Down at the Wharf
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Get used to that expression. On a lovely spring evening in a couple of years, it’s what your friends might text, when you ask where they are. If so, you can thank co-Wharf developer Madison Marquette, which calls its specialty “placemaking.”
Partnering with PN Hoffman, which does the residential and construction, Madison Marquette handles the retail, office, capital markets and atmosphere. At $2B, the project is arguably the biggest private development in the history of Washington. In an effort to live and breathe it and test life on the waterfront, the firm moved its own 62-emplyee office there from 2001 Penn two weeks ago. Thursday evening we snapped founder Amer Hammour, left, and president Eric Hohmann as they introduced Form Design Studios' Wendy Burger, architect of their 20k SF build-out.
Wendy converted the entire second floor of the 43-year-old Channel Inn (which eventually will be replaced) into open and airy spaces, polished concrete floors, reclaimed wood finishes and steel barn doors. In other words, all the features of today’s Millennial-inspired creative office, which they hope will become a staple there.
Are there more cranes anywhere else in DC? You need ‘em for the Phase 1 of three hotels, two office building, 675 rental units in two apartment buildings, 112 luxury condos, a 6,000-seat concert hall, and 150k SF of retail, including 15 restaurants. Crews are pounding 30 to 35 piles a day, they tell us, hauling out as many truckloads of debris, and otherwise in full excavation mode with Clark Construction and Perkins Eastman architects. Next benchmark: building pad delivery and the pouring of foundations and garage this summer, which will top out in a year.
Yesterday, Madison Marquette chief investment officer David Brainerd demonstrated what it’s like to walk outside your office at the Wharf. The Massachusetts native has spent much time on Cape Cod and now can feel even more at home. He says they’ll not only preserve the fish market that’s been here 200 years, but hope to expand it into a much larger public market as grew around it in the late 1800s. The firm has plenty of experience to carry out its visions: it revitalized Asbury Park’s oceanfront in New Jersey from a deserted boardwalk into a thriving destination for 1.5 million visitors a year; District La Brea in LA from vacant industrial buildings into a vibrant hub of cutting-edge shopping; and Bay Street Emeryville at the foot of Oakland’s Bay Bridge from a brownfield site into a new downtown with more than 1M SF of mixed-use.
Kind of amazing that Pierre L’Enfant presented his design for the Federal City to George Washington in 1791, intended to highlight the Potomac, and yet DC is really only getting there in a big way 225 years later. Perhaps because Amer Hammour grew up partly in Lebanon, speaks French, and actually understands what L’Enfant was trying to say?
We're proud that Madison Marquette, one of the nation's pre-eminent retail developers, is a Founding Partner of the Bisnow Beltway Bash, which we'll be holding during ICSC Recon in Las Vegas on the evening of May 18. Please join us, or contact Chris Wainwright of Bisnow for more information.