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Scenes From The Wharf's Grand Opening Ceremony

The Wharf Grand opening ceremoy
Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Madison Marquette Chairman Amer Hammour, PN Hoffman's Shawn Seaman and Monty Hoffman, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council Member Charles Allen smashing champagne bottles to celebrate The Wharf's grand opening

The big day finally arrived for The Wharf Thursday as the development team, city officials and hundreds of guests gathered on the new District Pier to celebrate the megaproject's grand opening. 

The Hoffman-Madison Waterfront team pulled out all the stops for the festive celebration. It began with the chorus from the Duke Ellington School singing the national anthem, with the Eastern High School marching band providing the music. Confetti rained down following the national anthem, and the event ended with those on stage smashing champaign bottles, setting off a series of daytime fireworks. 

Monty Hoffman Wharf Grand Opening
PN Hoffman CEO Monty Hoffman at The Wharf's grand opening ceremony

PN Hoffman CEO Monty Hoffman, who has worked on the development for more than a decade, had dozens of partners to thank as he looked back on the lengthy process and introduced guests to the first phase of the $2.5B waterfront development. 

Phase 1 features three hotels, two office buildings, two apartment buildings, two condo buildings, a 6,000-person concert venue and dozens of restaurants and retailers. Hoffman said his team would spend the weekend celebrating the completion of the massive first phase before getting back to work Monday on the development's 1.2M SF Phase 2

Mayor Bowser Wharf Grand opening ceremony
Mayor Muriel Bowser at The Wharf's grand opening ceremony

Mayor Muriel Bowser recounted how she began talking with The Wharf's developers when she was Ward 4 council member. Even though it was not in her jurisdiction, she said she understood the importance of the project to the city, and she would later take a larger role as chair of the council's committee on economic development, and then as mayor. 

The District awarded the project, built on D.C.-owned land, to the development team in late 2006. It then approved $198M in public financing in 2008. 

"The Wharf is an example of how the government and private sector can work together to enhance a neighborhood," Bowser said. 

The Wharf Grand Opening 450 people seated
The audience on District Pier for The Wharf's grand opening ceremony

Roughly 450 guests were seated on District Pier for the celebration, with more standing back on Wharf Street, the promenade that runs along the water in front of the buildings. 

The 11 a.m. ceremony was just the beginning of the day's events. Kevin Bacon's folk rock band The Bacon Brothers will perform a free outdoor concert on the pier at 5 p.m. Sunset fireworks will be set off at 6:30. For those lucky enough to secure tickets, the Foo Fighters will headline the opening show at The Anthem at 8 p.m.