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Fenty, Forest City, Feds Break Ground on DCs Largest Development

Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Press Advisory for Immediate Release

(Washington, DC) Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today joined Forest City Washington to break ground at The Yards, a new neighborhood that will span 42-acres along the Anacostia Waterfront. The project is the largest public-private effort in the District in decades.

“This isn’t just a development project,” said Mayor Adrian Fenty. “We are standing on what will be a new Anacostia Waterfront neighborhood that will incorporate the site’s great historic buildings and include a world-class waterfront public park. The Yards is really a testament to what can happen when we work in partnership with federal agencies and the private sector.”

Once the project is complete, it will include 2,700 new condos and apartments and 1.8 million square feet of office space–more than half the size of Memphis’s downtown office market. The Yards is projected to house more than 3,700 new residents and create 7,700 jobs–most of them office jobs–generating about $450 million in paychecks each year.

Long controlled by the federal government, the site was formerly called the Southeast Federal Center. It has been off the District tax rolls for decades because the District cannot tax federally-held land. But instead of taxing Forest City directly, the developer agreed to a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes or PILOT program that will capture the property taxes the developer would otherwise pay and use the revenue to finance almost $90 million in infrastructure–roads, sewers, streets lights.

The project will include a $42 million world-class 5.5 acre public waterfront park. The park will be funded out of the proceeds of the nearby US Department of Transportation Building PILOT Bonds, which were sold on September 20, 2007. Forest City will construct the park and it will be dedicated to the District upon completion. The goal of the waterfront park project, designed by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, is to rival other great urban waterfront parks around the world. The waterfront park will include a great lawn, a waterfront promenade, a marina, public piers, and a water taxi landing.

“We’re very excited to be at the point of beginning site work at The Yards,” said Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington. “This project's extensive pre-development process has involved working with a few dozen governmental agencies, consultants and architects. This has been and will continue to be a very significant public/private partnership that will pay dividends for District residents for a long time to come.”

Fenty joined Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and federal representatives of the General Services Administration and Environmental Protection Agency at the ceremony.