Thursday, May 28, 2009

Work Begins on Capitol Riverfront's "Crown Jewel"

Developer Forest City Washington broke ground today on the latest Capitol Riverfront redevelopment initiative: the Park at the Yards. Located between Nationals Park and the Navy Yard, the $42 million, 5.4 acre park, designed by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, was touted as "the core" and "crown jewel" of the greater Yards development. Once complete, the area will feature 2700 new units of housing, 400,000 square feet of retail and 1.8 million square feet of office space. The park’s first phase, scheduled for completion next summer, is set to include “vast open lawns” and landscaped gardens along a riverfront promenade that will incorporate an extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Future work will include three retail pavilions, including one in the historically-protected Lumber Shed adjoining the site, with the end result of creating a world class waterfront destination.

“A world class city has to have a world class waterfront…This I think is the biggest piece of that and generations of Washingtonians are going to be thankful that this day occurred,” said DC Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Meanwhile, FCW President Deborah Ratner Salzberg told DCmud that other, more retail-centric pieces of the greater Yards puzzle, such as the Boilermaker Shops at 200 Tingey Street, SE, continue to fall into place. According to Salzberg, roughly 50% of that space is now leased and the FCW development team recently returned from a conference with potential retailers.

Despite rumors of business being slow in the from-scratch neighborhood surrounding the ballpark as construction continues, Claire Schaefer, Deputy Executive Director of the Capitol Riverfront BID, said that approximately 1,600 new residents are now in place in the area’s various rental and condo buildings, with that number expected to climb to 2,000 by year’s end. According to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Yards alone will host some 3,700 Southeast newcomers once work finally wraps sometime in the twenty-teens. Those figures will surely be helped along by the vast number of transit-oriented, “’smart growth” projects coming along as the riverfront coalesces - expanded bus services, water taxis, street cars and even horse-drawn buggies being among the options explored for a site that once hosted a government compound known as the Southeast Federal Center.

“You have to put all these pieces together to get to today…[This is] how a neighborhood gets transformed,” said Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who facilitated the nation's first public-private partnership on federal land for the Yards project. “It is especially important to the neighborhood and city that there be a way to reach our river from which we have been isolated forever. This is a part of the city that has been opened to the people.”


SWill on May 28, 2009, 11:36:00 PM said...

That's great news about the Yards development! However, I think you mean Southeast Federal Center. The Southwest Federal Center is the office district located south of the National Mall.

Nope on May 29, 2009, 7:28:00 AM said...

Right you are! Apologies for the typo.

Anonymous said...

I just bought in Congress Heights and I am thrilled to hear this news along with the National Harbor and DHS HQ - SE is really changing!

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