Overview of Middle Section of Union Market
For the purposes of this post, the middle section is defined as the area and buildings starting on the northern side of Florida Avenue, NE at 4th Street, going over to 5th Street, and then running up in between both streets until Penn Street (including Morse Street and Neal Place). You can view our interactive map here (note: this is not perfectly drawn to scale and does not perfectly reflect lot lines, etc). The properties are colored by owner; the color purple indicates that the property is not owned by one of the large development companies.
***Update: after this post went live, the Washington Business Journal reported that Edens used a series of hidden LLCs to purchase much of the property on the western side of 5th Street in between Morse Street and Neal Place. This would seem to indicate that Edens has plans to purchase all of this property for a future development. The post has been updated below to reflect Edens’s ownership of these parcels.**
The middle section of Union Market is the area least likely to see significant change in the coming years, with three exceptions. Unlike the areas to the east and west, most of the middle section does not have large parcels of land owned by major developers. Instead, much of the middle section is owned by a variety of independent owners and the buildings are broken up into smaller shops. This diverse ownership makes it difficult for anyone to consolidate ownership and make major changes quickly.
The first exception is the western side of 5th Street in between Morse Street and Neal Place where Edens has purchased several individual parcels over the past couple of months. Edens has yet to purchase several of the properties in this block, but the company appears to be aggressively buying the properties in an attempt to consolidate ownership of the entire block for a potential future development.
The second exception is the land along Florida Avenue in between 4th and 5th streets because Edens owns all of the block except for one parcel.
The final exception is the Choi family which owns many pieces of land in the middle part of the Union Market area. In the mid-2000s, Sang Oh Choi developed a plan with several members of the DC City Council where his company would consolidate ownership of Union Market and redevelop it. The plan was very controversial as many of the landowners feared they would be pushed out, and it ultimately fell apart. However, the Choi family continues to own land in the area and could be a major player in the years ahead (Sang Oh Choi worked with Edens on the Gateway Market project).
Instead of seeing change that is driven by large developers, the middle section is more likely to see slow change as independent owners begin to renovate and freshen up their buildings as the rest of the area redevelops. It is also possible that the large developers could buy a bunch of the small properties (as Edens is actively doing), but this strategy would take time as there are so many owners.
Starting on Florida Avenue in between 4th and 5th streets (view interactive map here):
Florida Avenue Between 4th and 5th Streets
- Corner of 4th Street (red on map): Edens owns from the corner of 4th Street up until 416 4th Street. The plans for this land are unknown.
- 416 Florida Avenue (purple on map): this land is currently occupied by Yum’s Carryout. Edens has attempted to purchase this land from Yum’s in the past but has been unsuccessful. However, this parcel represents the only land on the block that Edens does not own.
- 418 Florida Avenue (red on map): Edens owns this parcel. Plans unknown.
Turn left down 5th Street and then turn down Morse Street (view interactive map here):
Morse Street in Between 4th and 5th Streets
- 416 Morse Street (red on map): this property is owned by 416 Morse Street NE LLC, which Washington Business Journal reports is an LLC that is likely owned by Edens.
- The properties to the south are owned by a mix of independent owners and the Choi family. The corner unit on 5th Street is independently owned, followed by 419 that is owned by the Choi family, followed by 417 that is owned by another independent owner, followed by 413-415 Morse Street that are owned by the Choi family, and then the rest of the block is owned by independent owners.
Walk down Morse Street and turn right on 4th Street, heading north (view interactive map here): Continue reading