By Kevin James Shay
Takoma Central, a 150-unit apartment community with retailers that include a new Busboys and Poets coffeehouse and bookstore, should open by late fall in Washington, D.C., just over the Takoma Park border, officials say.
The development on Carroll Street near the Takoma Metro station was originally slated to open in the spring. It is expected to provide a boost to the nearby Old Takoma commercial district with more residents available to shop and dine at the businesses in Takoma Park, said Laura Barclay, executive director of the Old Takoma Business Association.
“We’re working with The Bozzuto Group” — the company leasing the units — “to provide maps of the area for residents,” Barclay said.
The Busboys and Poets will be about 7,000 square feet, but won’t have a farmers market as hoped, owner Anas “Andy” Shallal said. “But we will have a bookstore and a community-shared work space,” he said.
The first Busboys opened in 2005 in Washington, D.C.. The Takoma Central one will be the fifth store. There are two in Washington, one in Hyattsville and another in Northern Virginia.
The establishments feature community activities, such as open-microphone poetry readings, book signings by authors and musical acts.
The apartment building will provide a pedestrian path leading to the Takoma Metro station. There will be a fitness center, a business center, an outdoor terrace, a community room, bike storage and a courtyard with a firepit.
Units will have many environmentally friendly features, such as water-saving plumbing fixtures and building materials with a minimum of 20 percent recycled content.
The Old Takoma section has seen a wave of recent openings, including MAD Fitness exercise studio at 7302 Carroll Ave. and restaurants Republic at 6939 Laurel Ave. and Evolve Vegan Restaurant at 341 Cedar St. NW.
Spring Mill Bakery is expected to open on Carroll Avenue this fall, while Vegaritos is slated to open on 4th Street NW in the fall.
Being Metro accessible, environmentally friendly and having a community loyal to supporting locally-owned independent businesses are key factors for the business growth, Barclay said.
Other parts of Takoma Park are seeing new businesses sprout up. McDoris Fashion and Fabric recently opened at 7635 New Hampshire Ave. near University Boulevard. Owner Doris Agbasi relocated her clothing and fabric store from Washington, D.C., to be closer to other businesses in the area that cater to a large African customer base.
Julie’s Hair Salon 2 also recently opened at 7489 New Hampshire Ave. by hair stylist Julie Marcial, who returned to the area following the sale of a well-established salon in Hampshire-Langley Center last year.
“We don’t get much turnover here, so openings are very special,” said Melanie Isis, executive director of the Takoma/Langley Crossroads Community Development Authority.
The nonprofit business association, which formed in 1987, recently obtained approval from the City Council to extend its boundaries to include a section of University Boulevard East, between Anne Street and Carroll Avenue, to represent those businesses that are in the city’s sector plan.