Success Of Nationals Park Exemplifies Transformation Of Capitol Riverfront
Opened in 2008, the arrival of the $670M Nationals Park helped catalyze residential construction in the Capitol Riverfront, which continues today.
The project transformed a bleak and desolate 500-acre neighborhood, which was contentious due to its hefty price tag. Few now will argue that the investment hasn’t paid dividends — in tax revenue, neighborhood image rehabilitation, new jobs and community pride.
With a capacity of 41,300, the park hosts the MLB-standard 81 games each year, and is home to a team estimated by Forbes last March to be worth $1.3B, the ninth-most valuable in baseball. The team draws 2.5 million visitors to Nationals Park every year.
The triumph of the redevelopment has reverberated throughout Southeast. Upon visiting the rapidly growing area, many longtime DC-area residents are stunned to find their preconceived notions of the neighborhood shattered.
Owing to the efforts of the Capitol Riverfront BID and its carefully allocated tax revenue of around $2M/year, public perception of the neighborhood is changing. Ambitious mixed-use projects bring attractive retail, good food and highly amenitized new apartments and office space.
The once filthy river is being cleaned up by DC Water through its Clean Rivers Project in combination with a coalition of nonprofit organizations. Their attention and expenditures have improved the area, which is now set off by an expansive Riverwalk, tremendously. Parks and design elements dot the landscape, drawing families and children. The area has been rendered undeniably livable, and the park's arrival is undoubtedly responsible for precipitating positive change within its vicinity.
An area once characterized by aesthetically repugnant, defunct light industrial is now unrecognizable, filling in and rapidly densifying around a park nexus. Residents hope the new D.C. United Stadium, to be called Audi Field and anticipated to hold 19,000, will have a similar effect.