|CityCenterDC construction cranes with Capitol dome in background.|
In these troubling times, construction cranes carry much symbolism. A construction crane represents jobs, progress, innovation, hope for the future. Construction cranes are the antidote to awful austerity and a stalled economy. Construction cranes are brilliant reminders that when the public sector and private sector team up for the benefit of the country, then the future of the United States of America is bright indeed.
I encourage anyone to visit the Washington, D.C. area and see for yourself the amazing construction boom going on. I now live in New York City, but after living in Los Angeles, California for nine years, the past two years were spent rediscovering my hometown. I was in awe at the neighborhoods being rapidly revitalized and the construction cranes seemingly everywhere. From the H Street Trolley to CityCenterDC to the National Mall restoration to Metro's Silver Line extension, the nation's capital is powering its way out of the economic depression.
The construction boom in Washington, D.C. is a model for what the rest of the country and the world for that matter must do to end this depression now -- build, build, build!
Here is a sampling of some of the many construction projects going on right now in the D.C. area. These are photos I have snapped and video I've shot over the past couple of years at various stages of these projects.
The largest urban development on the East Coast, CityCenterDC will be the centerpiece of D.C.'s "new" downtown and when completed in 2013 will be the crowning glory of more than a decade of hard work and thoughtful planning to transform a once barren and dangerous neighborhood into a dynamic, livable, 24-hour section of the city that rivals the greatest cities in the world.
The six buildings are rising at a lightning-fast pace of one level per week on the site of the old convention center. A seventh building (400-room luxury hotel) will be part of phase two, which has yet to be finalized. The six buildings will include more than 185,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, 458 rental apartment units, 216 condominium units, 52,000 square feet of office space and 1,555 underground parking spaces.
The $950 million development takes up five city blocks on 10 acres of land.
Here are photos chronicling the progress from when the project broke ground on April 4, 2011 and started excavating for the underground parking garage until now as the buildings begin to take shape.
And video of the sights and sounds from a typical construction day:
Marriott Marquis Washington Convention Center Hotel
When the new Washington Convention Center opened in 2003, it lacked a huge hotel to make D.C. a world-class destination for conventioneers. That all changed when the $520 million Washington Marriott Marquis broke ground in November 2010.
The 1,175 room hotel is expected to open in June 2014 and will feature 100,000 square feet of meeting and assembly space as well as a 30,000 square foot grand ballroom. The 14-story building at 901 Massachusetts Avenue is being designed to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The Marriott Marquis will incorporate the historic Samuel Gompers AFL-CIO headquarters, known as the "Plumbers Building," into the final design.
Here are photos:
Metro Silver Line Extension
The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, otherwise known as the Silver Line, is a Metro subway extension from the East Falls Church station to past Dulles International Airport in Loudoun County, Virginia. Phase one will take passengers to Reston via Tysons Corner and will be completed December 2013 with the second phase expected to be finished in 2016.
The Tysons Corner station will be a major destination for office workers and shoppers heading to Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria malls. The platform is aerial with a pedestrian bridge crossing Route 123.
Photos and video of the Tysons Silver Line station under construction:
The Wiehle - Reston East station is the final stop of phase one until Route 772 becomes the western terminus. The aerial station will sit in the median of the Dulles Access/Toll Road. There is a transit oriented development called Reston Station, which is a private-public partnership between Comstock Partners LC and Fairfax County. The project features a 1.5 million square foot underground parking garage and 1.3 million square feet of hotel, office, retail and residential space.
Here are photos:
National Mall Restoration
America's front yard has fallen into disrepair because of not enough funding for maintenance to keep up with the 30 million visitors and 3,000 permitted events every year. The last major renovation was in 1976 after the country's bicentennial. The nonprofit Trust for the National Mall is not waiting for Congress to act and is undergoing a $700 million restoration effort to transform the Mall into a world-class park within seven years. Revitalization projects include upgrading the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, improving river flood protection, reconstructing Constitution Avenue, replacing the center grass panels between 3rd and 7th streets and more. Starting in 2014 redesign projects will break ground for Union Square, the Washington Monument grounds and Constitution Gardens.
Here are some photos:
Nationals Park Neighborhood
For years, the neighborhood surrounding Nationals Park on the banks of the Anacostia River reflected the team playing in the stadium -- so much promise for the future and yet nothing happening at the moment. The Nats have been perennial losers since arriving in Washington in 2005 and the neighborhood surrounding their new ballpark has been in a holding pattern since the financial crisis of 2008. Well, a lot has changed this year. The Nats are finally contenders with the best record in the National League and are 21 games above .500 for the first time in franchise history. And the Nats Park neighborhood is on a winning streak as well. The Yards Park along the Anacostia welcomes visitors. And there are retail and residential developments under construction such as the Boilermaker Shops and Camden South Capitol apartments.
Here are photos:
NoMa Neighborhood/Union Station Plaza Renovation
North of Massachusetts, otherwise known as NoMa, is an up-and-coming neighborhood located just north of Union Station and Capitol Hill and centered along First Street NE between Massachusetts and New York Avenues. The area has seen one of the biggest building booms in the entire D.C. area. There are gleaming new office buildings, artistically designed residential towers, hotels, diverse eateries, a grocery store, bike sharing stations and more.
NoMA is also a big transportation hub, with Union Station, the Greyhound bus terminal, the Metropolitan Branch bike trail and the Metro Red Line all located in the area. And Amtrak recently proposed a $7 billion plan to transform Union Station into a high-speed rail hub for the Northeast Corridor. Right now, Columbus Plaza in front of Union Station is undergoing a $7.8 million reconstruction project to improve traffic flow and increase pedestrian safety.
Before moving to The Big Apple, I worked at the American Psychological Association in NoMa for a couple of weeks and snapped a bunch of pictures of all the construction going on in the neighborhood.
Here are the photos:
14th Street Corridor
One of the fastest growing hot spots in D.C. is the 14th Street corridor from roughly P to U Streets. On a Friday or Saturday night the street pulses with activity as thousands of people descend on the music clubs, theaters, funky stores, bars and restaurants. There is a building boom going on as residential developments rise up along the strip as more people move to the area.
Here are photos of the 14th Street scene:
New York University DC Center
In fall 2010 NYU broke ground on the Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C. The facility is located at 1307 L St. NW and when completed will house up to 150 students participating in semester in D.C. programs.
Here are photos of the construction progress at the NYU-DC Center:
Georgetown Waterfront Park
Georgetown Waterfront Park is a new 10-acre national park along the Potomac River that was completed in 2011. The park was made possible thanks to the visionary leadership of the late Illinois Senator and Georgetown resident Charles H. Percy.
Here are photos:
Here is a slideshow featuring all the Washington, D.C. construction photos I have taken over the past two years.