Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southwest's Big Day






Can anyone finance this?
District officials began demolition yesterday of Hogate's Restaurant on the Southwest waterfront, the first step of what will be a billion-dollar renovation of the area that will usher in a new neighborhood in a city-changing endeavor to connect DC to the river. Or, to the cynically inclined, it was a short-lived photo op for a project that has zero chance of starting soon.

Putting healthy skepticism aside, a completed project would be transformative, replacing careless architecture, mediocre food establishments and parking lots, all segregated by anti-pedestrian design, with an urban worthy mixed-use neighborhood featuring 14 acres of parks and "open space," 780,000 square feet of office and retail space, 3 new hotels, entertainment venues and 770 condos and apartments. Just picture throngs of happy pedestrians gazing over the marina while dropping Hamiltons like crazy at waterfront retailers. Add 3,000 new jobs and you have a minor stimulus plan in the works.

So just how close is the team, comprised of PN Hoffman, Madison Marquette, Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse, McCormack Baron Salazar, ER Bacon Development, Triden Development, Paramount Development, Gotham Development and City Partners, to getting real progress? The ambitious project, first approved by the DC Council back in 2003, was never on fast-track. But despite the development team having been selected in September of 2006, the District's approval of $198m in revenue bonds supported by tax increment financing (TIF) in July of 2008, and ratification of the land agreement in December of 2008, numerous obstacles remain. District officials say that a master plan will be submitted in October, and though they acknowledge there has been no major headway on financing, actual construction is now estimated for a comfortably distant 2012. But in January of 2008 developer Monty Hoffman predicted that "District residents can see a shovel in the ground by 2010;" not a surprising miscalculation given, well, everything, but one that gives pause in relying on current estimates. PN Hoffman would not comment on the significance of the groundbreaking. It seems that for the near future it will remain simply a good spot to get cheap fish.

Washington DC real estate development news

7 comments:

Skip said...

Southwest could use some good news. The fact that the neighborhood was largely destroyed by 'urban planners' of the Johnson administration in the 60's is a shame. We'll never come close to getting back what was lost, but giving that quadrant one vibrant neighborhood, and connecting DC to the water, would be a huge accomplishment. I hope Fenty can make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...there's got to be a reason why you'd spend money on demo now when construction won't start for two years. I just can't think of what that reason would be...

Jay on Aug 18, 2010, 7:39:00 PM said...

Visited the new Arena Stage yesterday. It looks gorgeous!

Will the Fish Market be re-incorporated into the re-development?

Ken on Aug 18, 2010, 7:47:00 PM said...

Yes, the plan is to incorporate the fish market into it:
http://dcmud.blogspot.com/2009/01/sw-waterfront-nets-its-first-casualty.html

Anonymous said...

What they are not telling you is about the ten (10) 15 story buildings they are going to cram into the space where there are now six (6) and the fact that Water St.will disappear and all traffic will be diverted to Maine.

If you are in one of the new buildings things will be divine. If you are in one of the existing buildings in SW, good luck getting a view or access to the waterfront. Look closely at that picture the Mayor is holding...only one point of entry from L'Enfant Plaza.

yawper on Aug 20, 2010, 2:03:00 PM said...

@Anonymous 1:12...

Well, they're not exactly hiding it; if you look at the conceptual drawing it's pretty obvious. What, are there three buildings where the south-facking tenants might have their views obstructed, including the view of acres of parking lots?

It also looks to me like there are plenty of gaps between the buildings for access to the waterfront, as would only make sense, given what they want it to become. The L'Enfant one is just the most prominent point of entry.

yawper on Aug 20, 2010, 2:04:00 PM said...

That should be south-facing, obviously. :)

 

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