it’ll be very beneficial," said Wilkins.
Ronetta McGee, a manager at Turning Leaf Juice Bar, said she too welcomes the news.
Local chain Busboys and Poets restaurant is also coming in down the street.
‘We’re welcoming Starbucks to the area. They sell coffee, we sell smoothies. It’s a great opportunity for young people to have a job," said Mcgee.
Aside from caffeine, not everyone is convinced the coffee shop has much to offer.
Wards 7 and 8 have the highest unemployment and poverty rates in the district. It also has a meager offering of grocery stores, with just three to serve more than 150 thousand people.
Vaugn Bradley-Willemann, who also works in the neighborhood, said she’d rather see local businesses moving in.
“What need is that addressing here? Healthy options is a need. Businesses run by people of color is a need. Is the general manager going to be a person of color? Is that franchise spot going to be a person of color? Probably not," said Bradley-Willemann.
It’s not a done deal, Starbucks hasn’t signed any leases. But construction on the Maple View Flats project is expected to be complete around this time next year.
Starbucks released the following statement on Tuesday:
"Should the lease go through, the store would be part of a national initiative Starbucks announced in 2015 to support local economic development by opening stores in at least 15 underserved communities across the U.S. by 2018.
Each of these locations is dedicated to supporting economic development by:
1. creating local jobs with meaningful benefits for part-time and full time employees like the healthcare, equity in the form of stock, and the opportunity to get a Bachelor’s degree through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan
2. partnering with local women and minority owned vendors to supply a food product to the store and a local minority owned general contractors to build the store.
3. partnering with local nonprofits to provide an in-store job skills training program to local youth"
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