DC buzzes with new developments, renovations and neighborhood enhancements.
With $9.6 billion in development, investment in the city continues to surge. Learn more about upcoming projects across the city.
DC Solar Expansion
The DC Solar Expansion Act of 2022 ensures the continued growth of solar across all eight wards of Washington, DC. Signed into law January 2023, it clears the way for increasing the region’s commitment to using solar power to achieve DC’s goals of 100% renewable energy by 2032 and carbon neutrality by 2050. DC institutions continue to lead the adoption of renewable energy technology on their campuses by integrating solar panels into new building designs and retrofitting older buildings with solar infrastructure. Catholic University will be home to one of the region’s largest solar arrays, dedicating 25 acres of the university’s West Campus to the renewable energy resource.
Washington, DC Swingers, from the London-based “crazy golf and high-end entertainment experience,” expands to new location in the Navy Yard area. Along with its mini golf courses and bars, there will be various food and beverage concepts provided through a partnership with Knead Hospitality and Design. The Navy Yard location features a large event space on the second floor and 19,000 square feet broken into different sections, including a garden area, a boathouse bar, private pontoon event space and Swingers Arms, a bar-within-a-bar concept. Swingers will neighbor the planned Tom’s Watch Bar near Nationals Park.
D.C. United unveiled the Hall of Heroes presented by Enlightenment Capital, a mural at Gate B of the stadium depicting United’s storied past. Audi Field has also finished the roof paneling above the east and west stands and now much of the seating at the stadium is covered from the elements. D.C. United also plans to add more premium seating options close to the field this season. Audi Field will host the MLS All-Star Game on July 19, 2023. United will debut the team’s new away jerseys — long rumored to be cherry blossom-themed, much like alternate uniforms for the Washington Nationals and Wizards. This spring, the stadium will be shared for home games by United, the Spirit and the D.C. Defenders of the relaunched XFL.
The National Zoo
The newly renovated Bird House reopened on March 13, 2023. Closed since 2017, the Bird House features three interactive rooms where more than 170 birds representing 56 species from the Americas and DC. Each of the rooms replicates the birds’ natural habitats – from the shores of Delaware Bay to a tropical coffee farm. Chesapeake Coffee will sell “bird-friendly” coffee from farms that work to protect wildlife. Exhibit information is in English and Spanish. Free, timed-entry passes are required. Same-day passes will be available onsite. More facts here.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Since the pandemic, the center has been revamped inside and out, including an interior redesign and exterior streetscape renovation. Some of the changes included new furniture arrangements, Wi-Fi and USB ports, new lighting fixtures, retail kiosks for pop-up shops, plants and public art. A landscaped rooftop terrace is planned. The center also added a variety of safety and health measures during the pandemic, including an antimicrobial dry hydrogen peroxide HVAC system and a hospital-grade ADIBOT disinfecting system, which uses UV-C technology to inactivate 99.9% of viruses. The center is the first such venue to receive the WELL Health-Safety Rating from the International WELL Building Institute, in May 2022. The convention center will soon unveil the new Downtown District, which will open below the grand lobby along Mount Vernon Place as the last leg of the more than $16 million food and beverage investment. The food court on the concourse level has been transformed into a flexible space that will have capabilities for a restaurant, bar, induction kitchen, tasting room and other food- and beverage-based meetings and gatherings.
The shuttered Georgetown Market will get a new life in late 2023. Partners Stephen Starr (of Le Diplomate and St. Anselm’s) and Michelin-star chef Nancy Silverton open the new 20,000-square foot Osteria Mozza restaurant and market. The market will have a pizza grill and bars dedicated to granita and juice, mozzarella, salumi and cocktails, as well as a produce and grocery area. Seating is available throughout at tables, bars and in the solarium lounges.
Other retail that has recently opened in Georgetown.
Diptyque - Parisian luxury candle and perfume brand.
Wolford - Austrian luxury apparel and skinwear brand.
Nisolo is a shoe store with sustainability focus. The brand is pursuing 100% living wages, 0% net carbon, and measuring, tracking and sharing sustainability facts, among other initiatives.
Away - contemporary luggage store.
Commonwealth Proper is a modern ensemble of tailors, designers, and personal stylists in America working together to make exceptional custom clothing. As a “New School” clothier, they craft custom-made suits, source innovative fabric, design their own jacket lining, offer in-house bespoke tailoring and their own branded whiskey.
Mayor Bowser and the Anacostia Business Improvement District (BID) unveiled the Anacostia Arts and Culture District in Ward 8 in February. It highlights and supports the local artists, makers and entrepreneurs who keep DC creative and supports new events and programs that will engage people in the neighborhood and bring visitors to restaurants and retail in Ward 8. The mayor also announced additional investments in the Department of Public Works Murals DC program to support the development of more than a dozen new murals and the arts community East of the River.
