This past weekend, there was a front page article in The Washington Post (online version here) about the impact Nationals Park has played in the development of (primarily) Near SE since the ballpark opened in 2008. There's some mention of Southwest, although that focus was not on development, but on neighbor reaction to the ballpark (since the nearest residential units in SE are a few blocks away from Nationals Park). From the article:
Despite the new construction east of the ballpark, the area across [South] Capitol Street in Southwest remains home to low-income housing projects where many residents were worried that baseball would price or push them out of the area.One block west of the stadium, in front of the Friendly Food Market corner store on Half Street SW, three dealers at an open-air drug market sell marijuana and crack. With four teenagers stationed along the block as lookouts, dealers exchange plastic bags for cash in swift, well-practiced handshakes.Despite the illegal sales in broad daylight, residents along this Half Street say baseball has been surprisingly good for them. “It made it look presentable around here,” said London Smith, 42, who found work at a stadium concession stand. “I just hope it doesn’t make it more expensive.”
Lovely. It's a bit more difficult to bulldoze all of the low-income housing projects in Southwest than it was to replace Capper Carrollsburg in Near SE, which was already pretty much gone by the time the stadium opened. For one, funding for HUD's Hope VI program that was used to replace Capper is dried up. The District's version of Hope VI (New Communities Initiative) has been slow to get underway at places such as Barry Farm in SE and Northwest One. Also, there is still some bad blood from the last time wholesale neighborhood demolition took place in Southwest during urban renewal.
While the focus of the article was in Near SE since that is where the stadium is located, there are a few things happening on the west side of South Capitol Street too. For instance, there was no mention in the article about Camden South Capitol, the new apartment building under construction across the street from Nationals Park (although it appears in the photo gallery). In addition, there was no mention of the velodrome coming to Buzzard Point this spring and the new stadium in the works for DC United, which would form a stadium district between Nationals Park and the proposed soccer stadium. Oh well.
Rendering courtesy of WDG Architects