Shawn Seaman, Vice President and Project Manager of PN Hoffman, gave DCMud some insight on the developer's plans. “We have worked with our Master Planner, Ehrenkrantz, Eckstut and Kuhn, and studied hundreds of mixed-use and waterfront developments around the country and the world. Some of the best examples for dynamic and exciting waterfront projects were in Europe, and specifically Scandinavia – Oslo and Stockholm both have vibrant and well-used waterfronts,” says Seaman. “The design will embrace the “messiness” and vitality of a real working waterfront, allowing the market, the boat traffic, and the new mixed-use development to co-exist."
Additionally, Hoffman intends to make sure that the Southwest Waterfront becomes fully integrated into the fabric of District life, instead of serving as a new location for Constitution Avenue t-shirt vendors to hock their wares. “The project…is first and foremost an extension of the Southwest neighborhood. It will be the one of first waterfront neighborhoods in the District,” says Seaman.
That, however, is not to say Hoffman won’t be seeking out the revenue that come along tourism - the majority of the planned retail space will fall along Maine Avenue, within sight of the Waterfront’s (now) biggest tourist draw, the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Seaman says that PNH plans to “enhance” the market, in addition to adding “improved connections back to the Mall,” an understatement for an area that nearly requires a coyote to get you to and fro, and developers intend to make the development accessible to Washington weekenders as well as new residents with downtown jobs .
Those connections will take the form of “a pedestrian bridge or a grand staircase” connecting Metro-accessible Banneker Park to the foot of the Waterfront development. Furthermore, Hoffman intends to link their project to nearby Southeast with an extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk and is also exploring the possibility of infrastructural ties to the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park. “Long range,” says Seaman, “the site would be an ideal stop on a Southeast/Southwest light rail line connecting Barrack’s Row, The Yards, the Baseball District, and Southwest Waterfront.”
Still, planning is still embryonic. And given that the project isn’t likely to begin construction until at least 2012 – not to mention the belt-tightening state of the economy – is seems reasonable to wonder where and when the first of Hoffman-Streuver’s cash will be spent. “The next two years will be focused on completing the design of the project, working with the community, and submitting for the PUD,” says Seaman. “We are confident that the capital market will have improved by the time we are ready to put a shovel in the ground.”