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The Southwest waterfront reminds me of Savannah, or perhaps, the less impressive and aristocratic parts of Charleston. I’ve only been to both places once. But why go back when I can just jump on the Metro and head down to our own version of a sweet, old-fashioned, sleepy southern town?

I last visited Southwest in June. Here’s what I saw: empty streets, overgrown tufts of grass, vacant apartment buildings with broken blinds and other busted things in the windows, and a collection of block-like brick buildings—-presumably government-subsidized housing—-with laundry lines and fluttering white sheets and clothes. Also, there was clanging. Nothing says coastal, early-American shipping town like a little ClaaaAAAAaaang!!! (I think the sounds originated at a condo project, though I can’t be sure.)

The place is crying out for a little development. No, sorry, correction: a lot, lot, lot of development. And now apparently, the District has selected a team to tackle this task.

Yesterday, the city announced a Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) with Hoffman-Struever Waterfront LLC that will allow the company to transform the Southwest Waterfront into a $1.5 billion “world-class mixed-use waterfront destination,” according to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. I checked over at the website for PN Hoffman. Here is a rundown of what’s in the works:

  • Housing – approximately 650 units of market-rate residential and 290 units of affordable housing.

  • Cultural – a 150,000 square foot cultural component focused on education.

  • Hotel – 360 hotel rooms.

  • Neighborhood amenities – neighborhood-serving retail such as a gourmet grocery, casual and upscale dining, cafes, shops and opportunities for local, small retailers.

  • Parks – 14 acres of parks, open space, and promenades throughout the project.

  • Water-focused development – significant improvements to the existing marina and pier facilities.

  • Sustainable Design – the first LEED-Silver certified mixed-use project in the city.

  • Significant local, small and disadvantaged business enterprises (LSDBE) Participation – participation by Washington DC-based LSDBE team members in all aspects of the project, including ownership. (More from the press release after the jump.)

The vision organizes the site into three districts that will link an expansive pedestrian promenade along the Washington Channel:

  • City Pier District: The northwest end of the site will be the more active district of the development, due to its proximity to the National Mall, L’Enfant Plaza and the active historic fish market. It will contain the majority of the restaurant and retail uses and is the location of 360 hotel rooms. Additional features include a fresh produce market pier to enhance the existing fish market, a water taxi service connecting the Southwest Waterfront with the new baseball stadium, Old Town Alexandria, Georgetown and other destinations, a performance space for cultural use, and a pedestrian bridge at 10th Street, linking the site to the National Mall.

  • Cultural Park District: The southeastern end of the project, closest to existing neighborhoods, is the least intense development area. The cultural park itself is a 5.5-acre green park that will be the centerpiece of the cultural zone. Cultural uses will feature educational opportunities at the water, such as programs by Living Classrooms Foundation and the National Maritime Heritage Foundation.

  • Esplanade District: The central core of the project features a substantial amount of apartment and condominium development, a small amount of office space, and neighborhood-serving retail such as a gourmet grocery, small neighborhood bistros and waterfront cafes