DC Government Chooses Two Restaurants to Occupy Minnesota Benning Government Center Retail Space

Cohn’s Hospitality and Management Academy and Eclectic Café Will Lease Ground Floor

Andi Joseph
Director, Research & Communications
Washington, DC Economic Partnership

January 19, 2012

The Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP), in partnership with the District of Columbia government, is committed to attracting and retaining businesses from the retail and hospitality industries to all parts of DC.  As part of its efforts to further develop DC’s emerging neighborhoods where both low amenities and high unemployment exist, the District of Columbia government issued a Request for Offers (RFO) on September 6, 2011 for interested retailers to lease the ground floor retail space of the city-controlled Minnesota Benning Government Center, a 5-story, 232,000 sq. ft. building located in Ward 7.

“The WDCEP’s connections, resources, and access to the retail industry were critical to the marketing process for this space,” says Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Victor Hoskins.  “They are key partners in our efforts to market DC as a place where business thrives.”

The WDCEP conducted a site tour with 30 restaurateurs in September of 2011 to showcase the space along with the new investments currently underway in the neighborhood. Information sharing and accessibility to economic development and business opportunities is a major focus of the WDCEP, and the local nonprofit focused its resources and efforts on marketing the retail space to the public and interested parties through its online Retail Site Search, e-newsletter, and neighborhood site tours.  The two retailers chosen to occupy the space, Cohn’s Hospitality and Management Academy and Eclectic Café, will be able to lease the District-controlled property at extremely low rates in exchange for creating benefit for the community and generating employment opportunities for DC residents.

Cohn’s Hospitality and Management Academy features a unique concept of a café and job training institute. Through a partnership with the DC Department of Employment Services, the Academy will hire DC youth and offer them training opportunities in culinary skills, kitchen management, purchasing, marketing, and accounting.   It will occupy 3,000 sq. ft. of the Minnesota Benning Government Center’s ground floor retail space. The company was founded by Paul G. Cohn, whose parent company Capital Restaurant Concepts also operates well-known DC restaurants J. Paul’s and Georgia Brown’s.

Former owners of East River Bagel will lease 1,500 sq. ft. of the building’s retail space to open a new restaurant concept, Eclectic Café, planned to open in 2012.

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It is the mission of the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to promote business opportunities throughout the District of Columbia and to contribute to business retention and attraction activities

Posted Under: Press Releases