The Wharf countdown clock has been unveiled. /Photo courtesy of
The Wharf countdown clock has been unveiled. /Photo courtesy of

After more than a decade of planning and development, The Wharf kicked off a 365-day countdown until its grand opening by unveiling a countdown clock visible from Maine Avenue.

The developers Hoffman-Madison Waterfront [HMW] announced on Wednesday, Oct. 12, that they will substantially complete the first phase of the mile-long waterfront neighborhood by Oct. 12, 2017.

“This clock serves as a reminder that after 10 years of hard work, multiple acts of Congress and approval from more than two dozen federal and District agencies, we are nearing the finish line for the completion of Phase I of The Wharf and our vision of a truly transformative waterfront community in Southwest D.C. becomes reality,” said Monty Hoffman, founder and CEO, PN Hoffman.

“We are working with our many partners and tenants to ensure that residents and visitors to The Wharf will be able to enjoy a vibrant mix of exhilarating experiences from day one.”

Paved in stone, shaded by trees and lined with a wooden bench at the water’s edge, the European inspired development will feature over 75 restaurants, businesses and residential options.

Andy Litsky, a 40-year resident of Southwest and chairperson of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D said he can’t wait to try everything The Wharf will have to offer.

“We’ve got less than a year to go before the ribbons are cut and this will be a transformation of the waterfront that we have long sought for quite some time,” Litsky said. “We had very strong negotiations with the city and with the developers prior to this project and it has been like a partnership with the whole community all of whom all strongly supportive of the project.”

Litsky asserted that his Southwest community sought a number of things from the developers looking to do business in their neighborhood.

“We wanted to make sure they understood that they were building adjacent to a long-standing residential community,” he said. “Our community also said that we want it to be inclusive and not become an enclave of $300 plate restaurants.”

Twenty years ago Litsky and many of his neighbors raised $110,000 to do a study on how to activate the waterfront.

“This is the beginning of what we have been trying to do for decades.”

Litsky, along with his constituents, said they’re thrilled to take advantage of the restaurants and recreation, but remain worried about the increase in traffic in their quiet neighborhood and how the city plans to manage it.

“The thing that most folks are concerned about is management of traffic and proper transportation,” he said. “It’s going to be crowded with a lot of people on the street. We are going to have to make sure that the city and metro step up their game to ensure that this enormous resource is accessible and not stock us in with an unconscionable amount of traffic.”

The Wharf will open with nearly 225,000 square feet of office space, 175,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 870 residences, three unique hotels, four public piers, a 6,000-person concert hall and cultural facility, a new regional water taxi hub and nearly five acres of waterfront green space.

“This is an enormous asset – instead of just looking out at the river we will be able to use the river,” Litsky said. People are going to be absolutely amazed with the quality of work and offerings.”

“This will be truly transformational for our neighborhood and the city.”

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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