While these informational meetings are important, developers expect to truly kick off the planning review process with their Stage One PUD application submittal in late 2010, early 2011. This will initiate a more intensive public communication process, followed by a Stage Two PUD as more details are hashed out, and fingers crossed, a late 2012 groundbreaking. A full build-out will take seven to eight years from the start of the construction. Although not concrete, developers expect a middle portion of the development, including three buildings and the parks and public space surrounding them (it sounds vague because it is), to be the heart of Phase One. Like all phases of the project, construction will be focused on creating captivating public space first, and erecting buildings second. But as buildings do spring up in each phase of development, they will always do so as a balanced mix of office, retail, and residential, never all one or the other. Developers are also hoping that secured financing and improving market demand will allow them to reach as far west as to include the Fish Market and Market Square in their Phase One plans. "As probably the most dynamic and active aspect of the redevelopment, we want the Fish Market to be an early stage part of the project," says Anselm Fusco, Senior VP of Investments at Madison Marquette, "It would really help set the tone and put a flag in the sand."
Granville Island Public Market, Seattle's Pike Place Market, and San Francisco's Ferry Building served as inspiration a plenty for the project planners. This indoor-outdoor marketplace will be re-imagined at the Fish Market/Market Square with fresh seafood spread out on 90-foot long blocks of ice, complemented by a seasonal green market where not only neighborhood foodies will frequent for a bushel of fresh produce, but where also local chefs and restaurateurs will come to cultivate long-term relationships with local farmers and producers. "The idea of what was once the Head House will be re-appropriated as Market Hall (think Pike's Place), an indoor space, but a very permeable place that will feature more permanent tenants selling both prepared foods and hard goods," says Fusco. Supplement the water-meets-land Marketplace concept with a plethora of picnic tables, public plazas, piazza lighting, cafes, bakeries, and a standalone microbrewery, then color it with the "whole neon sign thing" of the Fish Market (as Fusco calls it), finally, populate the space with a dynamic demographic of people, and you've got what Eckstut believes will be "a place that feels authentic and alive and real...a jolt from the federal Mall experience." To top it all off (literally) developers intend to accentuate the Marketplace with a large iconic sign, for purposes of place-making and way-finding.
Although it may be sometime before this impressive vision becomes reality, Angela Sweeney promises that her development team is "focused on creating and activating the site before an actual groundbreaking happens. We will continue to offer expanded and enhanced on-site programming." Another reason for optimism is the LDA stipulation that the $198 million tax increment financing promised by the District must be used for public amenities--further emphasizing the developers genuine focus on creating an assortment of vibrant, diverse, and inviting public arenas, not simply a canopy of concrete. So far, developers have proven they can dream big. How these dreams mesh with the practical parameters of the Planning Office and feasibility of the financial climate remains to be seen.
Washington D.C. Real Estate Development News