Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DC Officially Awards SW Development Contract

Some day, there may be just be a reason to visit Southwest. Last week, Mayor Fenty awarded a contract to Hoffman-Struever Waterfront LLC, a partnership between PN Hoffman, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, McCormack Baron Salazar, ER Bacon, Acresh, Gotham, City Partners and Triden. The multiplex LLC now officially holds the contract to turn 23 acres of land along the Washington Channel, into a riverside paradise.

Back in September, 2006, Hoffman-Struever was officially selected as the master developer for the gargantuan project which allowed the team to establish an Exclusive Rights Agreement with the District. The Agreement was signed in April 2007. Now, the Land Disposition Agreement is being drafted - and although the contract has been awarded, the Mayor still needs to wait for the City Council to approve disposition to Hoffman-Struever and the nearly $200 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) financing. City officials hope to get the legislation approved by Spring of this year.

The enormous project is projected to create more than 2 million s.f. of new development and provide 2,800 permanent jobs in the community, as well as about 3,000 construction jobs, expected to take a long, long time. The District will finance about $200 million of the developmental costs, accounting for roughly 18% of the projected expense; no matter (some say), once completed, the "world-class urban waterfront" is projected to create more than $32 million in tax revenue each year, compared to the $6 million that the land currently brings in.

Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn was selected as the Master Architect back in June 2007. The details of their plan include 767 new housing units - both rental and condos - about 400,000 s.f. of office space, 280,000 s.f. of retail space, a 360-room hotel, 150,000 s.f. of cultural space, and the renovation of the historic southwest fish market. Developers aspire to achieve LEED Silver certification for all nine buildings. Along with all of the new buildings proposed for the area, the development team is including heaps of landscaped open space into the deal, preparing to cultivate more than 14 acres of parks, a half-mile promenade and bike trails for southwest's newest residents. The piers will also get their fair share of upgrades. The development team hopes to pick architects for the vertical phases of construction in the summer of 2008.

Hoffman-Struever's vision dissects the area into three separate "neighborhoods." The City Pier District, located in the northwest corner of the site, is proposed to be the retail center of the area, laying hold to most of the restaurants and the hotel, thereby being the most likely place to attract visitors (and tourists). Notable mini-developments within this area include a water-taxi service (which with our luck will be 'zoned' - $4 if you want to get in, $25 if you want to go all the way to the other side), and a pedestrian bridge connecting the site to the National Mall.

Then there's the Esplanade District, which PN Hoffman describes as the center of the project where most of the residential will be sited, along with offices and some neighborhood-serving retail.

Finally, the southeastern corner of the site will hold the Cultural Park District which will include a 5-acre "cultural park" and other amenities that will serve as the center of the "cultural zone;" classes will be held on-site courtesy of the Living Classrooms Foundation and the National Maritime Heritage Foundation.

“Over the past two years we’ve studied waterfronts all over the world, reached out and forged working relationships and agreements with existing leaseholders, and conducted over 100 meetings with regulatory agencies and surrounding stake holders,” said Monty Hoffman, CEO of PN Hoffman. “This is just the beginning of the process to create a ‘world class’ waterfront. We will continue to work with the mayor’s office on making a waterfront that draws visitors from everywhere, but our first commitment is to the people of Washington, DC. The Potomac River is our greatest natural resource and first and foremost, this project will reconnect Washington with its waterfront. We look forward to working with the City Council to achieve passage of the Mayor's legislative proposal so that District residents can see a shovel in the ground by 2010.”

You go Monty.


Anonymous said...

This is really exciting if they can get it done in our lifetime. Everything is taking forever when DC Govt is involved. More has to be done to streamline these processes.


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