Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest donaltopablo

SW DC Redevelopment

35 posts in this topic

D.C. ready to dive into SW waterfront redevelopment

Sean Madigan

Staff Reporter

Southwest D.C. has been entirely redeveloped once, and by all accounts it was a colossal failure. Urban renewal plowed through its neighborhoods in the 1950s and '60s, pushed all the people out and then paved almost everything.

Some 40 years later, city planning officials are calling for another redo in Southwest -- as well as for the entire area along the Anacostia River as it flows through the District.

But this time around, planners are working toward a more sensitive approach: Asking people who live there what they would like to see built before the bulldozers show up. City planning officials worked with other government entities and community groups during the process.

After two years of planning, anyone with an opinion has been given a chance for the floor. To no one's surprise, not everyone is in agreement.

However, on Oct. 7, the D.C. Council approved a plan for transforming more than 2.3 million square feet along the Washington Channel -- where the handful of waterfront businesses have had mixed success over the years -- into a more vibrant neighborhood and entertainment destination.

Despite some existing high-rise apartments and condos, the density along the 45-acre stretch is generally pretty low, so there's room for much more. The new plan is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate development.

Shoring up economic development

On Sept. 23, the D.C. Council held its first hearing on Mayor Tony Williams' proposal for the long-term redevelopment of the Southwest waterfront.

Eric Price, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, was the first of more than 80 people scheduled to testify in favor of or against the plan.

In a brief statement, Price called Southwest revitalization a "key development of the mayor's vision to revitalize the shores of the Anacostia."

Now, with the council's ap-proval of the plan, Price's office will start preparing re-quests for proposals.

Also speaking in favor of the plan was Bill Alsup, who is current president of the District of Columbia Building Industry Association and heads the Washington operations of the Houston-based Hines real estate development company (www.hines.com).

The plan calls for:

Between 770 and 825 new housing units, 20 percent of them "affordable" and available for residents with below-average household incomes;

More than 300,000 square feet of restaurants, retail and small offices;

More than 215,000 square feet of hotel space, about 400 to 450 rooms;

About 200,000 square feet of civic space including museums, churches, green spaces and parks;

About 2,000 street-level and below-grade parking spots.

Floating some dollar figures

Economic development officials estimate the plan will create 3,000 construction jobs and 1,500 full-time jobs.

They also say that redevelopment will contribute about $9 million in annual revenue to the city's tax rolls and that construction taxes -- sales and income taxes associated with the materials and work crews -- will result in a one-time $2 million windfall.

The city anticipates the plan will require about $25 million in public money for park, utilities and infrastructure improvements. But the public investment, they estimate, will generate a $275 million to $375 million in private investment.

It's still not quite clear how the plan would be executed.

The National Capital Revitalization Corp. (www.ncrcdc.com), a quasi-government economic development organization, owns the land along the channel but controls only two of the six long-term leases for the development sites.

As the plan progresses, the NCRC will have to gain control of the other sites either through purchases or partnerships.

The NCRC also has to decide how it will manage the development program. The plan offers two scenarios.

Under one option, the NCRC would coordinate the project in-house, make investments for overhead itself and hire a development manager.

The other option is for the NCRC to establish a subsidiary development operation, the Southwest Waterfront Development Corp., to manage the project. The subsidiary would still be accountable to NCRC's board, but the corporation would hire its own president and NCRC's leaseholds would be transferred to its custody.

Treading lightly

Even though construction and real estate businesses see the redevelopment plan as a winner, some of the nearby residents disagree.

"It's just too big for the site," says Andy Litsky, an advisory neighborhood commissioner.

Ahmed Assalaam, the chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D, says the current plan "falls far, far short of meeting community needs."

The buildings will be too tall, the density level is too high and some of the planned infrastructure changes, namely the proposed closure of Water Street, will bring more traffic and create congestion, he says.

But Bob Peck, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade (ww.bot.org), says the project will make sure that D.C., the region's center, is a vibrant place.

