The developers of the Wharf, an ongoing waterfront development at 1100 Maine Avenue SW in Washington, D.C., recently announced that they have secured $113 million of debt financing for the project. PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette, the project’s developers, will use the financing to pay for the construction of two new hotels, the 175-room Canopy by Hilton and the 237-key Hyatt House hotel, scheduled to open later next year. SunTrust Bank and M&T Bank will provide the financing.

The announcement is the latest step in an ambitious plan to transform approximately 25 acres along a mile of waterfront of the nation’s capital into a desirable, livable destination complete with hotels, condos, rental housing, retail, and restaurants.

Status of Construction

Construction activities began in March 2014. Phase I of the project, priced at around $1 billion, is expected to be complete in October 2017, and will include 651 apartments, 220 condominiums, 680 hotel rooms, 450,000 square feet of office space, 181,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, a 6,000 person capacity concert hall, and four new public piers.

Phase 2, currently set for completion around 2020-2021, will include 130,000 square feet of retail space, 480,000 square feet of offices, 360 rental units, 124 condo units, and a marina with 450 slips. Amer Hammour, chief executive of Madison Marquette, has said that the developers drew inspiration for the project from other international waterfronts, including those in Singapore, Cape Town, Barcelona, and San Francisco.

Respecting the Original Neighborhood

In designing the project, the developers have emphasized their desire to preserve and build on the character of the original neighborhood. For instance, the nearby Maine Avenue Fish Market, one of the oldest fish markets in the country, will continue its operations alongside the development. Additionally, the developers will be expanding the existing Gangplank Marina, where 90 slip holders live on their boats, and will even pay their temporary relocation costs during construction. The developers also were careful to select more than a dozen different architects and other designers for the project to ensure that it incorporated a diverse range of build designs.

The Wharf is expected to be a big draw for not just boaters in the area, but also the nearby National Mall, which sees millions of visitors each year. And the new 6,000 capacity concert venue that will be overseen by the owner of U Street’s 9:30 Club will fill a niche mid-sized capacity venue that the District has lacked in recent years.

Other Waterfront Developments in the D.C. Area

While the Wharf project is an exciting new addition to the District, it is not the only waterfront development in the DC Metro region. Other ongoing waterfront projects include:

  • the $1.3 billion MGM National Harbor casino resort in Maryland that is expected to open around the end of 2016;
  • the Anacostia waterfront area by the Nationals Park that continues to add new housing, office space, retail space, hotels and restaurants; and
  • the 11th Street Bridge Park, a redesign of the current bridge connecting Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood with Anacostia into an elevated recreational civic space that has been compared to New York City’s High Line.

Altogether, these new projects are transforming the historic but previously underutilized waterfront space along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers into thriving new commercial areas.

Paul S. Thaler is Managing Partner in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office and a member of the Internal Investigations, ADR, and Commercial Litigation Groups. He has successfully defended and prosecuted a wide variety of claims, including breach of commercial contracts, scientific misconduct, theft of trade secrets, copyright infringement, unlawful discrimination, wrongful termination and workplace violence.

Jackson S. Nichols is an Associate in the Firm’s Commercial Litigation and Construction Groups and represents clients in every stage of litigation, including motion practice, discovery, pre-trial preparation and trial practice and appeals.