October 4, 2023
Even amid the gloom and doom of high interest rates, looming recession and so forth, property owners and builders have continued proposing development projects across Greater Washington. In the gallery below, we offer a selection of 10 noteworthy developments proposed or presented so far in 2023, but that you otherwise might not see featured in biggest-projects-of-the-year lists.
Spoiler: It’s not all about office.
We included one suburban office-to-residential redevelopment in the mix. There’s a lot of that sort of thing, whether all-out redevelopment or residential infill to create mixed-use properties, in the works. We’ve written about several in Reston, in particular. But we wanted to showcase a broader variety. From new hotels and concert venues to public housing redevelopment, and more, owners and builders are up to a lot in Greater Washington.
Officials have noted the challenges in the District itself in 2023 — office construction remains very low, constrained by work-from-home dynamics, while many major multifamily projects have seen delays and cost escalations because of high interest rates and shortages of materials and labor that have wracked the industry.
In the District, where $81.6 billion in new real estate projects have been completed since the turn of the century, most of the 471 development projects considered “in the pipeline” by the Washington D.C. Economic Partnership remain mere concepts. But while recent trends have turned developers away from major new office buildings and toward mixed-use and residential-focused work, there is fundamentally a need for new real estate downtown.
At the D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the District & Region conference, leaders discussed the potential during a panel moderated by Washington Business Journal Publisher Alex Orfinger. D.C. officials at the event said that bringing up the downtown population and bringing in new businesses will be keys to its economic recovery. That includes incentives to attract new housing development and business expansions.
Many of the big projects on the boards involve those office-to-residential conversions, redesigning old spaces instead of building new ones. While most of those announced have not started, at least a few are underway, demonstrating the need for new housing development, Keith Anderson, D.C. deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said at the event.
“You have to make sure we are changing some of the underutilized spaces so they can accommodate new residents, so that’s where thinking about office to residential conversions in a strategic way makes a lot of sense,” said Gerren Price, president and CEO of the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District. “Now, granted the market is moving the way it’s moving, so that’s not the answer to everything. Every building’s not going to be eligible to convert.”