- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Property values will rise significantly in the next couple of years in Anacostia as the new baseball stadium and waterfront developments are completed, a big-league panel of experts agreed yesterday.

They made their predictions at the Anacostia Economic Summit, a forum organized by the nonprofit Operation HOPE to make residents aware of business opportunities opening up in their neighborhoods.

The program featured speakers such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams and included a greeting from President Bush.

John Bryant, chief executive officer of Operation HOPE, an organization that teaches financial literacy and helps low-income residents obtain home or business loans, estimated home values in Ward 8 would rise 20 percent when the baseball stadium is finished, which is scheduled for early 2008.

“That’s conservative, by the way,” Mr. Bryant said.

City officials say about $2 billion in public and private investment is revitalizing Anacostia, which has been Washington’s lowest-income area for decades.

“The promise of these investments for Anacostia’s future is supported by recent research, which has highlighted how carefully targeted public investment can help to jump-start urban revitalization,” Mr. Bernanke told the summit, held at Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation community center.

He mentioned as examples the Henson Ridge housing development in Anacostia, which is being built for middle-income residents through a combination of public and private funds, and Asheford Court, a mixed-use development of homes, a supermarket, restaurants and retail stores.

“Even as they make communities more attractive, these amenities create new jobs and provide opportunities for small-business development,” Mr. Bernanke said.

The rosy predictions are supported by recent property valuations from the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue.

While property values rose an average of 21.8 percent citywide last year, they rose 30 percent in Anacostia, according to the tax and revenue office.

Anthony Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Capital Revitalization Corp., said the economic development agency plans to help close about $1 billion in real estate, business and manufacturing deals through 2007.

“A lot of our focus is east of the [Anacostia] river at this time,” Mr. Freeman said. “We’re very active in acquiring properties in Ward 7 and Ward 8.”

Seventeen real estate development companies submitted proposals this week for redeveloping the Anacostia waterfront.

The Anacostia Waterfront Development Corp., a public-private development corporation, plans to choose the winning proposal.

“I’m very, very pleased with the reception we have received,” Mr. Williams said of the proposals.

In other news …

• Real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle has completed the sale of the Swan Creek Distribution Center, 1040 and 1041 Swan Creek Drive in Glen Burnie, to ASB Capital. Swan Creek Distribution Center is a 511,463-square-foot bulk warehouse facility on the Baltimore-Washington corridor that includes two warehouses on a 37-acre site.

• Property Lines runs on Thursdays. Call Tom Ramstack at 202/636-3180 or e-mail tramstack@washingtontimes.com.

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