Anacostia River Update
Native animals are returning to the Anacostia River’s waterways. Spotted on wildlife cameras along the river and its tributaries include beavers, river otters and more, showing the waterway’s improving health. In recent decades, billions of dollars have been spent to clean up the Anacostia River and keep sewage and other pollutants out of the water. The Anacostia Watershed Society has worked on numerous revegetation projects, including planting trees and native plants and restoring wetlands. The group has been planting wild rice in the marshes around Kingman Island — once the dominant wetland plant in the Anacostia. Six years ago, there were less than three acres of wild rice scattered through the watershed. Today there are 10 acres.
The Center for Environmental Justice at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum (Opens on Earth Day, April 23, 2023) For decades, those furthest from justice living in communities along the Anacostia River, in the DC region, and across the world have been fighting inequities in their own neighborhoods. Respecting this legacy of community-based, environmental action, the Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum will draw on the museum’s mission of collective power and history of environmental justice work to serve as a catalyst for social change. The CEJ is a research hub that will center community, raise awareness of systemic injustice and craft community-driven solutions for environmental issues. The Center will convene community experts, researchers, and Pan-Smithsonian teams to document histories of environmental justice work and develop solution-based models by and for the people most affected by environmental injustices. The Center is guided by the Anacostia Community Museum’s mission and vision to work with local communities and amplify collective power for a more equitable future and encourage others to see their own power in creating a more equitable, healthy and just environment.
A new proposal by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District is designed to improve culture and increase high-quality and useable public space in the community by reconnecting the neighborhoods between Capitol Riverfront and Capitol Hill. The new design will bring active uses under and next to the freeway that divides the area. The plan includes adding pickleball and basketball courts and space for skateboarders to the underpass. Art installations will beautify the spaces. Events and permanent installations will support local artists, performers and chefs. The project is anticipated by spring 2023.
Intended to be the downtown for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, Yards West includes plans for 1,260 new residences, 1.8 million square feet of office and 33,000 square feet of waterfront park space. Taken with the first phase, the full development encompasses 1.8 million square feet of office, 500,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, 3,400 residential units and 7.5 acres of public green space.
Washington, DC’s first elevated public park is being built on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge spanning the Anacostia River. Visitors and locals will enjoy an amphitheater, picnic gardens, interactive art and waterfalls among many other attractions and events that help create a public gathering space. DC-based artist Martha Jackson Jarvis and her daughter, Njena Surae Jarvis, have been commissioned for a piece of artwork entitled “Anacostia’s Sunrise/Sunset Portals.” The portals artwork is the largest of five total that will be part of the 11th Street Bridge Park’s opening in 2025.
Located in Southwest DC’s Buzzard Point, The Stacks is a transformative six+ acre development that encompasses two city blocks bounded by V Street, T Street, First and Second streets SW. The two-million-square-foot mixed-use development will redefine residential living on DC's Southwest Waterfront. The Stacks offers panoramic views overlooking the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, Reagan National Airport and Virginia. The Stacks will include 2,000 residences, 80,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, two hotels and a 15,000-square-foot park. Construction on phase one of the LEED Gold standard project has begun.
Buzzard Point (Breaking ground in 2023)
Wharf developers Hoffman & Associates expand its Southwest reach to Buzzard Point as part of a newly announced partnership with D.C. United. The area around the professional soccer team’s home turf will grow with restaurants, cafes and housing as part of a $200 million project scheduled to break ground next year and deliver in 2026.
Brooklyn Bowl (Opening in 2026)
With locations in Las Vegas New York City and Philadelphia, Brooklyn Bowl will develop an all-in-one entertainment venue with bowling lanes, a restaurant and a concert venue next to Audi Field. The two story, 38,000 square foot complex next to the soccer stadium will have a 1,200-person capacity, 14 lanes of bowling and a bar with a Southern-inspired menu overseen by New York City’s Blue Ribbon Restaurant Group. The space is available for group rentals. At the 80,000 square foot Las Vegas location, Nike once converted the space into a basketball court.
The Wharf – Phase 2
Phase two of the Southwest Waterfront development opened in October 2022, adding more luxe residences, 547,000 square feet of office space, a Pendry Hotel with 131 rooms and three new restaurants, a 1.5-acre park at the Marshall Park Landing, 223 boat slips at Wharf Marina, 95,000 square feet of retail space and two garages with over 1,000 parking spaces. The new restaurants, due to open on a rolling basis through late spring 2023, include Philippe Chow’s Beijing-style restaurant, Lucky Buns, Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls and Bartaco, Blank Street Coffee, Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, Kinfolk Southern Kitchen, Limani, Milk and Honey, Slice of Matchbox and Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream.
Mobility Innovation District
DC’s first Mobility Innovation District (MID) will improve equitable access to transportation for residents and visitors in Southwest and create a global innovation hub to show how mobility innovation can make a city more equitable, sustainable and safe. The MID will attract mobility companies that bring technology to market and create jobs in DC. Circuit, a micro-transit company with all-electric transportation solutions, will create a new mobility service for residents and visitors that will circle the Southwest neighborhood including the Wharf. The goal is to reduce congestion and its harmful effects on the environment and quality of life. The MID plants the seed for future mobility solutions throughout the city.
