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DC mayor launches task force to develop future plans for Capital One Arena district

Washington Construction News staff writer

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has launched a task force to “develop a vision and d recommendations” for potential future uses of the two-block District parcel encompassing Capital One Arena and Gallery Place.

The Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force, which will be chaired by Jodie McLean and Deborah Ratner Salzberg, is charged with creating an immediate activation plan, long-term vision, and investment plan for the Gallery Place/Chinatown neighborhood, the mayor’s office says in a Jan. 8 statement.

Major league hockey and basketball teams the Capitals and Wizards will likely leave the arena for a new structure to be built in Alexandria, VA.

“We’ve been successful in creating new and dynamic neighborhoods across DC by putting old spaces to new uses,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’ve done this before – at Union Market, at Navy Yard, at the Wharf, at City Center. This Task Force will make it happen again. And we want to hear from the community. If you have an idea for the future of Gallery Place/Chinatown or any part of Downtown DC, share it with us at BeDowntown.dc.gov.”

The Task Force will focus on the future uses of the two city blocks between 6th and 7th Streets NW and F and H Streets NW, currently occupied by Gallery Place and the Capital One Arena, and inform the vision and key actions needed to re-envision the area between the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to the north, 10th Street NW to the west, Pennsylvania Avenue NW to the south, and 5th Street NW to the east.

“Gallery Place/Chinatown already has an incredible fabric of community, cultural, and entertainment amenities – and the goals of this Task Force are to build out and broaden the vision for how this neighborhood becomes a unique, world-class destination for residents, workers, and visitors alike,” said Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Nina Albert. “This is our opportunity to invest in and support a re-energized Gallery Place/Chinatown.”

The Task Force will focus on four priority areas:

Visioning: Develop a strategic vision for the future of the two city blocks that make up the Capital One Arena and Gallery Place, and reimagine the potential for amenities, activities, and new uses for this vibrant neighborhood.

Activation: Identify temporary and permanent activation programs, including special events, to generate foot traffic and increase visitation to Gallery Place/Chinatown. The Task Force will identify and coordinate activities to enhance public safety, cleanliness, and public health resources in and around Gallery Place/Chinatown.

Investments and Incentives: Source, evaluate, and recommend investment tools to support stabilization of existing businesses, prioritize critical capital investments, and reposition real estate assets into new productive uses.

Community Engagement and Marketing: Promote community activations and provide updates about changes and planning for the future of Gallery Place/Chinatown.

This week also marks one year since Mayor Bowser launched DC’s Comeback Plan, which includes a goal to add 15,000 residents Downtown over five years. To support that goal, and ahead of the Council’s January 9 legislative session, today Mayor Bowser also announced emergency legislation to amend the Housing in Downtown program. This legislation will make clarifying technical and administrative revisions to the existing Housing in Downtown legislation that will allow the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to release draft regulations for public comment in January.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.


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