Development Watch: The Wharf and Georgetown 2028

There are so many exciting things happening in Washington D.C., it’s hard to keep them all straight! Aside from the many apartment complexes that are literally transforming notoriously “questionable” neighborhoods into desirable, hip and fashionable ones, we are also seeing some exciting rebranding for our Nation’s Capitol. With a backdrop as historical and politically relevant as that of D.C., the developments currently underway are sure to make our city even more of a tourist attraction, while also attracting young professionals and budding business opportunity. With this and the expansion and improvement of our DC metro, I foresee a variety of investment opportunity in the next few years!

Here are a couple of developments to keep an eye on:

Developers: PN Hoffman & Associates, Madison Marquette 

I am already such a fan of this developing “mix-living” neighborhood that will combine residential living, employment, recreation and shopping; similar to the neighborhood style of Manhattan. The Wharf is a $2 billion development that extends along the Potomac River from the Maine Avenue Fish Wharf to Ft. McNair. The Maine Avenue Fish Wharf is one of the oldest operating fish markets in the country, dating back to 1805. It will continue operation but become part of a larger market that will offer a range of products. Additionally, the very underutilized Southwest Waterfront which currently houses the Arena Stage, Capital Yacht Clubs, Gangplank Marinas, several restaurants and few nightclubs, is being transformed into an urban destination that mixes maritime activity and commerce with culture. We will soon be welcoming a riverfront community that includes restaurants, shops, condominiums, apartment buildings, hotels, marinas, a waterfront park and an expanded riverfront promenade with public access to the water; all walking distance from the National Mall. The Washington Marina and the Gangplank Marina will be expanded and the 7th Street Pier will support a variety of water activities. The closest Metro Stations are currently Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza, but there will be additional transportation constructed for easy accessibility including redesigned walkways, water taxis and streetcars. We’ll be able to say hello to the first phase by 2017!

Click on the image below to listen to developer, Monty Hoffman, speak more about the future Wharf:

Screenshot 2015-01-14 12.09.05

Developers: Business Improvement Development 

Georgetown is one of my favorite neighborhoods and I consider myself lucky to work here. It’s historic brick and cobblestone streets are both inspiring and charming, and the multimillion dollar mansions dating back to the mid-1700s offers some very impressive eye candy! However, as of 2013, Georgetown has begun a slow and steady 15 year long facelift. Transportation issues, the loss of boutiques and independent restaurants and retailers, as well as chronically high office vacancy rates have resulted in a necessary step-in by the Business Improvement District (BID) to commence a plan to update Georgetown to attract more tourists and improve the employment landscape.

The BID’s list of improvements include the need for restoration of our historic C&O Canal which has suffered from cutbacks from the National Park Service Budget. In addition to rebuilding the narrow, uneven towpath to include benches and room for bikers and joggers, the Georgetown Canal Boat, which was used for 30 years for historic tours and educational purposes, will be recommissioned to serve as the anchor for a vibrant park where one can paddle boat, jog, bike, or of course, relax. The goal is to make this tourist attraction safe, beautiful and better maintained for tourists and locals.

Screenshot 2015-01-15 10.54.57Due to lack of traffic south of M street, Georgetown Boutiques and independent restaurants have had to leave their shops to follow traffic further up Wisconsin Avenue, or left Georgetown altogether. Additionally, office vacancy rates are at a chronic low in Georgetown! It just so happens that south of M street is also home to 80% of the neighborhood’s commercial office space. The recent opening of the Waterfront Park adjacent to Washington Harbour, their new [seasonal] ice skating rink, as well as the up and coming streetcar route that will begin operation on K street before 2020 are all part of Georgetown’s 2028 plan to extend Georgetown traffic south of M street where more businesses can enjoy profit, empty offices and stores will be more appealing to buyers, and a vibrant waterfront community can be developed. The BID is also working to turn ground floors of office buildings into restaurants and retail space in an effort to offer more to tourists and shopping locals but also to find ways to reduce office vacancies faster, which will of course benefit the economic landscape.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, transportation is looking to improve in Georgetown. Hurrah! BID plans to bring a streetcar with a dedicated lane and a fancy gondola to connect the nearby Rosslyn metro with Georgetown’s commercial district. While these two additional options open, plans for a neighborhood metro are also underway. The transportation plans will undoubtedly be another helpful benefit in the office market!

Screenshot 2015-01-15 10.56.04

Take a look at Georgetown’s detailed plan here. 

To say it’s an exciting time to consider investing in Washington D.C. would be an understatement. Feel free to contact me with any questions about developing D.C. neighborhoods.

More to come!

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