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From The Ground Up

A Half-Decade of Developments

Eric Price Kept Focus on People, Teamwork

By y Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 7, 2005; Page E03

Eric Price, 43, was the District's deputy mayor for planning and economic development for five years. He stepped down from the position at the end of last year and took a job as a senior vice president for the New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corp., a nonprofit group that promotes economic development in neighborhoods throughout the country. He was replaced by Stanley Jackson, who had been director of the D.C. Department of Community and Housing Development since 2001.

Developers, real estate brokers and planners in the District looked to Price, during his time as deputy mayor, to set the tone in deciding where development would occur. He oversaw 1,000 D.C. employees and a $120 million annual budget.

Former deputy mayor Eric Price helped initiate the redevelopment of the old convention center site downtown. (Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)

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Price was involved in initiating redevelopment of the old convention center site at New York Avenue and 11th St. NW, and he helped set up the District's $300 million tax increment financing program, under which developers can borrow money inexpensively.

Price was recently appointed to serve on the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, a quasi-public group that is trying to develop Washington's Southwest and Southeast waterfronts with retail, housing and offices.

Excerpts from an interview with Price follow.

Q: Several offers have been made to build a baseball stadium using private financing. Herb Miller, one of the most best-known retail developers in the city because of his work at Gallery Place, has put in a proposal to build the stadium that would also incorporate 12 acres adjacent to it for a town center with housing, shops and restaurants. What do you think of his plan?

A: The thing about Herb's proposal that's right is that it recognizes that this is about more than just building a ballpark. This is an opportunity to do real economic development that's bigger than a ballpark.

One problem is you have to deal with the eminent domain of taking land and whether you could then turn that land over to a for-profit development. But looking at it as a real estate deal with other things happening around it is certainly the right approach.

You've gone to other cities where you see a stadium and then nothing else around it. If you're going to take on this large of a project, why create a stadium with just parking lots around it? You should maximize the public investment and create a community, a real neighborhood. It needs to have a neighborhood where people can live and this is an opportunity to do that. If [Miller's] plan addresses those kind of issues, then that's the right approach.

What did you learn in your years on the job as deputy mayor?

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