South by West

Two water taxi services will be operating out of District Wharf, one serving East Potomac Park and the other including stops in the District as well as Virginia and Maryland. Rendering: Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

District Wharf Update

A press event was held on Nov. 16 at District Wharf with the Spanish tall ship replica “El Galeon” as a backdrop. It was announced that law firm Fish+Richardson will occupy 60,000 square feet of space on the top two floors of 1000 Maine, a 250,000 square-foot trophy office building just starting to come out of the ground on Parcel 1 of District Wharf, near the Municipal Fish Market. The law firm will move from its current downtown location by May 2018. This is the first office tenant announced for 1000 Maine, but more than 65 percent of the space at 800 Maine has been pre-leased. The third office building under construction is Pier 4, which will be partially occupied by Entertainment Cruises. In other tenant news, more retail leases were announced:

  • Blue Bottle Coffee, a San Francisco-based artisan coffee roaster opening in the Market Square area of District Wharf near the Municipal Fish Market
  • FLORENTIJN, a unique, ultra-modern, Belgian-concept bistro by Chef Jan Van Haute
  • The Press, a neighborhood dry-cleaning and laundry shop with tailoring services by Je Kang

New Water Taxi Service

Entertainment Cruises will operate a water taxi service connecting District Wharf with Georgetown, Nationals Park, Old Town Alexandria, and National Harbor, as well as offering the potential for a larger network in the near future (perhaps to the new DC United stadium in Buzzard Point or Reagan National Airport?). The vessels will have a maximum capacity of 100 and will allow bikes and luggage on board. They will also have WiFi access and outlets. Using new vessels designed for faster travel in no-wake zones, a water taxi trip from District Wharf to Old Town Alexandria will take about 20 minutes. The water taxi service will operate from March to December, with peak season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, using three routes that pick up passengers at District Wharf more than 10 times daily. During the non-peak season there will be less frequent service with a minimum of four pickups per day.

In addition, during the November Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D meeting it was announced that a free water taxi jitney will connect District Wharf with East Potomac Park. The boats will hold up to 12 passengers and will depart District Wharf from the Transit Pier. A new pier will be built in East Potomac Park near where a historic pier was located. The jitney will operate from March to December.

Apartment Buildings Named

Banners were recently placed on the two apartment projects under construction at District Wharf. Parcel 4A apartments (770 Maine Ave. SW) is now known as Incanto. The word is Latin for “charm” or “enchant.” VIO, the name of the condo building to the south of Incanto, is also Latin, meaning “travel” or “journey.” Most of the brick along the Maine Avenue facade of Incanto is already up, and a splash webpage for the project indicates that residents will be welcomed to the 175-unit building in the summer of 2017. The building will contain studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. District Hardware & Bike will be on the ground floor of Incanto with an address of 730 Maine Ave. The 6,400 square-foot store, designed by Natalie Park Design Studio, will offer outdoor cafe space, two entrances, a glass garage door that can be opened on nice days, and a walkup window from which Vigilante Coffee will be sold. The bikeshop will feature a bicycle fit studio. In addition to being a hardware store, bikeshop, and cafe, the store will sell marine supplies, fishing rods, and standup paddleboards. With Seventh Street Recreation Pier around the corner and a protected bike lane in front of the store, the location fits well with District Hardware & Bike’s hybrid retail concept.

Meanwhile the larger apartment project located at Parcel 2 will now be called The Channel, named presumably after the Washington Channel, the body of water separating District Wharf from East Potomac Park. The two-building apartment complex wraps around the Wharf Hall concert venue, which itself will be renamed before it opens next year. Several of the units in this 500-plus unit building will be micros with Murphy beds and other built-in furniture. A unique feature of the building will be the large Wharf Club complex on the roof of Wharf Hall, containing a 7,000 square-foot fitness center, meeting space, infinity pool, and one-acre park. According to the splash webpage leasing will begin in the spring.

Construction Progress and Future Phases

Construction continues on Z Dock, which will be used by the live-aboard community at Gangplank Marina once completed in early 2017. Afterwards the docks by what was formerly Seventh Street Landing will be demolished so construction can begin on the Seventh Street Recreation Pier. Portions of the park near the Titanic Memorial have reopened, and Waterfront Park should be completed by April 2017. While the Washington Kastles will not return to District Wharf in a planned floating barge, part of the Transit Pier will have an ice-skating rink during winter.

The first phase of District Wharf is scheduled to be complete by Oct. 12, 2017, but initial planning is already underway for phase two (Parcels 6-10), which includes the Gangplank Marina, three office buildings, an apartment building, a condo building, and retail and public spaces. The design team has been selected, and plans will be submitted to the Zoning Commission in 2017, with a hearing likely scheduled for next summer. Parcels 8 through 10 are referred to as Phase 2A, which will get underway sooner than the other remaining parcels. Here is a summary of what is planned at each parcel:

  • Parcels 6 and 7: 500,000 square feet of trophy office space with ground-floor retail (two levels of retail on Parcel 6) which will be built depending on market conditions
  • Parcel 8: 225,000 square feet of rental apartments with ground-floor retail
  • Parcel 9: 155,000 square feet of condominiums with ground-floor retail
  • Parcel 10:A 65,000 square-foot office building described as a “jewel box” with ground-floor retail

Construction on Phase 2A is expected to start in mid-2018 with completion in 2021, so there will be less than one year of a lull in construction between Phase 1 and Phase 2.

The Channel apartments at District Wharf will have a one-acre park with sports courts, infinity pool, fitness center, and other amenities. Rendering: Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

William Rich is a blogger at Southwest … The Little Quadrant that Could (www.swtlqtc.com).


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