Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yards of New Retail in Southeast

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has signed off on Forest City Washington’s (FCW) plans for the second phase of development at their previously announced Waterfront Park - the public space component of their sprawling 42-acre development in Southeast, The Yards.

The centerpiece of the project is the rehabilitation and restoration of the so-called “Lumber Shed” – a 19,000 square foot, pre-war industrial building that will be re-purposed as a new retail pavilion. The Shed, included on the National Register of Historic Places, will be improved with walls of glass so that, according to the naval-gazing NCPC, its “concrete structure [will be] revealed and retained.” Two similarly-styled new retail buildings will be constructed next door and serve a combination of “restaurant, shopping and neighborhood retail uses.” Both of the newly constructed retail pavilions – measuring in at 6,288 and 10,277 square feet - will feature second story terraces intended for outdoor dining. Architecture firm Gensler is handling designs for both the renovation and new construction.

Phase II of development at the Park will also include the beginnings of a future Southeast Waterfront boardwalk. FCW has commissioned a “70-foot polished stainless steel structure” from designer James Carpenter that will serve as an “iconic statement about the rebirth of the Navy Yard Annex and Southeast Federal Center as The Yards, and the rebirth of the Anacostia Riverfront itself.” According to NCPC documentation, this “visual marker” will reflect the sky and water during the day and will be softly lit internally at night.”

Other improvements planned for the Waterfront Park’s 1100 foot span between the north bank of the Anacostia and Water Street, SE include multiple street art installations, newly planted trees, a bicycle network and a connection to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Despite the quantity and quality of FCW’s plans for the Waterfront Park and surrounding retail, they, in fact, have yet to definitively acquire the all of the parcels on site, including the Lumber Shed. According to the developer, it’s a unique kink of their deal with the federal government, who years ago utilized the site as a naval annex.

“The arrangement with the General Services Administration [is that] we acquire individual parcels, whether there’s an existing building on it or its open land where the GSA had formerly demolished a building,” says Gary McManus, FCW’s Marketing Manager. “There’s a takedown schedule for that. So once we start development on it, then we acquire the site. But that hasn’t happened yet, because we have yet to start construction.”

The NCPC previously ok’ed FCW’s initial plans for the Waterfront Park in February of 2008. McManus tells DCmud that their first phase, currently under construction, “will be done by 2010, probably mid-year. [A final date] on the park pavilions will have to do with retail leasing, but there seems to be alot of strong interest in locating down there by river for riverfront dining...we’re anticipating late 2011 or 2012 [for Phase II].” The project’s third and final phase remains unscheduled at this time, but is currently set to include the development’s maritime components, including piers.


Anonymous said...

Looks great. Are they going to complete the Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shop? I heard that stopped construction since they didn't have financing.

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