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Designing a Place Where All Feel Welcomed

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As Published in Capitol File
| March 2019

Jodie McLean has a lot on her plate— you would too if managing a real estate portfolio of over 120 developments valued at $6.5 billion (as of this writing). We’re meeting to discuss the launch of La Cosecha, her massive new high-design market in the Union Market District that she describes as “a contemporary expression of Latin culture through food, art, music, fashion, film, sport, travel and dance.”

McLean’s company EDENS was a vanguard in converting the dated warehouses of the historic former Centre Market into Union Market—the most urban-cool retail and dining destination in Washington. As someone who lives within walking distance of the place, I can attest to what a game changer it’s been for the H Street NE area as well as the city. So, why add La Cosecha?

La Cosecha Social Post
La Cosecha Social Post

“There is so much incredible, creative talent within the Latin American community that inspired us,” McLean says, adding that “we wanted to create a place where all felt welcome to engage, share and learn about the beautiful, rich cultures of Latin America in a meaningful and sophisticated way.” This she achieved after seeking partnerships with Latin American embassies, cultural tastemakers and strategic stakeholders from the local Latin American community. “We have an incredible lineup of culinary and retail partners,” she says with pride. Juan Manuel Barrientos’ ElCielo, Nova Bossa, Amparo, Ali Pacha, White Envelope Arepa + Ceviche Bar, Grand Cata and Peruvian Brothers—to name a few. Also, she notes, there will be opportunities for the larger community including “art exhibits, film screenings, sports viewings, cooking demonstrations, dance parties, live performances, immersive tourism, a media lab and outdoor activations throughout the year.”

Merging purpose in life with purpose at work is the key to her success, says McLean. “Our work is bigger than real estate; we are in the business of humanity.” Thanks to McLean, humanity in Washington is about to get a sophisticated injection of Latin culture.

Jodie McLean is CEO of EDENS, one of the nation’s leading private owners, operators and developers of retail real estate, including the Union Market District and soon-to-open La Cosecha Latin Market.