The District announced Friday that it is ending its agreement with Clark Realty to develop Poplar Point, the 110-acre parcel that fronts the Anacostia River. In an unusual late night announcement, Deputy Mayor Neil Albert said "Clark is a great local company that will continue to do excellent work in this city. But in this extremely challenging economic environment it is no longer practical for Clark to pursue the deal structure we currently have in place."
The District announced on February 14, 2008, that Clark had been selected to lead the development team. Development had always been contingent upon several key factors, such as transfer of the land from the federal to the District government and a favorable environmental impact study. Several groups have since contested the project, noting the diversity of wildlife that exists on the site, and the desirability of converting it into a 70-acre park and mixed-use development.
In an interview with DCMud last May, the Deputy Mayor said the project remained on track. "Poplar Point is off in the distance, but Clark, the main developer hasn’t had problems getting the money they need. There is such a strong interest in the development of the District that as long as that interest remains, these projects will stay on schedule."
Development was never expected to be imminent, with most of the interested parties pegging construction over a 10 to 20 year timeframe, the announcement is a setback for the District, which began the official search for a development partner back in August of 2007.
"The District will continue the planning process for Poplar Point and pursue avenues for site remediation and infrastructure development. In the near future, the District will issue a solicitation for vertical development partners for site. All development activities will continue to be contingent upon the outcomes of the environmental impact study process," said Albert.