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(Foster and Partners)

As downtown projects get moving left and right, the massive office-retail-residential complex planned for the old convention center site bounded by 9th Street, 11th Street, H Street and New York Avenue is the biggest thing still hanging out there. It was dealt a blow earlier this summer, when mega-law firm Skadden Arps Meagher and Flom backed out of a tentative lease, which would have anchored the project. But as the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, developers are increasingly building on spec, counting on someone signing on to fill the space before it has a chance to sit empty. That’s what appears to be happening at CityCenterDC: Hines vice president Howard Riker tells Housing Complex that the project will still break ground in spring of next year.

Although it’s quite possible that another large tenant is in the works. “We are not in a position to provide more information at this time, but may be shortly,” Riker said.

In the mean time, Hines is getting its contractors on board—a pre-development meeting was held on September 8th, and it looks like everybody and their mother wants a piece of this one.