Saturday, October 22, 2005

One of the groups vying for ownership of the Washington Nationals also will be one of nine groups looking to build a large entertainment and retail district around the new ballpark in Southeast.

The Franklin L. Haney Company submitted plans yesterday to build as much as 750,000 square feet of retail, 1.5million square feet of office space and as many as 3,000 homes on 25 acres near the ballpark site. The proposal came in response to a request for information from the new Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, the quasi-public agency created by the District to direct development along the Anacostia River. The AWC wants to develop a “ballpark district” that capitalizes on the foot traffic created by baseball.

“The opportunities along the Anacostia River are tremendous; but in our view, it will be the Nationals, baseball and the ballpark that will lead the development,” said Franklin Haney Sr., founder and Chairman of the Franklin L. Haney Company. “We want to be at the forefront of revitalizing the Anacostia Waterfront and delivering a new ballpark to Washington.”

Haney used to be based in Tennessee, but now resides in the District for most of the year.

Groups competing against Haney for the ballpark district development include Akridge, Monument Realty, LNR Property Corporation, Trammell Crow Residential, Triden Development Group, DSG Capital Group and the Cordish Company. A combined team featuring Western Development and Forest City Washington also is vying to partner with AWC on the project.

The AWC said it will begin interviewing development teams within the next two weeks and begin negotiations with a chosen team by the end of November.

The ballpark district is considered to be one of the most ambitious development projects in the city’s history, spanning the area bounded by the Anacostia River, M Street, South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue in Southeast. It is seen as a crucial part of a broader initiative to redevelop vast stretches of land along the Anacostia River.

The AWC already owns some land in the ballpark district, and is negotiating to acquire several parcels, including land owned by Metro and the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority. It also is expected to help guide development on several other large parcels near the ballpark.

The Haney Company previously was involved in planning and building the Portals office building project in Southwest and owns part of the Dulles Greenway toll road. The group’s bid for the Nationals is not considered one of the favorites to land ownership of the team, though members do plan to meet with MLB commissioner Bud Selig next week during the World Series.

Last year the District chose Forest City Washington to redevelop the Southeast Federal Center, a 42-acre property just east of the ballpark site. District-based Western Development, led by former Mills Corp. executive Herb Miller, earlier this year proposed a massive commercial development plan as part of a proposal to finance the ballpark’s construction. Miller’s plan was rejected by the city, but he has since been active in acquiring property in the area.

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