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Carter Steps Down as NCRC's Chief Executive

Freeman Named Interim Leader of District's Economic Development Firm

By Dana Hedgpeth and Neil Irwin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, August 11, 2004; Page E02

The National Capital Revitalization Corp., the city's publicly chartered economic development firm, last night announced it had voted to accept the resignation of chief executive Theodore N. Carter.

The group, which was created and funded by the city government to oversee District development but operates in many ways like a private corporation, said in a statement distributed at a public board meeting last night that the appointment of NCRC senior vice president Anthony C. Freeman as acting chief executive "marks the beginning of the new vision of NCRC's leadership to concentrate on spurring jobs and economic development in Washington."

An Aug. 11 Business article incorrectly said that the National Capital Revitalization Corp. receives money from the D.C. government. The corporation is funded by the federal government.

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W. Ronald Evans, who was elected board chairman June 30, declined to elaborate on why Carter had resigned. Carter could not be reached for comment.

Freeman, who joined NCRC in October, said he previously did strategic development for Blockbuster video stores. "I want to do initiatives that spur small business growth," he said.

Carter departs from the job barely 18 months after taking office. Before joining the NCRC, he worked for D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) in the chief financial officer's office and as campaign director in 2002 when Williams had to wage a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination in his reelection bid.

After taking over the NCRC, Carter disagreed with the administration on several issues. Earlier this year, he struck a deal with the Williams administration to give control over redevelopment of the Southwest waterfront, which included land NCRC owned, to a newly created authority overseeing waterfront development. In exchange, NCRC received other land in the city.

The NCRC has gone through several leadership changes. In 2002, Elinor Bacon stepped down as chief executive, and her two successors served about six months each.

At the same meeting yesterday, the NCRC voted unanimously to sell the land it owns at the Waterside Mall, at Fourth and M streets near the Southwest waterfront, to a group of developers for $34.8 million. Supporters of the project say the action was needed to help persuade giant mortgage financing company Fannie Mae to sign a deal leasing a large chunk of new office space at the site. The NCRC and the developers must still negotiate details of the deal, and the City Council must approve any agreement.

A group of developers -- which includes Kaempfer Co. of Washington, Cleveland's Forest City Enterprises Inc. and real estate investor Bresler & Reiner Inc. of Rockville -- wants to turn the run-down office buildings at Waterside that once housed the Environmental Protection Agency into a roughly $500 million project of offices, housing, shops and restaurants. The developer group owns the buildings and has a long-term lease with the NCRC, which owns the land.

The developers want to own the property so they can eventually sell it to Fannie Mae. The mortgage company prefers to own its property and wants to have the option to buy it before it agrees to lease as much as 1.5 million square feet of office space at Waterside, according to brokers and developers.

Fannie Mae employs 4,000 people at its headquarters at 3900 Wisconsin Ave. NW and leases more than 1 million square feet in the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs. But it needs more space to accommodate new employees and ease crowding at its other locations. The company has refused to say whether it plans to move its headquarters to the Southwest area. Construction on the Waterside project is expected to start in the summer of 2005 and be completed in 2008.

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