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The Mayor Opens The Wharf

After more than ten years of effort and forty-two months of construction, The Wharf officially opened Thursday October 12th. Those assembled were showered with confetti following the entry of the Eastern High School Band and the singing of the National Anthem by the Show Choir from the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts.

After remarks from Mayor Muriel Bowser, Congressperson Eleanor Holmes Norton and Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D), developers Monty Hoffman (PN Hoffman) and Amer Hammour (Madison Marquette) concluded their remarks by smashing bottles of champagne together with other dignitaries, the signal for a display of daytime fire works on the water.

Entertainment continued throughout the day, with a free concert at District Pier by the Bacon Brothers, a country-soul-rock band fronted by actor and vocalist Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael, and with the sold-out opening concert by the Foo Fighters at The Wharf’s new concert venue, the Anthem.

DMPED Director Brian T. Kenner, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Madison Marquette Chairman Amer Hammour, District Wharf Project Director Shawn Seaman, PN Hoffman CEO Monty Hoffman, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen prepare to inaugurate The District Wharf at the Opening Ceremony Thursday October 12th, 2017.
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton delivers remarks as Monty Hoffman looks on together with Mayor Bowser and members of the Show Choir from the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts at the opening of The Wharf.
Michael Bacon and Kevin Bacon, of the Bacon Brothers band perform on District Pier on the evening of the Official Opening of The Wharf, October 12th, 2017.
A view of the Anthem concert hall from District Pier, October 12th, 2017.

Monty Hoffman, Managing Director of the Wharf project and CEO of PN Hoffman, had many people to thank, including his business partners, city officials, the Congresswoman and the helicopter pilots keeping the crowd safe as well as the person with whom he had what he said was his most successful partnership, Traci Hoffman, his wife of more than twenty-five years.

Delegate Norton, who introduced two bills related to the Wharf project to Congress, praised the work of PN Hoffman and their partners. She said that her great-grandfather Richard Holmes arrived at the Wharf after walking off a slave plantation in 1850.

“I appreciate that Monty Hoffman has not only preserved the original name of this historic site,” she said, “but he has also preserved one of the Districts oldest neighborhoods, Southwest Washington.”

Norton added that with the opening of The Wharf, “DC is becoming a true waterfront community.”

Councilmember Allen agreed, adding that the development would again knit the city to the water. He said that he appreciated that the developers realized “that for this to be successful, it has to be a strong part of the community,” recognizing Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D Chair Andy Litsky as well as the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly and others “that have worked so hard to make it so that this development, the businesses, the jobs that are created, the new housing really fit into the fabric and the neighborhood that is our Southwest DC.”

“This is an incredibly special place,” he said, “and The Wharf opening today is something that makes it even greater, and I’m so excited to be a part of it.”

Mayor Bowser praised the work of DC Council, Congresswoman Norton and the developers. She noted that almost one in four of the housing units were at below market or affordable rates, and there are more to come. She also noted that 6,000 permanent jobs were created by Phase One of the development, which also created 1150 construction jobs, close to 50 percent of which were filled by District residents.

Bowser said, “This is one of the best times in the history of our city. We’ve never been stronger, and now we have the ability to make the types of investments to make sure all DC residents are participating in that progress. The Wharf is an exemplary example of how government and private sector can work together to enhance a neighborhood.”

Bowser noted that years earlier when she approached Hoffman to inquire about the Wharf project as Ward 4 Councilmember, he asked her “what are you doing here? You literally live the farthest away from the site of any councilmember.” She said that all of DC had an interest in the success of the project.

“This is our Waterfront, our destination, and we couldn’t be more proud.”

Councilmember Trayon White Sr. (Ward 8-D) at the Official Opening Ceremony of The Wharf on October 12th, 2017.
Councilmember Robert C. White Jr. (At Large) sports a poncho during the light rain at the Official Opening Ceremony of The Wharf October 12th, 2017.
Councilmember Vincent Gray (Ward 7-D) speaks to attendees at the Official Opening of The Wharf Thursday October 12th.
Attendees pull out rain ponchos as drizzle begins at the ceremony.

The $2.5 billion renovation to Southwest’s waterfront neighborhood required several acts of Congress and legislation by the DC Council as well as $80 million of public funds. The 3.2 million square foot site has access to six metro lines and VRE, 1,750 bike parking spaces, a half-mile of dedicated bike path and four Capital Bikeshare stations. There are ten acres of parks, open spaces and civic areas. The site is home for habitants of the 1,377 residences, provides 690 rooms in three hotels, and offers 335,000 square foot of restaurant and retail space, including 26 different restaurants and eateries.

“If this is Phase I, people,” Congresswoman Norton said in her remarks, “imagine what this site is going to look like when it’s finished.”

Hoffman said that his team would take the weekend to celebrate the completion of Phase I of the project, but come Monday he expected they would launch directly into work on the 1.2 million square foot section of Phase II.

Celebration of the official opening continues from October 12th through 15th. Events are open to the public.

Traci Hoffman, the other party in Monty Hoffman’s “most successful partnership,” poses with friends after the Official Opening of The Wharf.
Crowds line up in front of The Anthem for the sold-out Foo Fighters concert held there Thursday October 12th.
A view of the Anthem marquee from the patio atop Cantina Marina restaurant, which also has a tremendous view of District Pier.
Crowds walk along the waterfront after opening ceremonies Thursday.
Fountains rise in front of the store in District Square at The Wharf. Many shops and restaurants on the square, including Ligne Roset Design (pictured), Politics and Prose Books and Requin Restaurant, the last of which with a patio facing the waterfront, were open for business Thursday.
A meeting of stilt-walkers takes place just before the Official Opening Ceremony of The Wharf.
Members of the Eastern High School Marching Band await their cue prior the the Opening Ceremony.

The Wharf’s ‘signature daytime fireworks’ erupt after dignitaries smash champagne bottles, ending the official opening ceremony for The Wharf just after noon on Thursday October 12th. Fireworks continue throughout the weekend.
A Potomac Riverboat Company Water Taxi cruises near District Pier as the Bacon Brothers play before the crowd Thursday evening.

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