Capitol Riverfront: An Ever Evolving Neighborhood

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Buzzard Point at buildout.

The Capitol Riverfront neighborhood continues to grow and expand as a new growth community in Washington, DC on the banks of the Anacostia River. Multiple construction cranes can be seen on the skyline, and there are 20 building projects underway throughout the neighborhood. Development is occurring in all market segments and Capitol Riverfront has become DC’s fastest growing neighborhood with respect to total square footage under construction, number of residential units being delivered, and population growth.

The popularity of Capitol Riverfront has been shaped by numerous factors that continue to differentiate the neighborhood:

  • The Anacostia River and its ongoing clean-up help brand us as riverfront community with abundant outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Two world class parks and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail define an outdoor recreational ethos and access to open space for leisure, community events, and recreation.
  • Metro’s Green Line has become a popular transit corridor as it connects to a number of mixed-use neighborhoods and activities, and provides access to the riverfront.
  • Two sports stadiums provide baseball and soccer fans entertainment from April through October, and both stadiums provide venues for concerts and other sports related activities.
  • Two grocery stores and over 58 restaurants contribute to the neighborhood retail scene and offer amenities that you can walk to.

The residential market continues to grow at a remarkable rate, with 17 residential projects under construction containing over 4,800 units. The unit mix is diversifying with two condo projects having delivered and three more under construction:

  • The Emblem on Lower 8th, SE – 21 units and sold out
  • The Bower at 4th & Tingey, SE – 128 units and 85% sold out
  • The eNvy at Half & N Street, SE – 145 units and still under construction
  • The Avidian at South Capitol, SE – 125 units and still under construction
  • Peninsula 88 – 110 units and still under construction
Jair Lynchís eNvy condominium project

The office market is growing as well, with two office buildings under construction and a third building at 25 M Street under active leasing. The headquarters building for the National Association of Broadcasters will deliver in the fall 2019 at 1 M Street, while the new headquarters building for DDOT at 250 M Street will deliver in late 2021. Chemonics, an international development company is consolidating offices into a new 295,000 SF headquarters building that will begin construction by the end of 2019 in Yards West. Capitol Riverfront’s office population is currently 34,000 workers and is anticipated to grow by another 1,500 over the next three years.

The Ballpark subarea of the neighborhood is fast approaching buildout, with four residential buildings and one office building under construction. At build-out this area will have over 3 million SF of development including the following:

  • 1,971 Multi-family apartment units (Dock 79, F1RST, The Maren, West Half, 1250 & 1221 Van)
  • Two condo buildings containing a total of 289 for-sale units (the Avidian & eNvy)
  • Approximately 140,000 SF of retail including Punch Bowl Social, Atlas Brew Works, Union Kitchen, and The Gatsby Restaurant
  • Four office buildings containing 808,000 SF of tenant space (55 M, 99 M, 1M & 25 M Street)
  • Two hotels with 338 rooms (Hampton Inn & Suites, Marriott Residence Inn)
RiverPoint at Buzzard Point in Capitol Riverfront

Fast-Growing Buzzard Point
Buzzard Point is another subarea of Capitol Riverfront that is experiencing rapid development, with three residential buildings containing approximately 1,000 new housing units currently under construction.

  • River Point is a renovation of the former Coast Guard office building into 485 multi-family apartments and approximately 65,000 SF of retail/restaurant space. Located at 2100 2nd Street SW Riverpoint has extensive frontage on the Anacostia River at the tip of Buzzard Point.
  • 1900 Half Street is another conversion of a former office building into 414 apartment units and 20,000 SF of retail space. Located on the east side of Buzzard Point it also has extensive frontage on the Anacostia.
  • Peninsula 88 is a 110 unit condominium building under construction adjacent to and east of Riverpoint. It has a small amount of retail space at 1,800 SF, but its major sell point is ownership opportunity directly on the river with unimpeded water views.

Audi Field serves as an anchor for this subarea but, like the entire Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, water frontage is one of the major appeals of Buzzard Point. Plans are in place to bring the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail around the point to 2nd Street, and then connect north to P Street SW. Upon completion of the new Frederick Douglass Bridge in 2021 the riverwalk trail can be built under the bridge, thereby connecting the southeast to the southwest quadrant along the river’s edge.

Half Street streetscape at buildout

Buzzard Point will be one of the most dense areas in terms of development. By zoning it can accommodate another five million SF of new mixed-use construction, which is more than The Wharf and the equivalent of The Yards and Yards West. New development will be predominantly residential, but there will be new retail, office, and hotel uses as well. Future development parcels include:

  • 100 V Street SW – this large three-acre parcel south of Audi Field currently serves as surface parking, but is planned to have approximately two million SF of mixed-use development. Akridge is the developer, and the site will have up to 80,000 SF of new retail and a curvilinear, pedestrian-scale street oriented north/south. The project will contain multi-family apartments and possibly office space.
  • Audi Field (Parcel B) – this currently vacant parcel to the east of the soccer stadium will be developed by PN Hoffman as a mixed-use project. They are in the early phases of master planning and probably would not break ground for another two years.
  • Steuart Investment site – currently functioning as a concrete manufacturing plant, these squares are being planned as a major mixed-use project that could include up to 1.5 million SF of development.
  • MRP/Florida Rock – this site is home to Ziegfeld’s/Secrets and a rock crushing plant. It is anticipated to contain several hundred residential units and ground floor retail.
  • Toll Brothers ) – this parcel on the north side of Potomac Avenue has been acquired by Toll Brothers and envisioned as a new apartment building with ground floor retail.

Buzzard Point property owners are working with the National Park Service in hopes that a new park can be created on the existing NPS lands that will provide open space on the river for this growing population.

The new Frederick Douglass Bridge continues construction with a completion date of late 2021. You can now see several of the frames for the concrete structural supports in place in the river. Work is occurring on the east and west side of the Anacostia, with both sides receiving memorial ellipses as part of the South Capitol Street Gateway plan. The new bridge will be an important gateway to the city and Capitol Riverfront, and it is hoped that the two ellipses will become well used open space.

Capitol Riverfront continues to evolve on its way to a total buildout of 37.5 million SF with a total population of over 30,000+ residents. The neighborhood is approaching approximately 70% buildout, and is on its way to over 14,000 residents in the next two years (currently at 10,000+ residents). It has been an interesting journey to see former industrial/manufacturing lands and the Anacostia River be rediscovered and rebuilt as a new waterfront community.

 

Michael Stevens, AICP is president of the Capitol Riverfront BID.