A new waterfront park has opened at the Wharf in Southwest in honor of D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Fully equipped with water streams, a lush canopy and vibrant flowers and vegetation, the 3.5-acre area officially opened to the public June 1 at M Place and Water Street with a groundbreaking ceremony.
The project was the result of a partnership between real-estate developers Madison Marquette and PN Hoffman.
“I am just amazed and grateful,” said Norton, who attended the ceremony. “Hoffman-Madison has taken a wasteland, some of it the most valuable property on the East Coast, and is developing it into highest and best productive use for our residents and our economy.”
Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman and Peter Cole of Madison Marquette anticipated that the new family-friendly park, which was more than three years in the making, would be the first of a host of public spaces in Southwest.
“This is the first delivery of The Wharf,” Hoffman said. “There were concerns we could leave it until last. But we spent three years planning this, including six months of community charettes. It was more complicated than it looks.”
The first phase of the $800 million waterfront park project will also have additional features such as apartments, restaurants and office buildings, including MakeOffices, the American Psychiatric Association, lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates, Shake Shack, Dolcezza Gelato and Blue Bottle Coffee, scheduled for completion Oct. 12.
For the second phase of development, a team of high-profile architects are expected to design an additional 1.2 million square feet of mixed use, with a groundbreaking ceremony slated for mid-2018 and an official opening planned for 2021.
Once the final project is complete, residents will also be able to enjoy rows of willow trees, winding paved paths, a children’s play area, bocce courts, two more park areas with four public piers and views of East Potomac Park and the Washington Channel.
Both phases are expected to be a crucial link between the new development and the established, adjacent Southwest neighborhood, Hoffman said.
“We just started leasing apartments this week, and there has been an immediate response,” Hoffman said. “Office is 70 percent pre-leased. Retail is 77 percent pre-leased, and the condos are 70 percent pre-sold. We are ahead of schedule.”