The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for Poplar Point, the mostly vacant site along the eastern banks of the Anacostia River in Ward 8. DC's purpose in issuing the RFEI is to "identify highly qualified developers who have the creative vision, demonstrated experience and organizational and financial capability and capacity to plan, construct and potentially operate a world-class mixed-use development and waterfront park."
Developers whose only experience includes conversions of 4-unit apartment buildings into condos need not apply - Poplar Point is expected to become a residential, commercial, cultural, and recreational development - 130 acres in all - with one mile of Waterfront, one of the key sites in the District’s $10 billion Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, with the potential for a soccer stadium, and sitting directly across from the new baseball stadium to boot.
Despite its location just across the river from the new stadium and a short drive to the Capitol Building, with views of the downtown skyline and monuments, Poplar Point is "an underutilized and isolated" collection of federal facilities, according to the District. The District’s vision for the redevelopment is embodied in the Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan and includes "high-quality development, an emphasis on urban waterfront life, a commitment to environmental stewardship and the preservation of community character that fully engages local residents, community groups and other stakeholders..." Interested suitors should have thick skin too, as if working with the aforementioned groups won't get contentious enough, neighbors have already protested the "upscale" nature of the project, contending that hotels, conference centers and stadiums will not provide services they need, or will be able to afford.
The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative eventually proposes new parks, trails, housing, retail, office space and cultural amenities over the next 20 years, connecting residents of nearby Barry Farm, Hillsdale, Fairlawn and Historic Anacostia to the river.
Responses to this RFEI are due by October 19, 2007 at 12 pm. The District expects to select a development partner before the end of the year.