Wharf Groundbreaking Set for March

South by West

The Wharf development will transform the Southwest waterfront. Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Hoffman-Madison Waterfront announced at the February Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D meeting that they will hold a groundbreaking ceremony sometime in late March for phase one of The Wharf. Phase one includes parcels 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, and the waterfront park, which goes from west of 9th Street, SW  to 7th Street, SW and then skips to St. Augustine's at 6th and Maine avenues, SW. Waterfront establishments including Phillips Flagship and the Channel Inn have been given official notice that they must close by May 13th. The Channel Inn will become the construction office for the builders and the Capital Yacht Club will be moving its operations there until their new building is completed. Jenny's Asian Fusion may also reopen in a smaller space at the Channel Inn. Phillips Flagship will not be relocated to the Channel Inn, but has signed a lease in the neighborhood. Cantina Marina and the Maine Avenue Fish Market will remain open through construction of phase one, although the land side of the fish market will be cleaned up (above-ground utility poles will be relocated, etc.).

Construction Timetable

An eight-foot fence and signage will soon arrive at the waterfront. The construction process of phase one will last approximately 42 months with completion expected in late 2017. One of the first things to happen on the site will be the construction of a 50-space parking lot for the Maine Avenue Fish Market, followed by lane closures along portions of Maine Avenue, SW to allow the relocation of utilities from Water Street and the construction of a new northbound turn lane to the fish market. At the same time, the piers at Gangplank Marina will be dismantled. During this summer, more utility work will be done on Maine Avenue, SW, Phillips Flagship will be demolished, and bulkhead demolition will occur. By the end of 2014, all utilities will be moved to Maine Avenue, SW and excavation will begin on the site. Vertical construction will be done by the middle of 2016 with facade work and interiors completed by the fall of 2017.

The first portion of phase one to deliver will be Parcel 11. By this summer, St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in its current form will be no more. The building will be demolished and its congregation will move temporarily to the fellowship hall of Christ United Methodist Church at 4th and I streets, SW while construction begins on their new home. The church came to terms with Hoffman-Madison Waterfront to extend The Wharf development to St. Augustine's, which is at the corner of 6th Street, SW and Maine Avenue, SW. In addition to a new sanctuary, St. Augustine's will get an endowment.  At the new St. Augustine’s Church on Parcel 11, there will be views of the church from M Street, SW and Maine Avenue, SW since it will be located at a prominent corner. There will be a soft curved edge in front of St. Augustine's to complement the curvature of Arena Stage across the street. The two-story church will be approximately 15,000 square feet with the sanctuary located on the second floor offering views toward the Washington Monument. Also on the second floor will be classrooms and a library. On the ground floor, the entrance will lead to a vestibule that connects to classrooms and an all-purpose room, which will be available for community events, similar to how St. Augustine's is now used for meetings.  

In turn, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront will build a 108-unit mid-rise condo building adjacent to the new sanctuary, which will face the Tiber Island townhouses across 6th Street, SW. A portion of the units will be reserved for households earning up to 50% and 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). The asymmetry of the facade was designed to be similar to the Tiber Island townhouses. There will be a concrete base with four stories of wood frame construction above. The penthouse level will be set back 12 feet from the lower floors and will offer private terraces. A courtyard will be created on the second floor with some green space and a fountain. In addition, there will be a green roof, but condo residents will not have access to the roof except for those with terraces on the penthouse level. It will take about 18 months to build both, which places delivery around the beginning of 2016.

South Capitol Lot to Become Apartments

Camden South Capitol apartments may soon get a new neighbor to its north. 1319 South Capitol Altus LLC (Altus Realty Partners) has the vacant lot and some of the adjacent row homes under contract, located across the street from Nationals Park on South Capitol Street, SW. It was just six months ago when a permit was issued to build a parking lot on this site. Leasing at Camden South Capitol has been averaging about 20 units per month since opening last spring, which is encouraging news to Altus. They are in the initial stages of planning a rental apartment building on the site and are negotiating with the remaining property owners on the block to potentially increase the lot size. They are currently planning a 250,000 square-foot building which is allowable by-right with about 260 to 270 units and some ground floor retail. There will also be an affordable component due to inclusionary zoning requirements.

The developers will need to come before the ANC once their plans are further along in order to get their support for any zoning approvals needed since the site is within the Capitol Overlay District. If some or all of the row homes become part of the development footprint, it is possible that they can be incorporated into the design of the new building. A recent example of where this has been done is 7th Flats at Progression Place in Shaw. There are so few older row homes in Southwest and their reuse as retail space (a dentist office currently occupies one of the row homes) could help bring some unique retailers to the area as the South Capitol Street, SW corridor gets revitalized in the coming years.

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

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