Residents' concerns about density are quite legitimate, Peck says, but he adds that people in Bethesda and near Ballston had similar worries about density in high-rise mixed use projects that ultimately became quite successful for everyone.

"If we want a bustling waterfront, to finance the project there needs to be some density there," Peck says.

D.C. Council Chairman Linda Cropp, although sympathetic to density fears, is more blunt than Peck on the need for density.

"Folks, we've gotta find ways to get more people to move into the city," she says, "or your taxes are going to go up."

Andy Altman, the city's planning director, says he wasn't surprised at the complaints raised during the council hearing.

"It's nothing we didn't expect," he says.

The council isn't through with the plan. The area needs rezoning, and the council will have to approve the closure of Water Street.

"Obviously there is some division in the house, so we have to tread lightly," says Carol Schwartz, R-at large.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Nice thread...I'm hoping that SW gets a go at the DC revival. I went to undergraduate school in DC and revisit friends there often. We've made an interesting observation...the City may be losing population but we attribute this to the movement of families out of the City while the singles (or couple w/o children...gay, straight...) is rapidly rising. In essence, the population is shrinking but the City is becoming more vibrant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that gets me about these articles, is it almost seems like people automatically throw up their arms during any new development or redevelopment and claim it's too dense. I find this funny, since this is within the city, and DC is already pretty dense to begin with. Plus, with ample options for getting around, I would think this is a good thing.

Maybe the people will come around, DC could use some help in the city. They already have a good bit of redevelopment going on in some of the row houses in the city, but if the city of DC itself wants to make a come back, it's going to require developments like this to change neighborhoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Everyone!

I noticed no one has posted to the site in recent months. I live in Southwest DC and am looking forward to something happening to the Waterside Mall site. I will soon take some pictures of both Southwest and the near Southeast site where the new ball stadium will be built. Look forward to talking to everyone soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Attached are some new photos from SW and near SE Washington, DC. Many new developments going up near new stadium site.

Waterside Mall SW DC slated for redevelopment into office space and residences.

000_0248.jpg

New Headquarters for the Department of Transportation, near SE DC.

000_0244.jpg

New Headquarters of the Department of Transportation.

000_0243.jpg

New Office Building for Gov't Contractors.

000_0242.jpg

Cooperative/Condominium project.

000_0241.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's good to see that things are finally happening on the waterfront. So many unfortunate mistakes were made in the 50's and 60's.....so much work to be done. In any event, this has to be a step in the right direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's good to see that things are finally happening on the waterfront. So many unfortunate mistakes were made in the 50's and 60's.....so much work to be done. In any event, this has to be a step in the right direction.

The only problem is that most of the development is on the SE side of South Capitol St. So far nothing appears to happening in SW proper. I don't quite understand why it is taking so long for development to start at the Waterside mall property. I live in SW and everything is nearby, the national mall, Downtown, Capital Hill. I wonder why redevelopment has sort of leap frogged over SW and has taken root in near SE where the new stadium will be built. I will post some pictures of the clubs on Water St. SW and I would love to spark a discussion on what should be done to this prime waterfront property. I would love to see infill development similar to a town center fashioned after Annapolis, MD or Alexandria. It just seems to me that these clubs are walls that block people from congregating on the waterfront.

Well hopefully whatever development comes to SW will not be a repeat of the massive redevelopment schemes of the 50's and 60's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I was just looking over this thread. Those are some great looking developments. I like how the cooperative condo building blends the old with the new. Looks great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just looking over this thread. Those are some great looking developments. I like how the cooperative condo building blends the old with the new. Looks great.

The near southeast side of South Capitol St. is experiencing alot of development spurred by the relocation of the Department of Transportation Headquarters building and the relocation of the Naval Sea Systems Command from Crystal City, Va. to the Navy Yard. The redevelopment will really take off once construction starts on the new Stadium for the Washington Nationals. Hopefully some of this new development will start to migrate north and west and start reshaping M St. SW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a great find from the Journal on redeveloping the old Waterside Mall site. Sounds like a huge project as well.

