What’s Next in Capitol Riverfront?

Capitol Riverfront BID

 2014 Jazz at the Capitol Riverfront presented by DC Jazzfest.

Over the past year you have been reading about development, restaurant/retail openings, and community events in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, a story of public/private partnerships that has invested over $4 billion in the neighborhood to date. It is also a story of great vision and planning that has been partially realized with over 12.5 million square feet of new construction, new parks and access to the river, and a new baseball stadium. Approximately 34% of the 37 million SF ultimate build-out has been achieved, and the next twenty years should yield even more.

Over the next three years our residents, employees and visitors will be able to shop at a new 35,000 SF Whole Foods grocer; they now can shop at the 50,000 SF Harris Teeter grocery and enjoy working out at the 28,000 SF VIDA Health Club. Another 2,400+ residential units will have delivered, including two new condominium buildings and our residential population should hit 6,500. More new restaurants will have opened in the Lumbershed Building, joining the recently opened Big Stick at 20 M Street, and Willie’s Brew & Que and 100 Montaditos at the Boilermaker Shops. Unleashed by Petco has opened and will be joined by Banfield Pet Hospital in 2015.

On the hospitality front we will have seen three new hotels deliver with approximately 533 hotel rooms further reinforcing our neighborhood as a new hospitality district on the river only five Metro stops from the Walter Washington Convention Center. And the new IKON movie theater complex just west of Nationals Park will provide 16 screens for movie viewings with a restaurant and bar on the top floor overlooking the Anacostia River. Additional residential buildings and retail uses will be a part of the project as well. The DC Council approved the Land Development Agreement (LDA) in December 2014 that allows Forest City to begin the process of acquiring the site for the theater development.

And the Council also approved the financial deal and location for a new DC United Soccer stadium that will be built in the Buzzard Point section of our BID, providing an anchor for this future mixed-use area that would include additional housing, office, retail and restaurant uses. The soccer stadium could open as early as summer of 2017. Buzzard Point could also see the development of additional parks and access to the river, as well as the continuation of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.

As the Anacostia River exhibits higher water quality we will see more and more marinas developed along the water’s edge, beginning with a marina off of Yards Park. The Florida Rock mixed-use project is envisioned to have a boat docks, and we hope that the Buzzard Point riverfront will include additional marina development. The residential project east of the 11th Street bridges at 1333 M Street is planning new green space and a marina on the river that will engage the “boathouse row” section of the Anacostia as well.

Tingey, Water and First Streets, SE will be known as our neighborhood shopping streets, and the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and Tingey Street will become a great urban plaza and gathering space for the community (Tingey Square) – a piazza for community celebrations that will be fronted by residential and commercial buildings with ground floor retail.

Additional residential development as part of the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg public housing complex rebuild will enframe Canal Park on its east side, further defining its role as a neighborhood centric park that provides open space as a front yard for our residents. And partially due to the residential growth in the Capitol Riverfront, the DC Public Schools will have renovated and reopened the Van Ness Elementary School for the 2015-2016 school year.

Another part of our civic infrastructure will be the opening of the community center for the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg section of our neighborhood. It will provide services for children, families and seniors, and hopefully have child care facilities for our community.

A new Frederick Douglas Bridge and memorial ellipse will be opening in four to five years, providing enhanced access to the neighborhood and our city from the south. South Capitol Street itself will be rebuilt into a grand urban boulevard befitting the approach from the south to the US Capitol building and complex. Once this new bridge is completed, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will be extended from the Florida Rock site to Buzzard point and eventually connect to the Wharf project and SW Waterfront. This will help people to access and enjoy what is becoming a magnificent waterfront for the District in SE and SW Washington.

It is anticipated that the regional office market will have stabilized in 4-5 years and begin to exhibit growth again. The Capitol Riverfront will be well positioned for that next wave of office growth with proximity to the US Capitol, the St. Elizabeth’s campus, the Navy Yard campus and the Pentagon, as well as enhanced accessibility from the region. More and more young professionals are choosing to live on the Green Line, giving companies that locate in the Capitol Riverfront a “one seat ride” to work for their employees.

Our community building and events will continue as we celebrate all four seasons in the Capitol Riverfront in our parks and open spaces. Snallygaster, Jazz Fest at the Capitol Riverfront, VegFest, Tour de Fat, and our Friday night concert series are all returning in 2015, and you will already have experienced Noon Yards Eve in Yards Park and the NHL Winter Classic hockey game at Nats Park. Ice skating at Canal Park is a seasonal favorite and is now accompanied by the Parcel Market holiday market which will return next year as well.

The vision for our neighborhood started over 20 years ago with the idea that the Southeast Federal Center acreage could be more that an office complex; it could be the centerpiece of the revitalization of the southeast waterfront by being planned as a mixed-use, high density neighborhood with residential surrounding a great riverfront park. The Clinton administration, Congresswoman Norton and various GSA officials should be commended for this vision of a vibrant waterfront neighborhood that is now being realized in the Yards development as part of the Capitol Riverfront.

And Mayor Williams and his administration should be commended and thanked for their vision of the Anacostia River corridor as a new centerpiece for the east side of our city. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) Framework Plan prepared by Andy Altman and the DC Office of Planning and that was adopted in 2003 set the stage for a clean Anacostia River, new communities on either side of the river, new parks and a riverwalk trail providing access to the river, and new infrastructure to support new development and a world class waterfront for the District.

The Capitol Riverfront is a part of that journey and vision, and we hope that this summary of our collective efforts has illustrated all that is to come as we achieve 50% of our projected build-out. On behalf of the Capitol Riverfront BID, our board of directors, the Clean & Safe Teams, and our professional staff we wish you a Happy New Year! Please come join us by the river and celebrate all the seasons in the Capitol Riverfront.

100 Montaditos now open in the Boilermaker Shops at The Yards.

Michael Stevens is President of the Capitol Riverfront BID (capitolriverfront.org).

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