Over the last month, my e-mail inbox has been a blur of press releases and information about the Southwest waterfront and the Southeast waterfront. Really, it’s hard to keep everything straight. So, when I got some information about a $42 million park ambiguously located somewhere down by the Anacostia, I decided to ask a simple question: Where’s this thing going to be actually? The project’s developer is Forest City. Their local Director of Marketing Gary McManus kindly responded to my inquiries.
So, where is this park located?
It’s not like on anybody’s maps or anything. The west end of the park is bounded by second street—-now second street doesn’t exist yet. But, if you see where it is on a city map north of M Street—-if you follow the street down, that would give it to you. The east boundary is the existing Navy area, which is about fifth street. The north end of the park, also doesn’t exist, but it’s Water Street.
How much progress has been made on the entire project? What is the status of the development?
All of the infrastructure work is done, which means they’ve extended utility lines under the site for future construction because it used to be Navy Yard land…There’s been an awful lot of grating done to bring the site above the floodplain. And the street grid has started to be created. The first building’s under construction—-there are several existing Navy Yard buildings, like former industrial buildings on the site that are historically protected, that we’re readapting into other uses.
- So, the first one is what will be an apartment building called Foundry Lofts, which 170 loft apartments. That’s under construction. It’s supposed to open in Spring of 2010.
- Then, just north of that is a great old building called the Boilermaker Shop. That building isn’t under construction yet. But, that’s going to be a retail center with restaurants and shops and that kind of stuff. And we’re currently seeking retailers for that, and as I am sure you can appreciate, in this kind of economy, a lender wants to see a building fairly well leased up before they’ll give you a construction loan.
- Then, down in the park, there are three retail pavilions, which are kind of like a lot of glass, and provide the opportunity for riverfront dining, and shops. Those three kind of enclose a courtyard, which opens on the river. One of those buildings is existing and historically protected—-it’s called the Lumber Shed, and the other two buildings would be new construction.
What is the first building that’s going to be completed?
The Foundry Lofts—-and then shortly thereafter, the Boilermaker Shops, which is just behind the Foundry Lofts.
If I were to go to this parcel of land right now, what would I see?
You would see the Foundry Lofts building with no windows and a big crane, and all kinds of construction. You would see a bunch of earth movers, moving things down around on the river in preparation for the park—-and that’s about it right now. We’re trying to get the apartment building closed, so they can work on it through the bad (winter) weather.