South by West

Photograph By
William Rich

The Francis Case Memorial Bridge over the Washington Channel will now be illuminated every night.

The Wharf  Is Slowly Coming Together

After more than two years of construction, the first signs of what’s to come at the Southwest waterfront are becoming clearer. Now that almost every building in Phase One of development is at least out of the ground and most of the public piers have been installed, the size of the buildings change constantly – new floors are being added about every week. While completion of Phase One will not be completed for more than a year, at least one permanent change is now visible: the lighting of the Francis Case Memorial Bridge.

On August 18 at a ceremony held on District Pier at 9th Street and Maine Avenue SW, Mayor Muriel Bowser had the honor of pressing a big button to illuminate the Bridge over the Washington Channel. Prior to the lighting ceremony, PN Hoffman CEO Monty Hoffman told the story about how long it took to get approvals for the project and noted the Mayor’s (then Ward 4 Council member) interest and support for the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront even though it was not in her ward. Just for the bridge lighting, approvals were needed by city and federal agencies, including the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Coast Guard. Also present at the ceremony was Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen (taking a respite from paternity leave) and other invited guests who assembled at District Pier for crab and lobster rolls, music and the bridge lighting. Others gathered in boats in the Washington Channel or stood at Hains Point to get a good view of the bridge.

After Bowser pressed the button, the Case Bridge, which carries Interstate 395 over the Washington Channel, was illuminated with a blue light strip along the south-facing side of the bridge and soft white lights highlighting the stonework on the pillars. The reflection of the blue light strip gives the waters of the Washington Channel near the bridge a blue hue. Citelum designed the LED lighting scheme for the bridge. It is the same firm that was responsible for lighting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Accompanying the unveiling was a fireworks show which lasted several minutes.

Reaction to the new bridge lighting scheme on social media was generally positive:

David Garber (@GarberDC)
8/18/16, 9:46 PM
Awesome. Love seeing all these details at @TheWharfDC come together!…
Diane Schulz (@dihicobra)
8/18/16, 9:55 PM
Ok, I have been very negative about the blue light. I think the reflection in the water is nice. Where is stonework?…
Emmie J. (@Emmie__Jay)
8/19/16, 9:27 AM
@GarberDC @KoppDC @SWTLQTC That's really cool. Will it be lit every night? Hope so!
Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser)
8/19/16, 10:56 AM
ICYMI: I had a great time @TheWharfDC's bridge lighting last night! #DCProud…

The new lighting scheme on the Case Bridge is permanent and is part of the two billion dollar transformation of the Southwest waterfront to The Wharf. Blue lighting will also be added along The Wharf’s promenade and marinas. Over the next year or so, other components of The Wharf will be completed, including Waterfront Park, a revamped Municipal Fish Market, Wharf Hall concert venue, for-rent and for-sale housing, two office buildings, three hotels, several restaurants and other retail, as well as a water taxi service, public piers and marina.

Parcel 11 Furthest Along

The first units have settled at 525 Water, one of two condo buildings in phase one of The Wharf. At least four units have settled so far, and all of them belong to leadership at PN Hoffman, the master developer. More than 50 percent of the units at 525 Water have sold so far, which means that settlements can begin. The building received its certificate of occupancy in late July. 525 Water is part of Parcel 11 at The Wharf, which will be the first buildings to deliver in Phase One. The new St. Augustine’s will open its doors on Wednesday, September 24 with a convocation service, starting at 4 p.m. Infrastructure work continues at Waterfront Park, a three-acre open space adjacent to 525 Water, and construction should be completed either late this year or by early next year. The remaining Phase One buildings from 7th Street to the Municipal Fish Market will deliver in the fall of 2017.

Coast Guard’s Former Buzzard Point HQ to Become Riverpoint

The former Coast Guard headquarters building at 2100 2nd Street SW in Buzzard Point is slated to be redeveloped as a mixed-use project with apartments, condos, and retail. A development team including Akridge Development, Western Development, Jefferson Apartment Group, Orr Partners, and Redbrick LMD will take on the Transpoint Building project, which has been renamed Riverpoint. From the press release: 

Located at the site of the former U.S. Coast Guard headquarters at Buzzard Point, Riverpoint will deliver 80,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, as well as over 450 apartment and condominium units and waterfront activities with new piers, floating restaurants and the continuation of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. The project will create a vibrant, mixed-use community, connecting the area with the new D.C. United stadium and other developments along the Capitol Riverfront, including the Ballpark District, and The Wharf. Riverpoint will boast three sides of unobstructed water views.

This is one of two office buildings in Buzzard Point that are planned to convert to residential. Earlier this year, Douglas Development filed plans with the Zoning Commission to convert an office building on Half Street to 462 apartment units and 24,032 SF of retail space. Riverpoint is located just to the south of 100 V Street, an empty lot owned by Akridge that was partially taken by the city through eminent domain to build the new D.C. United stadium. Previously, 100 V Street SW was envisioned as an office campus for a federal tenant; however, the changing dynamic of Buzzard Point and a soccer stadium next door will likely mean those development plans will be altered. With 100 V Street SW and Riverpoint, Akridge will have a large presence in Buzzard Point. 

Construction of Riverpoint could start within 12 months, adding to the bevy of construction activity coming to Buzzard Point over the next three years, including Douglas’ project, a new D.C. United stadium, Pepco substation, Marina View condos and a new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge and traffic oval.

The Coast Guard’s former headquarters building on the Anacostia River waterfront will be transformed into a mixed use development.

 William Rich is a blogger at Southwest…The Little Quadrant that Could (

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