Despite the current economic crisis, progress continues on Capitol Riverfront, DC’s newest neighborhood surrounding Nationals Stadium. Although construction has slowed down, Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (BID) says that the the neighborhood’s projected deadline has always allowed for a 25-year process.
“The current recession impacts everyone,” Stevens said. “However, when everything’s done there should be 34 million square feet of commercial development in this area. Right now, we have 9.2 [million], so we’re a quarter of the way done five years into the project.”
Currently, 50 percent of the residential units in the area have been sold or leased. By the end of 2009, the number of residents should be approaching 2,000 and by the time all projects are complete, estimates are that the area population will be over 18,000. The average price for a condo in the area is about $446 per square foot, which is pretty affordable compared with the city-wide average of $510.
Stevens told UrbanTurf that by the end of the year, the area will not look substantially different than it does today. However, he notes that people who purchased homes in the area know that the Capitol Riverfront is a work in progress.
“Most people leasing the apartments are in their mid to late 20’s or early 30’s,” Stevens said. “Many are first-time buyers or empty nesters that want a more urban environment.”
In Urban Turf’s October 2008 update on the area, a number of buildings were mentioned which had anticipated 2009 completion dates. With the exception of two, most have either already opened or are expected to open within the year, according to Ted Skirbunt, Director of Research and Information Systems for the BID.
Seventy-five percent of the Capitol Quarter townhouses will be completed by the end of 2009, and the remaining houses will be finished by early 2010.
100 M Street, a 12-story Class A office building, delivered in December 2008. It is currently open and 50 percent leased.
The 909 at Capitol Yards, an apartment building with retail space, Asian-style spa and fitness center, opened the weekend of April 3rd.
The Yards Foundry Lofts was scheduled to open in the Fall of 2009, however the project has been delayed and both the apartments and retail space are not expected to be completed until the middle of next year.
One common concern about the Capitol Riverfront is the lack of everyday amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies and dry cleaners.
Currently there is a Capital Cleaners as well as a CVS among the recently opened businesses available to residents. While the area already has a Five Guys and Starbucks, a Corner Copia Deli is expected to open next month and Skirbunt tells us that a café will likely open at Velocity Condos in August.
The neighborhood still lacks a grocery store, though. For now, three grocery stores are available to residents, all just under a mile from the center of the Riverfront: Harris Teeter at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Safeway at 4th and M Street SW and YES! Organic Market at 658 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
Stevens notes that retail is typically the last to enter a project like the Capitol Riverfront. The goal of developers is to get the residential projects completed before focusing on other amenities.
Despite the constant construction, the Capitol Riverfront BID has events planned for this upcoming summer that it hopes will draw both residents and visitors.
Perhaps the biggest draw at the moment is the Billy Joel and Elton John concert in July, but the area will also host ten outdoor movies throughout the summer, and there will be a farmer’s market starting in May. Oh, and of course the Nats will be playing all summer long.
Stevens also talked about Artomatic, the annual multimedia arts event celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer. This year’s event will take place at Half Street’s 55 M Street SE.
“We’re witnessing the birth of a new downtown in a short period of time,” he said. “There are already two new parks and hundreds more residential units and retail space to come.”
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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/capitol_riverfront_25_done/800.
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