The U.S. General Services Administration in January selected a developer for
the Southeast Federal Center—a desolate, 42-acre site in the District
of Columbia that was separated from the Washington Navy Yard in 1963.
The center, which borders the Anacostia River, is within two miles of the U.S.
Capitol Building. It is next door to an 11-acre site that is being developed
as a new headquarters for the Department of Transportation.
The center—as part of the Navy Yard, which was established in 1799—was
used originally for shipbuilding activities. Near the turn of the 20th century,
activities shifted from shipbuilding to ordnance production, and by 1962, all
production and manufacturing activities had ceased. Under GSA, the site has
been used primarily for administrative, storage and light industrial purposes.
Eleven of 14 unoccupied buildings on the site have been decontaminated and
demolished. The remainder have been declared historically significant, and will
be renovated and reused, as is being done with similar buildings on the remaining
portion of the Navy Yard.
The developer—Forest City Washington Inc., of Bethesda, Md.—proposes
to convert the center into a new neighborhood with a 5.5-acre waterfront park,
housing for 6,000 residents and offices for another 6,000 workers. The total
estimated value of the project, slated to begin in 2005 and take 20 years to
complete, is more than $800 million.