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Waterside Station Development On Schedule: Fenty

As a sprinkle of fine dust rained from the big construction site behind him, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) announced that the Waterside Station project in Southwest was "topped off" and is on schedule for the opening of its first phase about a year from now.

"We couldn't be more excited," the mayor said.

D.C. government departments will occupy 1.2 million square feet of office space at the new Waterside Station, which replaces the dilapidated Waterside Mall. The first phase is expected to be completed in March 2010.

One thousand residential units will be added in subsequent phases, along with underground parking and 110,000 square feet of retail space. Located at M and 4th streets, outside the Waterside/Southeastern University metrorail stop, the construction site is a block away from Arena Stage, which is also being redeveloped, and a short walk from Nationals Park.

Fenty kept his remarks short, he said, "so that the workers can get back to work" on the largest development in Southwest in decades.

Other than construction, there is little to see at the site now. As D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) noted, there is no sit-down restaurant or even a coffee shop. A CVS store and Bank of America branch sit in trailers. Area residents often stand in dim light and long lines at an aging Safeway grocery store. Each will move into new retail space when the project is completed.

"There are a lot of things that aren't here, so this project is very important to us," Wells said, speaking for himself and neighborhood represantatives in attendance. "I can't say how excited I am to hear that noise in the background."

That noise was pounding, hammering and the clink of steel being fit in place. Bulldozers prepared the ground so that workers can rebuild 4th Street, connecting it to the river for the first time since the federal program of Urban Renewal wiped the old Southwest neighborhood off the map and sent its residents, many of the African American renters and homeowners, to housing projects throughout the city.

In his remarks, Councilmember Kwame Brown (D-At-Large), chair of the economic development committee, noted that planning for the project was a decade in the making, starting when Anthony Williams was mayor.

"To see this happening today is something that's very special," Brown said.

By Darryl Fears  |  March 12, 2009; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  Economic Development , Mayor Fenty  
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