In Wednesday’s newspaper, I wrote about how the slowing economy and credit crisis has slowed the progress of many real estate projects in the area around the Nationals new ballpark. Overall, we stand by the premise of the story.
But in my article, I devoted two paragraphs to projects by Forest City, specifically mentioning the Foundry Lofts and the Boilermaker Shop. Gary McManus, the marketing director for Forest City Washington, was unhappy with the way I characterized the progress of those two projects, and he has some legitimate gripes with the way I presented things.
First, a correction: the Foundry Lofts will be apartments, not condominiums.
Regarding the status of that particular project, McManus had mentioned in our interview that the company pushed back the opening of the Foundry Lofts to early 2010 instead of late 2009, simply because it is easier to market apartments in the spring. In writing about the delay, I suggested that it was the result of the credit crunch, and that was an error on my part.
Also, McManus was upset that I wrote the company was “still seeking restaurant tenants” to fill the Boilermaker Shop, a key part of The Yards project. Forest City, he said, just began looking for tenants there and has been happy with the level of interest so far. He said it would be unrealistic for retailers and restauranteurs to fully commit to the project now when it is two years away from completion. The project remains on time and is not delayed due to the credit crunch, lack of tenant interest or any other reason, McManus said.
I should also acknowledge an error of omission. I failed to mention that Forest City had secured in September a $250 million construction loan for the Waterfront Station project, located about 5 blocks east of The Yards. While this is somewhat distant from the immediate area around the ballpark that was discussed in the story, it’s still an important example of a project in Southeast that has achieved financing despite the economy and credit crisis. As McManus said, there are still good projects being financed in some areas, and Waterfront Station is one example.