It has been just over six years since the Washington Nationals moved to their new stadium in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. For those who have observed the changes in that neighborhood before and after Nationals Park arrived in 2008, it is clear that the stadium’s presence has sparked tremendous growth in the area.
Since the groundbreaking on the stadium eight years ago, more than 2,000 multifamily units have been added to the neighborhood. More than 1,550 apartment units are currently under construction and expected to be added to the neighborhood by the beginning of 2016. It was clear to developers that a new stadium would attract new residents.
Two other local neighborhoods that have seen similar growth in residents and new apartments over the past eight years are U Street/Cardozo and Columbia Heights. Together, more than 1,800 multifamily units were built in those two neighborhoods between 2006 and the first quarter of this year. However, fewer than 950 units are under construction in those two areas at this time.
One thing that these neighborhoods have that Capitol Riverfront still lacks is a strong retail presence. With Washington’s central business district a short bus ride from the northernmost apartments in these neighborhoods, coupled with a well-established variety of restaurants, specialty retail and grocery stores in close proximity, the U Street/Cardozo and Columbia Heights neighborhoods support a “live/work/play” setting for residents.
Further development could be in store for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, should a new D.C. United soccer stadium get the green light for construction at Buzzard Point. With the large number of new apartment units set to deliver in the next two years and vacancy rates on the decline at 6.5 percent, developers seem confident that demand for apartments will remain high.
They also appear to be emulating the success of the booming U Street/Cardozo and Columbia Heights neighborhoods and making a concerted effort to bring in more retail and amenities for residents, such as the recently opened Boilermaker Shops, to support residents of the fast-growing Southwest Waterfront neighborhood.
Kirstie Boatright is a research manager with CoStar Group in the District.
The number of apartment units completed per year in Capitol Riverfront and U Street/Cardozo and Columbia Heights neighborhoods.