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October 1, 2008

A couple weeks ago we partnered with sponsors JPI and the Capitol Riverfront BID to host a Happy Hour on the rooftop of the Jefferson in SE. Our purpose was to thank readers; our sponsors' purpose was to introduce the world more to their new area of DC. The latter worked on us: Our eyes were opened to an area we'd not fully appreciated. We'll be using today and tomorrow to fill you in.


As the sun sets on the first season at Nats Park, a dramatic new neighborhood is rising on the banks of the Anacostia River. Folks, if you learn only one thing from us today: Don't call this the "baseball district," as we used to. The stadium has been the catalyst for a far bigger and more varied new area, "Capitol Riverfront." Say it five times. And realize it ain't just marketing. The cranes have long left the stadium, and are now spread out for many blocks in other directions to build a massive mixed-use area between the Capitol and the river on a scale not before seen in DC.


This is not a crowd for game day, but regular rush hour workers alighting from the Green Line at the Navy Yard Metro on a recent morning. Sure, we know about the offices, condos, and retail planned for Half Street as you get off the subway and walk to the stadium. But that's the tip of the iceberg. In the surrounding area are already 2,000 residential units, a Courtyard Marriott, 35,000 daytime workers and over 6M SF of existing office including DOT, the Navy Yard, contractors, engineers, architects, and non-profits. And over the next decade, another 10 million SF of office is planned for a total work force of 100,000, plus 9,000 residential units (about 16,000 people), 900k SF retail, and 1200 hotel rooms.


We snapped this last Saturday morning of BID executive director Michael Stevens at the annual Barracks Row Oktoberfest on 8th Street, whose 21 restaurants (Matchbox opens in November) link Capitol Hill and Capitol Riverfront. Michael lives on the Hill and tells us that's where he often grabs dinner. He says the Capitol is just a 15 minute walk from the stadium (he's timed it) and Blue/Orange lines at the "other" Metro station (Capitol South) only 12 minutes.

Capitol Riverfront

The BID's Ted Skirbunt and Claire Schaefer also at Oktoberfest on Saturday spreading the word. What these two really talk up are the three major parks—The Yards Park (5.5 acres on the river), Canal Park (to be a model of environmental sustainability), and Diamond Teague Park (at the foot of ballpark with docks for future water taxis and kayaks). The latter will open late '09 then the others early '10. The vision: families coming for a day at the parks, seeing concerts, jogging, boating, and of course flying kites.


We want to walk you through this area, as we did ourselves the last few days. Capitol Riverfront is 500 acres bounded by South Capitol on the west (except for a jog at Buzzard's Point over to 2nd St, SW); the Anacostia River on the south; I-395 on the north; and 15th street in the east. Here's a summary of office space by owner (the locations bolded are either built or under construction):

  • Akridge (Half Street, 100 V SW, First St)
  • Brickman (1201 M, 1220 12th)
  • Donohoe (1111 New Jersey)
  • Douglas (1900 Half St SW)
  • DRI (Plaza on K-88 K)
  • Forest City (600 M SE, 401 M)
  • JBG (DOT)
  • Lerner (20 M, 1000 South Capitol)
  • Monday Real Estate (Coast Guard HQ)
  • Monument (55 M, 50 M)
  • Opus (100 M, 1015 Half St)
  • Potomac Investments (300 M)
  • Ruben Companies (1100 South Capitol)
  • Spaulding & Slye Colliers (80 M SE)
  • William C. Smith (1100 N.J., 250 M, 800 N.J.)

JBG developed the new 1.35M SF DOT headquarters, which opened in April '07. It sits on 11 acres, houses 6,500 employees, and has a 65,000 SF green roof (largest in DC). The Starbucks in a corner pavilion matches the architecture and is always busy. A plaza area in back hosts summer lunchtime concerts and there is a Farmers Market every Tuesday.


This is William C. Smith's Co's Konrad Schlater (who joined two months ago from the Deputy Major's Office)  at 1100 New Jersey Ave. pointing up the street to the Capitol. Smith has its HQ here together with a CVS, Chevy Chase Bank, Five Guys and Subway on the ground floor; next door is its second planned property at 250 M, and Konrad's working on pre-development for a third at 800 New Jersey with 1.5 M SF of mixed use.


"This is the new neighborhood," says Opus East's Steve Cohen, standing atop 100 M. Opus is finishing up construction on 225k SF there, 40% leased, with the top four floors taken by Parsons Corporation's global transportation unit. 10k SF is available on the ground floor for a restaurant. Also under construction by Opus: 1015 Half Street, a 430k SF building to deliver 2Q '10.


The 180k SF Lerner building at 20 M is one of DC's only LEED gold certified buildings and probably one you've passed if you park in a lot at the stadium. Wachovia had a soft opening a few weeks ago and has a grand opening this Friday. (Or do we call it Citibank?)


Doug Olson, Michael Darby, and Russell Hines of Monument show off the view of the ballpark atop 55 M Street. The 275k SF Class A is directly above the Navy Yard metro and is the only new office bldg in DC to use terra cotta as a fa?ade. It delivers 1Q 2009.


Akridge is developing the west side of Half Street from the M Street office corridor to the doorstep of the ballpark. Adam Gooch (left), project manager for its 704k SF mixed-use 25 M Street, is here with colleague Dodd Walker. Construction should be underway in 2010.  They may want to remove their coats and ties then.


Reznick Group
Brookfield Properties
Capitol Riverfront
Stout and Teague
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