- The Washington Times - Monday, November 5, 2001

The District will work with a group of developers to refurbish the Waterside Mall, a 1960s-era retail-and-office complex in Southwest that has come to symbolize the city's neglected waterfront.

The $100 million makeover will include gutting some of the space inside the mall to make room for new shops, restaurants and offices. A portion of the 1.1 million-square-foot building will also be demolished so the city can reopen a two-block stretch of Fourth Street SW.

"Redeveloping the mall makes a lot of sense," says Mitchell Schear, president of Kaempfer Co., a Washington developer and one of the partners in the project.

The cement-block mall currently has three floors and is flanked by two office towers, which have more than 300,000 square feet. It was last renovated in the early 1980s.

The makeover will give the mall a brighter feel, with a streetscape and storefronts along M Street SW, which borders the mall. Restaurants that set up shop along this corridor would benefit from heavy foot traffic at the nearby Arena Stage, Mr. Schear says.

Waterside's main tenants, including a Safeway supermarket and a CVS drug store, are expected to remain part of the mall. The largest office tenant in the complex, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, is expected to move out next year.

Kaempfer will work with two other real estate firms, Forest City Enterprises and Bresler & Reiner, on the project.

The Waterside Mall makeover is part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, a plan by Mayor Anthony A. Williams to clean up the river and make it more accessible. The far-reaching plan calls for more housing and businesses along the waterfront, as well as a new headquarters near the Washington Navy Yard for the federal Transportation Department.

In addition, the National Capital Revitalization Corp., a government-chartered developer, is working on a plan to improve other sections of the waterfront in Southwest.

Officials say reopening Fourth Street will be key to the plan's success because it will connect the city's bustling downtown with its lonely waterfront. The District and the Waterside Mall developers will pick up the estimated $17 million tab to reopen the road.

"The natural pedestrian and vehicular linkage between these two economic generators for the District will be back in place," says Andrew Altman, the city's planning director.

In other news

• Buchanan Partners and Stone Hedge Investments have purchased the Lakeside I and II buildings in Sterling for $36.6 million. The buildings have 200,000 square feet and sit next to the Dulles Town Center. Buchanan is a Gaithersburg developer; Stone Hedge is based in the Netherlands.

• Butera Properties has purchased Commerce Center II, an office complex in Greenbelt, for $16.9 million. Local brokerage Cassidy & Pinkard arranged the sale. The complex features 129,964 square feet.

• Management consulting firm Hewitt Associates will lease 18,986 square feet at 2941 Fairview Park Drive in Merrifield. Local brokerage West, Lane & Schlager arranged the deal. The brokerage also helped the American Iron & Steel Institute renew its lease for 14,623 square feet at 1101 17th St. NW, a building owned by the Charles E. Smith Cos.

• Chris Baker can be reached at 202/636-3139 or [email protected]

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