Monday, December 04, 2006

$400 Million Waterside Mall Redevelopment Project Takes a Step Forward


After years of sadly languishing while waiting for the wheels of development and bureaucracy to turn, progress can now be reported on the $400 million plan to revitalize the aging Waterside Mall at 401 M Street SW, just blocks from the major Southwest waterfront development that will take place along the Washington Channel. The National Capitol Revitalization Corp. (NCRC) board has finally approved the transfer of most of this property (almost 586,000 sf) to Waterfront Associates, a joint venture between Bressler & Reiner (the original builders of Waterside Mall in the early 1960s), Kaempfer, and Forest City Enterprises. Waterfront Associates already owns the existing mall building and two office towers on the site (as well as development rights), but needed this transfer of the ground lease from the NCRC (the DC Council ok’d the NCRC transfer earlier this year). Waterfront Associates plans to develop 1.2 million sf of residential units and another 1.2 million sf of office space, plus 75,000 of retail (including renovation of the existing Safeway), and will do this by building new buildings and renovating the existing towers. The DC government has committed to lease 500,000 sf of this office space for 15 years, starting in 2009 (when the space is expected to be completed). In addition, the site will be opened up to allow 4th Street SW to go through the development so I and M Streets would be once again connected. However, for the height the joint venture wants to build, zoning commission approval is needed, which probably will not occur until mid-2007 (the land transfer will officially take place once zoning is approved). Construction will then begin.

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