It was more than six years ago
that word first seeped out that Forest City Washington was looking to bring a large movie theater to the Yards, on land owned by DC Water that the development company would acquire
But those negotiations have still not completely been resolved, and, in a time-extension request filed last week with the Zoning Commission, Forest City described the current situation, which will displease long-frustrated neighborhood moviegoers:
"Because of the extensive delays tied to the important and expansive discussions regarding DC Water's relocation and operational needs, as well as DC Water's need to retain control of the F-1 Parcel to facilitation construction of its headquarters building
, Forest City's rights with respect to the lease with the theater operator have expired. Despite efforts to reconstitute that deal, it is clear that Forest City will not be able to proceed with the original approved program for a two-level, 16-screen theater above a four-level parking garage."
The filing goes on to say that the company is "now pursuing additional refinements to the approved plans." While the building's size and scale will likely stay the same, it is possible that the theater will be "reduced in size" and/or "incorporating other appropriate and compatible uses for the site to ensure a viable project." There is also apparently a need to relocate the building's planned loading and service access onto N Place and away from DC Water's ongoing operations. The facade design will likely change as well.
The filing states that the "very complicated planning constraints on this unique site" have "nearly reached final resolution," but that Forest City now requests an additional two years to work on redesigning the plan.
(Of course, this means that the replacement of "When will Whole Foods open?" with "When will the movie theater open?" as the most-asked question at JDLand will continue on for a while.)