DC's Houseboat Community Makes A Move

  • November 8th 2013

by Shilpi Paul

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DC's Houseboat Community Makes A Move: Figure 1
From The Wharf’s Stage 2 Phase 1 PUD Application.

As developers prepare to begin construction on the massive SW DC project The Wharf, one group is making a watery exit from the construction zone: the live-aboards of the Gangplank Marina (map).

The live-aboards are the year-round residents of DC’s one and only houseboat community. The houseboats account for one-third of all the boat slips available at the marina, making the Gangplank Marina one of the largest live-aboard communities on the east coast. Over the years, it has been home to members of Congress, agency heads, and artists, among others.

In an agreement struck by the Gangplank Slipholders Association (GPSA), developer Hoffman Madison Waterfront, and the city, those who live on the northwestern end of the houseboat community will spend the next month moving their boats from their current location to vacant slips in the A,B,C, and D Docks. (Here is a diagram of the docks and slips at the marina). About 40 slipholders are impacted, as their docks will be demolished.

Karen Anderson, the current President of the GPSA, will be moving from the westernmost side of the Marina to Dock C. While still on the water, the surroundings will change. “My new slip is very exposed to the public and will take a lot of getting used to,” she told UrbanTurf.

DC's Houseboat Community Makes A Move: Figure 2
A Live-Aboard Boat at The Gangplank Marina

Despite the move, the agreement ensures that all 94 live-aboards will eventually have slips in the new marina. All the existing docks will be demolished, but Hoffman Madison has agreed to work in phases, so that there will always be a sufficient number of slips to accommodate the boats during construction. While the timeline for the new marina is not set in stone, the residents will be welcomed back when the time comes.

Nevertheless, the move does mark the end of an era. “The long, lettered docks we live on are like neighborhoods, and we are mourning their passing,” Anderson said. “In close quarters like the Marina, you come to terms with the idiosyncrasies of your neighbors. The last two months have been full of goodbyes.”

All the moves will be complete by December 1st, and the groundbreaking of The Wharf is estimated to follow soon afterwards.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/gangplank_marina_live-aboards_shifted_as_the_wharf_prepares_for_groundbreak/7800.

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