The Yards to Deliver 5,000 Free Meals Prepared by Bluejacket with Optimus Ride Autonomous Vehicles to DC Families In Need

Washington, D.C.
May 28, 2020

The Yards and Optimus Ride Launch Food Delivery Service by Delivering “One Week” Meal Boxes Containing 3 Meals Per Day at 2,000 Calories

The Yards, DC’s premier waterfront development, and Optimus Ride, a leading self-driving technology systems company, today announced the launch of a fleet of three autonomous vehicles that will be used to deliver food directly – and contact-free – to families in Southeast DC who are struggling with food insecurity and access to food amid COVID-19.

Developed by Neighborhood Restaurant Group and the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, the “One-Week Boxes” consist of enough nutritious, prepared foods and raw ingredients to support a full week’s worth of meals for an individual that sustains a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Each week, The Yards and Optimus Ride will be delivering meals prepared at Bluejacket to families identified by Pathways to Housing DC, an organization aimed at ending homelessness and supporting recovery for people with complex health challenges, as well as families in need at Van Ness Elementary School, a neighbor of The Yards.

“We are excited to introduce Optimus Ride to The Yards, where we will be able to use their technology to support our neighboring communities that are struggling to safely secure healthy food for their families during this time,” said Greg Meyer, Executive Vice President for Brookfield Properties, developer of The Yards. “We look forward to growing the Optimus Ride system to support the residents, tenants and neighbors of The Yards.”

"Optimus Ride is highly motivated to be deploying our second self-driving system with Brookfield Properties in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area,” said Ryan Chin, CEO of Optimus Ride. “We have the opportunity with this partnership to provide essential logistics such as delivery of prepared foods, groceries, and packages during and after the pandemic to Brookfield’s tenants and other local businesses. This new market vertical of logistics augments our people-moving system capabilities that we have built over the last five years as the leader in geofenced self-driving technology markets.”

Optimus Ride’s system at The Yards is their second initiative with Brookfield Properties in the greater Washington, DC area. In summer 2019, Optimus Ride deployed its self-driving system at Halley Rise, Brookfield Properties’s 3.5 million square feet mixed-use development in Reston, Virginia. To date, Optimus Ride has given over 41,000 rides at Halley Rise.

For The Yards, Optimus Ride has designed, built, and started the operation of a self-driving system that has capabilities for both logistics and passenger mobility. The current system is supervised by trained staff and engineers while the vehicles learn the different routes around The Yards. The operation will begin by providing essential logistics services for transporting prepared foods and groceries - initially for nonprofit meals and eventually for commercial food delivery services for the tenants at The Yards - and transition to people-moving as COVID-19 subsides. Through their system, Optimus Ride is integrating a new logistics vertical critical for restaurants, retailers and other businesses in order to safely serve their community during and after the pandemic.

“We’re thankful to be able to provide much-needed, nutritious meals to our neighbors in Southeast DC,” said Michael Babin, Principal at Neighborhood Restaurant Group. “Everyone has been hit in different ways by this pandemic, and worrying about putting food on the table during this time should not be one of them.”

Today, the program launches its delivery of the One-Week Box which, from the guidance of Neighborhood Restaurant Group and the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, includes a week’s worth of groceries that promotes a healthy diet and strong immune system with meals that average 2,000 calories per day. Each box will contain a mix of products requiring preparation, such as fresh produce, proteins and grains, as well as products that are ready to eat, like homemade chicken soup. The boxes will be distributed to the identified families on a weekly basis, serving a total of 5,000 meals.

"For our Pathways' clients living in supportive housing and on such limited financial resources, the partnership with Brookfield Properties and local restaurants is a lifeline for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Christy Respress, Executive Director Pathways to Housing DC. “It's so much more than food being delivered, it's about being seen and knowing that you are not alone or forgotten."

“As we started distance learning, it quickly became clear that before we could engage our students academically, it was important for them to have their most basic needs met, and many families let us know they needed support with food and groceries,” said Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, Head of School at Van Ness Elementary. “While we have been able to provide gift cards for grocery stores, there are some families with many young children or underlying health conditions for whom a trip to the grocery store is not easy. This makes the food kit donations from Brookfield Properties and Bluejacket especially helpful to us and our school community. Our most vulnerable families are able to receive nutritious food they can prepare at home. We are deeply grateful for this generous donation.”

More information on Optimus Ride’s system can be found at optimusride.com. For more information on The Yards, visit theyardsdc.com.

ABOUT THE YARDS

The Yards is a development of Brookfield Properties which, at full buildout, will feature up to 3,400 places to live, 400,000 SF of retail, dining & services, a flagship 225 room Thompson hotel, 1.8 million SF of office space and an award-winning waterfront park spread across approximately 25 buildings situated on 48 waterfront acres in the Navy Yard district. The neighborhood blends the historic feel of former Navy Yard industrial buildings given new lives through adaptive reuse, with sleek all-new construction components. Additional info can be found online at TheYardsDC.com.

ABOUT BROOKFIELD PROPERTIES

Brookfield Properties is a fully-integrated, global real estate services company that provides industry-leading portfolio management and development capabilities across the real estate investment strategies of Brookfield Asset Management — a global alternative asset manager with over $540 billion in assets under management.

Brookfield Properties develops and manages premier real estate with a focus on maximizing the tenant experience in addition to the investment and operational performance of the asset. We also focus on integrating leading-edge real estate technologies which enables us to be at the forefront of innovation and sustainability – benefiting not only our tenants, residents and business partners, but also the communities in which we operate.

For more information about our approach to operating and developing best-in-class real estate, please visit www.brookfieldproperties.com.

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