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Demolition Party In Southwest

Southwest Washington’s Waterside Mall, a cornerstone of an urban-renewal experiment in the 1960s and ’70s, was demolished yesterday to make room for Waterfront, a mixed-used development that’s part of a new plan to make the area a walkable waterfront dest

Charles Bresler, Deborah Ratner Salzberg (Forest City), Mayor Adrian Fenty, Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, Mitchell Schear (Vornado), and Sidney Bresler.

Mayor Adrian Fenty led the countdown for a large gilded wrecking ball to pound through the roof of the old shopping mall, sending debris and glass onto the ground below. “Southwest is just a great neighborhood,” Fenty told a crowd of hundreds of residents and city officials. “Am I right?”

A block from the Waterfront-SEU Metro station, Waterfront will feature 1.2 million square feet of office space, 1.2 million square feet of affordable residential units, and at least 110,000 square feet of retail, including Safeway, CVS, and Bank of America. Fourth Street between M and L streets, which has been closed for nearly 50 years, will be transformed into a pedestrian walkway. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in early 2010.

Waterside Mall, which was designed by I.M. Pei, will be demolished and replaced by the new Waterfront development.

Congress ordered the overhaul of Southwest waterfront more than 40 years ago as it wrestled with poverty in cities across America. It turned out thousands of residents, cleared hundreds of acres, and authorized buildings designed by noted modern architects such as I.M. Pei.

Fourth Street will reopen where the Waterside Mall currently stands.
The neighborhood Safeway will move to temporary facilities but eventually relocate into permanent facilities in the completed development.
Waterfront is located near Arena Stage, which is currently showing “The Women of Brewster Place.” The cast celebrated the demolition by singing the musical’s hit song “Tear Down The Wall.”
The Waterfront-SEU Metro station is located near the construction site but will continue to serve passengers.