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Celebration at The Wharf as digging wraps up

The District's largest active economic development project has finished up excavation work, a milestone celebrated with a "bottoming-out" ceremony on Thursday.

WASHINGTON — The District’s largest active economic development project has finished up excavation work, a milestone celebrated with a “bottoming-out” ceremony on Thursday.

The Wharf project is expected to transform the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood and will develop a full mile of shoreline. But before building can begin, construction crews first had to dig a massive hole in the ground and keep out the nearby river.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilman Charles Allen attended the celebratory event, marked with a dump truck taking the final load of dirt out of the hole.

“We have built a bulkhead along the water’s edge. That is 2,000 feet of bulkhead. It’s actually holding out 200 million gallons of water. That’s over 800,000 tons of weight that it’s holding back,” says Monty Hoffman, CEO of developer PN Hoffman.

“To get to the bottom of this hole, we have taken out 30,000 truckloads of dirt. That is an amazing, amazing feat,” he adds.

All three politicians agreed that they had never been invited to a bottoming-out event, but Allen told the crowd “there’s nowhere to go but up.”

The first phase of The Wharf will be a 1.5 million-square-foot project and is expected to be completed in late 2017. Once finished, the entire 3.2 million-square-feet of space will boast restaurants, parks, a theater, office space, condominiums and apartments. It will also have a 278-room InterContinental Hotel.

“What I love about this project is that it really sets D.C. apart from major cities across the United States of America. It says to the world that we set the bar high. It says that we work with our local business community to put people to work. It says we’re committed to affordable housing and that we are going to have the best waterfront anywhere,” says Bowser.

The project will bring in $50 million in new tax revenue annually, Bowser says. She hopes the project will impact the entire city to add jobs, increase wages and close the gaps between neighborhoods.

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