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The land along the Anacostia River south of Nationals Park known to longtime observers as Florida Rock has not had a simple path to redevelopment from its prior life as a cement plant site, and now the Washington Business Journal reports there's a new hurdle: "Preliminary environmental testing completed in the summer of 2012 on the portion of the site that comprises Phase 1 of the project found contaminants related to the previous tenant, Vulcan Materials Co. - specifically, releases from an underground storage tank, 'along with other activities by the tenant on the property.' ” Plus, subsequent testing in late 2013 "revealed more contamination in the remainder of the site."
Patriot Transportation Holding, Inc., owner of the 5.8-acre property that may someday finally become the huge mixed-use RiverFront on the Anacostia development, stated in its year-end report to the Securities and Exchange Commission that "the presence of contaminated material at our RiverFront on the Anacostia development site may subject us to substantial environmental liability and costs.”
The company has already recorded a $1.77 million expense for the cleanup, but WBJ says that the actual price tag could be higher, and that while the company is requesting that Vulcan Materials, which leased the land from 1986 to 2011, take financial responsibily for remediation costs, Patriot could end up on the hook for the total cleanup cost, as owners of the land. (See the company's SEC filing for more details, though you'll want to search on "RiverFront" rather than reading the whole thing. Trust me.)
The first phase of the project, a 350-unit residential building with 18,000 square feet of retail on the site's east end, near Diamond Teague Park, is a joint venture with MRP Realty. The filing says this first phase is expected to start construction in mid-2014, but I will note that no building permit application for the project appears to have been filed as yet, and those don't always sail through the bureaucracy with lightning speed. We shall see.
(As an aside, one wonders how prospective visitors to the open air temporary bar/events space proposed for the site but ultimately delayed because of liquor license issues might have reacted to the news of pending environmental remediation. Or if they would have even much cared, as long as they could still play kickball or bocce.)
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Ed says: (1/2/14 10:41 AM)
The Virginia-based "open-air bar entrepreneurs" tasked partner Carlos Gray, Mayor Gray's son to secure environmental approval from the DC Department of the Environment. After meeting the Mayor's son, the DC DOE approved the site for patrons but failed to determine if contamination was a safety and health issue.

Turns out several DC agencies including the ANC 6D02 commissioners where more interested in supporting what looked like "fun development" Only after two groups of 20 citizens in the Capitol Riverfront and SW filed a protest, testified and joined the Police Commissioner protest did the city ABRA committee act to stop this license for a 6 Acre open air bar with over 150 permanent porta-potties in the site plan. This would have been the largest drinking establishment in Washington.


JD says: (1/2/14 10:51 AM)
Not sure you meant to type 6D02 - maybe 6D? Since you were the 6D02 commissioner (and one of those fighting the liquor license), I assume you weren't referring to yourself in this part of your comment....


Ed says: (1/2/14 11:05 AM)
Correct... Thanks!

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