The Development Wave Continues

Capitol Riverfront

Future National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Headquarters at 1 M Street, SE.

Capitol Riverfront is a beehive of construction activity as exhibited by tower cranes and new buildings rising in our cityscape; and significant planning is underway for the new soccer stadium and its Buzzard Point neighborhood as well.

There are nine new residential buildings underway containing 2,868 new apartment units that will be delivering for lease over the next 5-24 months. We will double our current inventory of apartments when these buildings are completed, and should double our residential population by 2018 – over 9,000 residents in the Capitol Riverfront!

New Condo, Retail and Hotels

There will soon be new construction in the condo market as there are at least three condominium projects scheduled to break ground over the next 12 to 14 months. PN Hoffman will be developing approximately 142 condo units at the corner of 4th and Tingey Streets, SE directly across from the VIDA Health Club. The Metro chiller site at L and Half Streets, SE will also start construction as 126 condo units by MRP/CAS during that same time frame. And the partners in NOVO Development are currently designing a condo project for their sites at 818 Potomac Avenue, SE that will include the renovation of the existing historic apartment building and a two phased construction of new condo units for a total of 55 units. This will be a great anchor project for the Lower 8th Street area of the Capitol Riverfront.

All this residential development will only increase demand for new neighborhood serving retail and restaurants. The new 35,000 square foot Whole Foods Market is under construction and will deliver in 2017 with 330 new apartments at 800 New Jersey Avenue and H Street, SE. The Grosvenor project on First Street named F1rst will include a Taylor Gourmet and a Chop’t Creative Salad Company. Three new restaurants are also under construction – Due South and the Navy Yard Oyster Company in the Lumbershed Building, and Scarlett Oak located in 909 New Jersey Avenue, SE.

Three new hotels are being built within a one block walk of Nationals Park. The new 168-room Hampton Inn and Suites has topped out and should be open for business in August 2015. The Grosvenor F1rst project also includes a 170-room Marriott Residence Inn, while Englewood Development is constructing a new 195-room Homewood Suites at 50 M Street SE directly across from the Half Street Metro Station. 

The Capitol Riverfront office market will exhibit new growth as well with the impending start of construction on the Skanska Class A office building (225,000 SF) at 99 M Street, SE; the announcement that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is moving from their building in DuPont Circle to a new office building (116,000 SF) that will be constructed at M and South Capitol Streets, SE (1 M Street) by Monument Realty; and the construction of DC Water’s new headquarters administration building that will consolidate several office locations into one building (150,000 SF) at 2nd Street, SE on the Anacostia River.

Getting Ready for the Soccer Stadium

A coordinated planning process is underway in Buzzard Point to prepare that area of our neighborhood and Southwest for the new DC United Soccer stadium. The DC Office of Planning and the DC Department of General Services are working with DDOT, DDOE and DMPED on an Urban Design Framework Plan for this area so that the investment in the soccer stadium is maximized by accelerating compatible new development surrounding the stadium site. The plan is examining existing zoning and future land use patterns, environmental conditions that need to be removed and remediated, utilities and infrastructure systems that need to be upgraded, the future street network, a future open space network including an extension of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail around Buzzard Point, the incorporation of environmental sustainability and storm water management throughout the neighborhood, and pedestrian connections to the Metro stations at Waterfront and Navy Yard/Ballpark.

The next area of the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood that is undergoing substantial change now is the Half Street District, the two blocks immediately north of the stadium’s centerfield gate. With recent property acquisitions by Jair Lynch on the east side of the street, and JBG and Brandywine Realty Trust on the west side of the street, plans are being developed for new building programs on these vacant parcels and the site of the Fairgrounds. Each side of the street will have residential buildings above with approximately 60,000 square feet of 1st floor retail uses for a total of 120,000 SF along Half Street. This will create the Half Street entertainment district that was always envisioned as the gateway for Nationals Park. 

But that entire “ballpark district” should be under construction or largely completed by the 2018 MLB All-Star Game as well. With the Grosvenor and Skanska projects on 1st Street, the NAB office building on South Capitol Street that will be accompanied by a residential building by Monument, and the 1244 South Capitol Street residential project by JBG all either under construction or starting soon, this district will be a new mix-use sub-area for the Capitol Riverfront. It is exciting to see these parcels adjacent to the stadium start construction and enter into detailed architectural design.

Another substantial piece of the development puzzle is the area east of the stadium between 1st Street, SE and the historic DC Water pump house, and south of N Street SE. Often referred to as Yards West, this land is either controlled by Forest City Washington as part of the Yards development, or owned by DC Water. Negotiations are underway to relocate the DC Water fleet maintenance and sewer operations facilities to other sites, allowing that acreage to be redeveloped as housing, office, retail, and the 16-screen ICON movie theater complex. The historic pump house and the O Street pumping station will remain as active DC Water pump stations. They will be joined by the aforementioned DC Water office building that will overlook the Anacostia River, and the development program proposed by Forest City Washington.

Many other parcels are underway or deep in the planning and approval process, such as the MRP apartment building at the Florida Rock site, and the 1333 M Street mixed-use complex by Cohen Siegel east of the 11th Street Bridges. The Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is a constant work in progress, and it seems that the cityscape of the community is changing on a monthly basis.

The Capitol Riverfront has and will continue to experience a growth cycle unlike any in its recent history. It is a validation of the vision established by the city and the over $1.1 billion in public investment in the neighborhood. The response by the private sector is evident in all the existing and emerging buildings that are redefining our cityscape. If you are attending a movie, concert or festival this summer in the Capitol Riverfront, be sure to do a “walkabout” of the neighborhood and see all the new construction activity.

Whole Foods Market at 800 New Jersey Avenue, SE delivering in 2017.

Michael Stevens, AICP is president of the Capitol Riverfront BID.

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