The county has had some good news of late.
Several stores and restaurants were expected to open before the end of the year at National Harbor, including the House of Jon Lei Atelier, a bridal and special event salon; Scented Organic Artisan Pure, a bath and body boutique; Nando’s Peri-Peri, a restaurant; Dandelion Patch, a stationery store; and ChiDogO’s, a hot-dog restaurant.
More stores and restaurants are scheduled to open at the harbor next year, including Wolfgang Puck Catering and Redeye Grill. By then, about 85 percent of the retail space at the complex will be occupied.
Peterson said National Harbor is breaking ground next year on a 388,000-square-foot Tanger Outlets center. Tanger Outlets is known for housing the likes of J. Crew, Cole Haan and Coach. The Peterson Cos. is also in a joint venture with the Bozzuto Group, a Maryland development company, to build the Esplanade, a 371-unit mixed-use apartment project.
National Harbor already has six hotels and is anchored by the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, which has an 18-story glass atrium, 2,000 hotel rooms and 470,000 square feet of meeting space.
Disney, which has made significant changes since it bought the land more than two years ago, said National Harbor did not fit in with its current lineup of projects.
Since signing the agreement, Disney bought the global theme park rights to “Avatar,” the hugely successful motion picture directed by James Cameron. It also broke ground this year on its $4.4 billion Shanghai Disney Resort — making a big bet on the Chinese market.
“Given the full slate of expansion currently underway at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the timing isn’t right to proceed with another new project of this scale,” Disney spokeswoman Kristin Nolt Wingard said in a statement Friday.
This was not the first time Disney abandoned plans to bring its brand to the Washington region. In the 1990s, the company planned to build a history-themed park, called Disney’s America, on farmland near the Manassas Civil War battlefield. It scrapped the project after several months because of local opposition. Disney’s National Harbor project would not have included a theme park.
Jay Rasulo, former chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, who is now chief financial officer of Walt Disney Co., said in May 2009 that it was likely that his company would go ahead with the resort. But Rasulo was careful back then to say that the project wasn’t a sure thing.
He said Disney had to weigh “lots of factors in the coming months and the coming years” before deciding to break ground.
Staff writer Ovetta Wiggins contributed to this report.