South by West

The latest iteration of the replacement Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge has a more modern design with a set of three arches. Rendering: DC Department of Transportation

Buzzard Point Update

The planned affordable housing development at First and Q streets SW will rise 100 feet. Rendering: PGN Architects

A planned unit development (PUD) for a mixed-use residential project was filed earlier this summer on a parcel at First and Q streets SW, one block north of Audi Field on Buzzard Point. Currently the site contains a one-story retail building and a parking lot.

A total of 76 rental units is planned, with a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and four-bedroom units. The residential entrance will be located along Q Street. About 3,800 square feet on the ground floor will be set aside for retail with entrances along First Street.

What makes this different from other residential buildings in Southwest over the past several years is that the entire building will be set aside as affordable housing. Of the 76 units planned, 16 will be reserved for residents earning up to 30 percent of area median income (AMI) and the remaining 60 units will be set aside for those earning up to 50 percent of AMI. There will be limited space for residential amenities – about 940 square feet – as well as a landscaped courtyard on the ground floor.

Residents will have access to onsite wraparound services provided by United Planning Organization, such as case management. Offsite services to be provided include mental health, addiction treatment, childcare, job readiness programs, job training, and adult education.

Meanwhile, progress is being made at Audi Field (the new home of DC United) at Second and R streets SW. Groundbreaking occurred in February, but environmental remediation started months prior. At the July Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D meeting, Victor Melara from DC United stated that most of the environmental remediation was complete, with just one area left to finish. Precast seating bowl installation along the west side of the stadium was scheduled to start in late July. Site utility installation was also expected to start in late July. On the south side of the stadium, basement excavation is complete and grade beams are being installed.

A photo from early August 2017 shows the progress made on Audi Field. Photo: William Rich

Audi Field will contain about 20,000 seats and 31 luxury suites. An adjacent site on the east side of the stadium will eventually contain mixed-use development, likely to be retail and residential. The stadium is scheduled to be completed around June 2018. DC United will need to play the first portion of its season on the road since their lease at RFK Stadium ends this year.

Across from Audie Field, the Pepco Waterfront substation project includes the substation structure, transmission lines, and duct banks. The substation structure is nearly complete, but electrical work needs to be completed. Duct banks north and west of the substation also need to be installed. Pepco is partnering with the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities to bring artwork worth $250,000 to the planned plaza on the south side of the substation at First and R streets near Audi Field. A sculpture called “Flash Point,” designed by local artists David and Eli Hess, will be located in the plaza. An additional $100,000 will be spent to adorn portions of the exterior of the substation with a light installation from local artists.

New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge
A new design for the replacement Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, which brings South Capitol Street across the Anacostia River, was revealed yesterday at a press event with Mayor Bowser, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and other dignitaries. The new design is a departure from the previous version, which looked more traditional and could swing open to allow large boats to traverse the Anacostia. Since the display ship USS Barry, formerly docked at the Navy Yard, has been moved, there is no longer a need to have a swing-span bridge, so the design was updated.

According to a press release, the new design includes three above-deck arches that capture the District’s arch history; two piers that will appear to float in the river; and four pedestrian overlooks. The new bridge will carry six lanes of vehicular traffic (three on each side), as well as bike and pedestrian lanes on each side of the bridge. In addition to the new bridge, traffic ovals will be built on both sides of the bridge. The oval on the west side of the river will connect South Capitol Street with Potomac Avenue and Q Street SW.

The bridge is part of the two-phase South Capitol Street Corridor Project, which will eventually include improvements to South Capitol and adjacent streets on both sides of the river. On the west side of the river, improvements in phase two will reach all the way to the intersection with the Southwest freeway. Construction on the first phase will begin in late 2017 and run through 2021.

These are just a few of projects that are now or soon to be underway on and around Buzzard Point over the next few years. This small peninsula, with the Washington Channel to the west, the Anacostia River to the east, and the Potomac River to the south, will be buzzing with activity.


William Rich is a blogger at “Southwest … The Little Quadrant that Could” (