New revitalization deal set for old Waterside Mall site

Almost exactly a year after Fannie Mae pulled the plug on its ambitious plans to move its headquarters to Waterside Mall, the owners of the Southwest D.C. office complex said Friday they've reached a new deal with a city-sponsored agency to revive the $500 million to $700 million project.

Given all the moving pieces, Smith says he is hesitant to estimate when construction might start, but says the project will include about 800,000 square feet of housing, at least 75,000 square feet of retail and more than 1.6 million square feet of office space.

article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update guynvb. I went out today and took some more pictures of my SW neighborhood.

Waterside Mall

DSCF0059.jpg

Metro entrance Waterside Mall

DSCF0060.jpg

M St. SW

DSCF0061.jpg

Potomac Place Condominiums

DSCF0062.jpg

New Office Building

DSCF0063.jpg

DSCF0064.jpg

Patriots Plaza

DSCF0065.jpg

New Office Building.

DSCF0066.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the pics, Skylinefan. So is this the site they are going to redevelop and if so is the mall still open?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Safeway and a couple of other stores are still open. It's a bleak area, so I hope they can do something positive with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Safeway and a couple of other stores are still open. It's a bleak area, so I hope they can do something positive with it.

Yes Waterside Mall is the site they are talking about revitalizing. Currently, there is a Safeway, Bank of America, CVS and a dry cleaners open in the mall. The area needs some redevelopment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I happen to catch Adrian Fenty the new mayor of DC on NBC channel 4 this morning and at the end of the interview he said that the plans for the SW Waterfront are coming together to make it a world class destination. As a resident of the SW Waterfront I am delighted that the new mayor is so enthusiastic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forest City Ratner is the devil.

http://dddb.net/php/aboutratner.php

This organization built MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn - a secure enclave of dead city office buildings and disaster relief centers for Wall St businesses - in the heart of vibrant Fulton St.

They're razing a beautiful, historic community to inject a stadium in central Brooklyn - on a scale that will destroy the lovely 19th/early 20th century villages of Clinton Hill, Ft Greene, and Prospect Heights.

And now they're here, in my own town. I'm pissed. Waterfront Mall needs something, I admit this. I do not trust these for-profit real-estate tycoons to fulfill Waterfront's needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forest City Ratner is the devil.

http://dddb.net/php/aboutratner.php

This organization built MetroTech in downtown Brooklyn - a secure enclave of dead city office buildings and disaster relief centers for Wall St businesses - in the heart of vibrant Fulton St.

They're razing a beautiful, historic community to inject a stadium in central Brooklyn - on a scale that will destroy the lovely 19th/early 20th century villages of Clinton Hill, Ft Greene, and Prospect Heights.

And now they're here, in my own town. I'm pissed. Waterfront Mall needs something, I admit this. I do not trust these for-profit real-estate tycoons to fulfill Waterfront's needs.

Thanks for the information rogue monchichi as a Southwest DC Waterfront resident I need to get more involved with the Waterside Mall community forums. I hope Forest City does not make a monstrosity out of the Waterside property. I am afraid though from the plans that I have seen the Forest City Waterfront development will be a wall of condominiums and office buildings which will not really remake Southwest into a more vibrant community.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arena Stage temporarily moving to Crystal City in less in three months. Arena stage in sW will be renovated and re-opened in three years.

Arena Stage Currently:

Arena_Stage.jpg

Rendering of Arena stage after renovation

PH2007100302605.jpg

Article

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...d=moreheadlines

I saw that rendering in another forum, tied to a new theater project in NYC, but i guess they can both look the same, not very original, but still looks amazing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly not original, but as yoiu say, a marked improvement over what is there right now. This could be a catalyst for further development in the area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's great to see that this project is moving ahead. I've been waiting for the D.C. waterfront to come alive. Maybe it's finally going to happen after all these years. Keep us posted on developments!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why did the Department of Transportation move to one of the red/white/green-coloured buildings? If so, what would the old Department of Transportation building be used for?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.