Capitol Riverfront BID: Updates and 10 Years of Operations

Rendering of JBG's West Half Street residential project & Jair Lynch's East 

The lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us, and they often provide a slowdown in activity and an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and take much needed vacations … to recharge, reflect, and rejuvenate. That is not the case in the Capitol Riverfront, as we are in the midst of our busy season with movies, concerts, festivals, a farmers’ market, and outdoor fitness classes. Robin Lee on our business improvement district (BID) team described all of these neighborhood activities in last month’s column, so come join us by the river for the fun in the summer!

The development pace of the neighborhood has not slowed due to the summer months either. We have number of projects under construction, so please read on for the latest updates.

Office Construction

Three new office buildings are in various stages of construction. Skanska’s 99 M Street is now above grade and pouring new floors every week. It expects to “top out” and start exterior facade work by August. Construction on the DC Water headquarters office building continues at a rapid pace, with steel being erected adjacent to the O Street pumping station. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) office building located at 1 M Street is deep in site excavation and will anchor the corner of South Capitol and M streets SE.

Residential Construction

Residential apartments continue to be the dominant market, with seven buildings under construction containing over 2,500 units. You may have noticed activity on Half Street SE north of the ballpark, where JBG and Jair Lynch are building new apartments. WC Smith is quickly finishing the Agora on New Jersey Avenue, where the new Whole Foods grocery will open in the first quarter of 2018. WC Smith will start on the third phase of the Collective. The Garrett will be a 375-unit apartment building that fronts on Second Street SE overlooking Canal Park.

Forest City Washington has two residential buildings under construction at Parcel O on Fourth Street SE. The Bower by PN Hoffman is a 138-unit, for-sale condominium building, and the Parcel O2 Apartments is a 191-unit apartment building by Forest City. The developer will also start another 270-unit apartment building and a 210-room boutique hotel on Parcel L at Third and Tingey streets SE.

Another for-sale condominium building is under construction at 801 Virginia Ave. SE. Bozzuto is building this 20-unit condo building, which will have two retail condo spaces on the ground floor. The DC Housing Authority, in partnership with Urban Atlantic and Forest City Washington, has started construction on another phase of the rebuild of the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg complex. The SQ 769N project located at Second Place East and L Street SE is a 179-unit apartment building with 36 affordable units and 143 units of market-rate apartments.

Perhaps the most notable “big dig” is the apartment building site located at South Capitol and 2 I St. SE. RCP/Crescent Communities is erecting a 355-unit apartment building that should deliver in the first quarter of 2019. Other notable starts include Toll Brothers’ Parc Riverside Phase 2, which will deliver 308 apartments in the second quarter of 2019, and the start of Douglas Development’s 1900 Half St. SW project – the conversion of a former office building on Buzzard Point into 415 apartments units. The former Coast Guard Building on Buzzard Point will be converted into Riverpoint, a 485-unit apartment building, by Western/Akridge.

Retail Construction/Deliveries

Retail continues its strong surge in the neighborhood with 41 restaurants now open and 11 more scheduled to open this year. The new seafood restaurant Salt Line has opened in Dock 79 overlooking the Anacostia River, and will soon be joined by All Purpose Pizza and Dacha Beer Garden. The F1RST project on First Street SE will soon see the delivery of Taylor Gourmet, Rasa, Chipotle, Declaration Pizza, and Roti, while the Shilling Cannery and Chloe restaurants will soon open in the Arris apartment building. Other recent restaurant openings include Bethesda Bagels, Slipstream Coffee, and Chopt. The Whole Foods grocery is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018 at New Jersey Avenue at H Street SE.

‘Beyond These Walls’ Art Installation

“Beyond These Walls” is an 11-panel art installation of large historic photographs on the Navy Yard campus brick wall. A collaboration between the Capitol Riverfront BID and the Washington Navy Yard, the ensemble of historic photographs and text narrative celebrates the history of the Navy Yard in Washington and the world. The installation was set up in late June and will remain in place for three to five years. Please view it at M and 11th streets SE.

BID Anniversary

Ten years ago in July 2007, the application for the establishment of the Capitol Riverfront BID was approved by the DC government and we began operations. Our Clean & Safe Teams began operations in October 2007 and have achieved a remarkable baseline of cleanliness and safety in the neighborhood. It is hard to believe that 10 years has passed so quickly and we are now in the application and approval process for our next five years of operations.

The Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has changed significantly over that period and has become a regional waterfront destination, a sports destination, an office submarket, and a vibrant residential neighborhood anchored by parks, grocery stores, and neighborhood support retail. It has weathered a deep recession and is now in the largest building boom in its history.

The BID has been a constant voice and management organization over those 10 years and provided a range of services that meet changing conditions. Our core work programs remain as follows:

  • Clean Team Operations– to maintain a clean and safe public realm
  • Economic Development– to attract office and retail tenants, as well as residents for our residential buildings
  • Marketing/PR/Branding– to help the city and region understand where we are and what we are becoming as a new growth community
  • Community Building– to create a sense of place and community through special events and programming of public spaces
  • Information Development– a nonprofit “broker” to collect and distribute accurate information and data on our neighborhood’s development
  • Advocacy– to be the constant and consistent voice for the neighborhood on issues that could impact the community and our stakeholders
  • Transportation Analysis– to ensure transportation accessibility for the neighborhood by a variety of transportation modes
  • Parks Maintenance– to maintain, operate, and program two world-class parks (Yards Park and Canal Park)

Our organization has become increasingly involved in research on the Capitol Riverfront and the forces that shape it, such as our “GreenPrint for Growth” analysis and publication that documents the importance of the Green Line as a destination connection and home to the most residential starts in the city since 2000.

Our award-winning video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWImhWXGXKY ) showcases all that the Capitol Riverfront has to offer as a mixed-use destination neighborhood, and our parks programming illustrates the family-friendly nature of our neighborhood as well as the power of access to the Anacostia River.

Placemaking and place management are a new work program or organizational “ethos” that BIDs are undertaking as important platforms. For new growth neighborhoods like the Capitol Riverfront, the creation and maintenance of place are important for achieving full buildout and creating that initial and ongoing sense of community. The active programming of Yards Park and Canal Park has shown the friendly and welcoming nature of our neighborhood to families, millennials, empty nesters, and visitors from other neighborhoods across the city.

It is important and imperative for us to maintain these open space “gifts” from the city at a very high level and to constantly activate them as parks. They have leveraged a sense of place, community, and identity where none had existed, and branded our neighborhood as one with an outdoor, family-friendly ethos with access to a riverfront.

We hope to celebrate our next five years and the past 10 years of operations through a series of events and happenings that build upon the history of the neighborhood and its trajectory:

  • A year-long speaker series involving those who shape the neighborhood and the city
  • A celebratory annual meeting that recognizes the city officials and property owners who had the vision and foresight to build a new neighborhood on the river
  • A community picnic and concert to celebrate our ever-growing residential neighborhood
  • An employee-appreciation picnic for those companies that have chosen the Capitol Riverfront as their work home
  • An art project or installation that recognizes and celebrates our transition from an industrial “backyard” to a vibrant, mixed-use community with a number of destinations
  • Celebration of the completion of the DC Clean Rivers Project in 2018 and the elimination of sewer overflow into the Anacostia
  • Opening of the DC United soccer stadium (Audi Field) in 2018
  • A celebration of the 10th season of Washington Nationals baseball in the neighborhood

Come join us this summer in the Capitol Riverfront to experience baseball, concerts by the river, festivals, outdoor movies, exercise classes, the Sunday farmers’ market, new restaurant openings, and the beginning of our BID’s 10-year anniversary.


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