by: Marta Ali
Since 1805, The Maine Avenue Fish market has been the oldest open air fish market in the United States. Before the 1800s, the Southwest Waterfront formed the eastern bank of the Potomac River, however; as farming increased sediment accumulated which made the river prone to flooding and difficult to navigate. Eventually by 1882, the Washington Channel as well as the Tidal Basin were established.
During the beginning of the 20th century, commercial activity along the waterfront thrived while the population of the area increased reaching up to 35,000. Unfortunately, living conditions in the area were incredibly poor due to various reasons. Since 1930’s , despite continues redevelopment efforts, the population continued to decrease. Urban renewal efforts also saw the displacement of approximately 1,500 businesses and 23,000 residents, eventually leading to the construction of the Southwest Freeway, the relocation of Maine Avenue, a waterfront promenade, and multiple parks. Since then redevelopment of D.C. water front has remained mostly untouched. As Congress woman Eleanor Holmes Norton described the issue, “The Southwest Waterfront has been undervalued and underused. What residents throughout the city and region want, is to have a development worthy of its location and the river.”
Luckily , after more than 80 years later, currently a development team called the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront is spread heading the effort to create a vibrant community that connects the District to one of it’s most important asset, it’s water. Phase 1 of The Wharf is scheduled to launch on October, 12, 2017, with grand opening celebrations and activities planned until April 2018.
In addition , the Wharf doesn’t stop there. When fully completed , it will feature 14 signature buildings that were designed by a different architects. These buildings will be linked by 10 acres of public spaces and parks which are expected to create an ever changing and exciting experience along the water front. Being the primary maritime for the Nation’s Capital, The Wharf is expected to set a new standard for an urban lifestyle by becoming the District’s premier destination for water activities, fine dining, shopping, and living, along with a wide variety of live music, cultural events, and festivals. Go Visit The Wharf and share your experience with us!