D.C.'s Newest Waterfront Neighborhood -- In the Right Ballpark?


If they build it, you will come.

At least that's what developers banked on when they scooped up waterfront and waterview properties along the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. in the early 2000s, ahead of construction of the city's major league baseball park.

Now, tighter lending practices have dampened commercial development in the neighborhood. But the promise of a new condo or townhouse within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol and the stadium is bringing in residents, according to a recent Washington Post story.

The dream of developing Washington's waterfront into an energetic corridor of shops, homes and businesses -- from Anacostia around Hains Point and on to Georgetown -- is not new. For years, Washingtonians have seen development dreams and plans come, go, and run astray.

Prime example: the 1950s urban renewal project on the Southwest waterfront that brought in architects such as I.M. Pei and Harry Weese to design a mid-century modern mix of housing, businesses and entertainment venues.

The neighborhood still exists: a quiet area seemingly cut off from the rest of the city -- with condos, a lovely marina, a row of seafood houses popular with bus tours, but little else.

Will the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, as the renewed Navy Yard/Nationals Park effort is known, be different?