The Wharf Is Great, Georgetown Too

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The newest retail, restaurant and residential destination in Washington, D.C., the Wharf, was celebrated Oct. 12 at the grand opening of the $2.5-billion project’s Phase 1.

The Wharf takes up 24 acres of land in the Southwest quadrant of D.C. along the Washington Channel — adjacent to prime waterfront, private and public slips, a yacht club and a 200-year-old fish market. But there’s now much more: three new hotels, Seth Hurwitz’s 6,000-capacity Anthem music venue, an office building and 1,400 apartment and condo units.

Of course, there are many new eateries — including Fabio and Maria Trabocchi’s Del Mar Spanish seafood restaurant. And the promenade along the docks and piers across from East Potomac Park is enchanting.

This massive mix of commercial and residential space has been called a game-changer. Developer Monty Hoffman has been duly applauded for his vision and inclusive efforts to complete this major addition to the federal city. All Washingtonians should be impressed.

In Georgetown, there are those who fret about the competition from revived neighborhoods like Chinatown, H Street and NoMa (not to mention outright new ones like the Wharf). While their concerns should be taken seriously, it’s important to remember that each neighborhood has its unique attractions and vibe. Georgetown, which has been around the longest, always finds a way to reinvent itself while maintaining its historic charm.

Let’s not forget that Georgetown has its vigorous business advocates, the Georgetown Business Improvement District and the Georgetown Business Association among them. The BID has advanced imaginative ideas — think the gondola — for Georgetown, while focusing

on the practicalities (like street cleaning). Its involvement in the C&O Canal towpath reimagining and renovation was the push needed to get the job moving.

On the job for five years, Joe Sternlieb, the BID’s energetic CEO, says he is still loving it. Meanwhile, GBA has been granted a Georgetown Main Street, a D.C. government program that helps historic districts market themselves more effectively.

So, bring it on ye neighborhoods of D.C. — Georgetown shall handle it. The second most visited spot in Washington after the National Mall, we are as innovative as we are historic. As Sternlieb likes to say, “Onward and upward!”

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