Mayor Adrian Fenty, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert, and Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) held a public ceremony this morning to celebrate the one year anniversary of the District's decision to disband and take control over the portfolios of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (AWC) and National Capital Revitalization Corporation (NCRC). In a tribute to their combined foresight, the Mayor lauded the District's "significant progress" on over two dozen key from the portfolios since the merge, and offered up morsels of imminent announcements.
"There were a lot of properties in these two quasi-public entities and it was the decision of the Council of the District of Columbia to make sure that those properties moved a lot faster, that they got developed quicker, and most importantly, that people saw results and I can say that a year later there has been a flurry of consistent activity," Fenty said.
With $60 billion in the citywide pipeline since 2001 and $13 billion in current economic development projects, the Office of the Deputy Mayor's portfolio now includes over 12,000 residential units - including 4,500 "affordable" units - 1,800 hotel rooms, 2 million s.f. of retail space, and 8 million s.f. of office space.
Looking back on their recent successes, the Mayor noted that on May 14th, the District issued a RFEI for a master developer for Hill East Waterfront, 50 acres around the former DC General Hospital site.
On June 4th, the District issued a solicitation for a development partner for Parcel 69, a potential $130 million office/hotel project by the Southwest Freeway.
Master land planning began at Boathouse Row in SE on July 11th.
On Tuesday, the Council approved a $198 million TIF/PILOT package to fund park and infrastructure improvements for the $1.5 billion Southwest Waterfront redevelopment.
Yesterday the District selected Argos Group to develop two properties on Capitol Hill, including the Old Engine House 10 into eight condominiums.
And looking forward, Albert told DCMud the Strand Theatre project (5131 Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, NE), developed by Washington Metropolitan Community Development Corporation and Banneker Ventures, will break ground in the next two weeks.
He added that his office will also announce a developer for 6425 14th Street, NW in the coming weeks, a 12,100-s.f. parcel of land in Brightwood.
Sean Madigan, Director of Communications in the Office of the Deputy Mayor, predicts an announcement for 5th and I, as well as Minnesota-Benning Road, NE, in the next few weeks, and that the Park Morton development group will be announced "imminently."
Evans, who had a hand in the creation of both the NCRC and the AWC, said the decision to create the organizations was correct at the time, as was the decision to consolidate them. "I was there for the creation of NCRC and AWC and at the time when we were looking at putting those semi-private entities in place, the District government wasn't functioning, and so the idea of having an NCRC was something like the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation model to get economic development projects done in the city," Evans said.
"Then we learned that the semi-private entities were not doing what they were supposed to and we rolled them back into the government and put them under the Deputy Mayor and as we said today, it seems the decision was absolutely the correct one, because now we have a unified government and we can now focus on these projects and get them done. What we did in the past made sense and what we did last year made sense and we are now celebrating the results of those actions," Evans concluded, as the development troika lauded each other's vision and accomplishments.
Albert added that a major goal of the consolidation was to establish one point of accountability for economic development in DC, but also to save taxpayers money. "One of the reasons the Council and Mayor worked so hard to consolidate the agencies, was to make sure that there was a single point of accountability on all economic development projects here in the District. Citizens had been asking for it, and they got it with this merger. Also, this merger resulted in significant savings for the taxpayers - over $5 million in savings because of the consolidating," Albert said.
Like a gloating parent, Fenty added, "I just love efficient government, we have too much waste - a lot of these quasi-public commissions and entities and boards, they just spend money wastefully and we're gonna put a stop to that too." Ad: Metropole condos in Washington DC.