WASHINGTON — Three years after groundbreaking, the District’s largest new development project, an entire community known as the Wharf, is having its grand opening on Thursday.
Phase I of the $2.5 billion project, which began in 2014, includes condos, apartments, piers, a boardwalk along Washington Channel and hundreds of boat slips.
“There will be a 6,000 person music venue, hundreds of residential units, hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space and dozens of new retailers and restaurants,” said D.C. Council member Charles Allen.
The music venue, called The Anthem, opens its doors Thursday night with a concert by the Foo Fighters.
Around 20 restaurants and shops are opening, with more grand openings and celebrations planned for other businesses well into next year.
Dubbing itself “Where D.C. Meets its Water,” the Wharf comprises 12 distinct areas including Market Square next to the Municipal Fish Market. It also preserves the Maine Avenue Fish Market, the oldest continuously operating open-air fish market in the U.S. It opened in 1805, 17 years earlier than New York City’s famous Fulton Fish Market.
Southwest Washington was the principal commercial waterfront district in D.C. in the 1820s and 1830s, but this is the first significant development there in more than 50 years.
“The developer is expecting, and we are expecting, about 20,000 visitors on each of the four days through opening weekend,” Allen said.
It will not be easy to drive around the area, but there are other transportation options. The Wharf is near both the Waterfront and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stations and there is a new water taxi service that connects the Wharf with Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria.
When completed, the entire development will include 24 acres of land and 50 acres of water along a mile of waterfront.
Construction continues next year with the groundbreaking of Phase II, which is expected to be completed around 2022.