June 2008 - The Florida Rock site, as seen from the southeast viewing platform at Nationals Park in June 2008. The concrete plant eventually closed, and the tower was demolished in late 2011.
Nov. 15, 2014 - A ground-level shot of the same angle as above, showing the site clearing for this long-delayed project did in fact get underway in fall 2014.
The u-shaped first-phase building called "The Riverfront," as seen from the Anacostia River side. An esplanade would run in front of this and all the development's buildings, as part of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. The marina is a new feature. Rendering from Sept. 2012 zoning filing.
Dec. 9, 2014 -
The ceremonial groundbreaking for the Phase 1 apartment building was held in a cold rain, but there was no shortage of VIP wielding shovels. (See more photos from the event
December 2005 - The riverfront at Florida Rock. (12/05)
Nov. 15, 2014 -
The same location, a few weeks after the site began being cleared for construction of the first-phase apartment building.
A rendering of the same angle as the above photos.
Another rendering, showing the plaza between the first phase apartment building and Diamond Teague Park, now with more planned retail (about 18,600 sq ft). (9/17/12)
A 2012 rendering showing how the first-phase apartment building would look from the intersection of 1st Street and Potomac Avenue, next to the plaza, now with much more ground-floor retail. (9/17/12)
November 15, 2014 -
What the south side of Potomac Avenue west of 1st Street, across from Nationals Park, currently looks like.
An updated site plan from September 2012 zoning filings, showing the new four-phase concept, with the two phases to the right/east being residential, and the later phases being office and a hotel. The "Retail" markings are just for the ground floors of each building. (9/17/12)
The developer is proposing some temporary uses immediately to the west of the Phase 1 residential building, as seen in this drawing from the Sept. 2012 zoning filing. A beach, including beach volleyball courts, would be "installed," along with temporary parking and additional open space that could be used for farmers' markets or other temporary uses. (9/17/12)
Two views showing the changes at this spot on Potomac Avenue, even before any new construction has begun at the Florida Rock site. First, looking west from south of the Potomac Avenue/First Street intersection, standing in the park maintained at that time by the Earth Conservation Corps, in February 2007. (02/07)
A slightly wider view of the same location (really! look at the landmarks and utility poles!) showing the change in the landscape thanks to the construction of Diamond Teague Park
, and Potomac Avenue's new alignment to the south of its old footprint. And of course the disappearance of a large white tower. (1/8/12)
The FRP/RiverFront property as seen from the Frederick Douglass Bridge in August 2005. (08/05)
The same view 4 1/2 years later, just after demolition at Florida Rock was completed, and with something else kind of different, too. (1/8/12)
A rendering showing a somewhat similar angle to the above two photos, showing the esplanade, a "beach" area, retail spaces, and the proposed Phase 1 apartment building. Rendering from May 2012 ANC presentation
Dec. 9, 2014 -
And a ground-level view of what will be the esplanade footprint, taken at the Phase 1 ceremonial groundbreaking. (See more photos from the event
Looking eastward on Potomac Avenue from the Frederick Douglass Bridge viaduct in April 2006, a little more than a year before the overpass was demolished; RiverFront lines the entire right/south side of the street. (04/06)
A very similar view to the one at left, but focused more on the RiverFront property itself, just after its fences were taken down to prepare for the pre-ballpark widening of Potomac Avenue. (07/07)
Looking at the RiverFront property from across the Anacostia River, at Poplar Point; the riverfront bulkhead marks the property's boundaries. (03/05)
The same location, nearly seven years later, just after demolition of the concrete tower, nearly four years after the opening of Nationals Park
, and two years after the opening of Diamond Teague Park and Piers
A rendering showing a wider view of what the "massing" of the property would look like (as well as the "views" of Nationals Park) when driving inbound over a new Douglass Bridge. Rendering from May 2012 ANC presentation
Looking east across the cleared Florida Rock footprint, showing the size of the site and also its neighbors to the east. (1/8/12)
My last shot of the Florida Rock concrete tower, taken from the new Yards/Teague connector bridge
just as demolition was getting underway. The Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will continue into and all along the RiverFront site. (11/25/11)
Note: The renderings below are from the designs approved for the site in 2008. However, in 2011, the site's developers began the process of returning to the Zoning Commission to seek approvals for changes to the site's design, with a new architect. So the renderings you see here are, for now, merely interesting for a general sense of the site and for historical purposes.
A January 2008 rendering of the 5.8-acre, four-building RiverFront project, as seen from the Anacostia River, with Nationals Park
a strong presence just to its northeast. A hotel, two office buildings, a residential building, a riverfront esplanade, a glass-enclosed retail galleria, and a public plaza are all parts of this 1.1-million-square-foot proposal. This site map shows the January 2008 revised design and layout, with the Nationals ballpark
to the north, and to the left/west the eventual revised configuration of South Capitol Street (running in a traffic oval at the foot of a new Frederick Douglass Bridge
A January 2008 rendering of the eastern edge of the project, looking from Diamond Teague Park and Piers back toward the public plaza and the grand staircase of the ballpark
Working from right to left, here are some additional details:
A public plaza on the far eastern edge of the project would complement Diamond Teague Park on its eastern side, helping to pull stadium-goers to the Anacostia riverfront and the Riverwalk esplanade.
The eastern office building would be smaller than in previous designs, but would have much more ground-floor retail.
To the west of the east office building would be "Potomac Quay", highlighted by a glass-enclosed 365-day-a-year galleria-type atrium. There would be ground-floor retail on both sides of the quay, and also a two-story destination restaurant on the south end of the Quay; a "watercourse" with fountains would run into and through the atrium.
The residential, hotel, and west office buildings are now curved around the "Piazza Cascade", where an oval drive connecting the lobbies of the three buildings surrounds a large water feature.
The Riverwalk and Esplanade remain unchanged from previous designs, with a depth of no less than 75 feet and with a bike path separated from the pedestrian areas.
Construction of the project's eastern end (the eastern office building with ground-floor retail, the public plaza, and perhaps the glass-enclosed galleria) is slated to be first, with zoning approvals having been finally received (after 10 years of winding through the system) in 2008. Phase II would be the 160-unit residential building, and at the same time the underground parking and loading for the rest of the project would be built. Phase III would be the western office building, followed by the Phase IV hotel. The final two phases could not start until the new Frederick Douglass Bridge
is built, since the old bridge is on the western edge of the RiverFront property.
A December 2007 rendering, looking west on Potomac Avenue from First Street, showing RiverFront's northern side, facing the ballpark. The building at left is the east office building, which would be RiverFront's first phase of construction. The plaza at far left would flow into the city's planned Diamond Teague Park. The rendering also shows the ground-floor retail planned for all spaces along Potomac Avenue.
A January 2008 rendering showing the western end of the development, which will border a new large traffic oval at the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, when the new Douglass Bridge
has been built to the south of the current one, which will be demolished. The westernmost portion of RiverFront in fact can't be built until the new Douglass Bridge is done and the old one removed, because the old bridge sits on part of the development's footprint. From left in this rendering you see the east office building, a sliver of the residential building, the west office building prominently at center, and the hotel at far right.