Union Market, NoMa
A wave of new tenants have signed lease agreements for Union Market, expanding the 45-acre area with three new restaurants from New York including Starr Restaurant Group’s Pastis, a storied Manhattan restaurant, Minetta Tavern and Maman, a French bakery chain. Seven new shops planned include a furniture store, a wedding dress shop, an international clothing store and an eyeglass retailer.
Museum of Illusions Washington DC
In December, the new Museum of Illusions opened at CityCenterDC in Penn Quarter. The museum has more than 50 exhibits, many of them intended to be Instragramable, and some of them pay tribute to D.C. The Reverse Room is an illusion that makes it seem you can hang upside down from a Metrorail car’s ceiling. There is a mosaic of Capitol Hill. The first opened in Zagreb, Croatia in 2015. There are now 40 locations, including New York, Chicago, Paris, Madrid, Shanghai and Toronto. The Museum of Illusions joins roughly 40, mostly-upscale, retailers at CityCenterDC, as well as several restaurants.
The contemporary Rubell Museum in Miami opened a new venue in Washington, DC on Oct. 29, 2022. Located less than a mile from the National Mall, the Rubell Museum DC takes over the former Cardozo Elementary and Randall Junior High School, a historically Black public school in Southwest DC listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The museum will be free to DC residents and feature exhibitions of works by American and international artists drawn from the Rubell’s collection of 7,500 paintings, sculptures, videos and photographs by more than 1,000 artists. Along with galleries, the museum will include a bookstore, café and outdoor terrace with seating.
National Museum of American Diplomacy (Opening late 2023)
The National Museum of American Diplomacy will be the first museum to give visitors access to the untold stories of how diplomacy has been instrumental to our success as a nation, and how it continues to influence our lives today. The new museum will highlight the power of peaceful negotiations and diplomatic ventures for Americans at home and explore the paths to becoming a diplomat. The Discover Diplomacy Hall introduces visitors to the principles of diplomacy. The Art of Diplomacy Hall invites visitors to develop their diplomatic skills through exhibits and interactive experiences. The Founding Ambassadors Concourse Hall is a dynamic space for students, special programs, exhibits and other visitor amenities.
Capital Jewish Museum (Opening spring 2023)
The new Capital Jewish Museum will juxtapose the story of Jewish Washington with exhibits on the American Jewish community’s history of activism and the struggle for civil rights and racial justice for all Americans. The building itself will merge old and new, incorporating the original brick building of one of the DC’s oldest synagogues, Adas Israel, into a more modern structure of metal, glass and concrete. A glass sky bridge will connect the new construction and new museum galleries across to the historic building. It is designed by the Smith Group, the same architecture firm that designed Washington, DC’s Museum of the Bible and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. An educational space will have hands-on objects and activities for school groups and families. The museum will occupy 31,000 square feet on the corner of 3rd and F streets, a few blocks from the Judiciary Square metro.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
In celebration of the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary, the Arts and Ideals: President John F. Kennedy—a new permanent flagship exhibit exploring Kennedy’s presidency and commitment to the arts, opened to the public on Sep. 17, 2022. The exhibit is housed in the 7,500-square foot, roof-level JKF Gallery at the heart of the original Edward Durell Stone building. The multimedia exhibit includes archival video recordings of President Kennedy’s landmark speeches, historic footage of musicians and jazz legends, photographs, letters and other memorabilia.
National Museum of Women in the Arts (Opening October 21, 2023)
The world’s only major museum solely dedicated to championing women artists closed to the public for a two-year renovation of its historic building. The building’s first full renovation since 1987, the $67.5 million project preserves the structure’s history while transforming its interior spaces. Key improvements include enlarged gallery space, a new Learning Commons, featuring an education and public programs studio, an improved research library and reading room, and an updated 200-seat performance hall. There will also be upgraded technologies, enhanced amenities and accessibility for visitors. When the museum reopens, it will include more exhibit space, a studio for educational programs and a library center with a reading room. The performance hall will also have accessibility upgrades. The building's Great Hall — a popular event venue with sweeping staircases and golden chandeliers — has been preserved throughout the renovation process. The museum's inaugural exhibit, The Sky’s The Limit, will feature large-scale sculptures by contemporary women artists.
The Smithsonian Institution has narrowed its search for a pair of new museums, the American Women’s History Museum and and American Latino Museum, to two sites on the National Mall. The exact location is pending Congressional approval. In February, the Smithsonian Institution revealed that it has raised upwards of $55m towards the development of the American Women’s History Museum (AWHM). According to The New York Times while the AWHM is still without a site, it is up and running with a staff of 14 and an annual operating budget of $2 million.
Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden Revitalization
The Hirshhorn Museum is working on two important projects: a revitalization of the Sculpture Garden and repairs to the building envelope. These projects will enable the Hirshhorn campus to support the museum’s mission and its expanded programming and collections, as well as enhance visitor experience and address critical infrastructure needs. In November, the Hirshhorn held a ceremonial groundbreaking with first lady Dr. Jill Biden and many of the artists who will make new work for the revitalized garden including Japanese Hiroshi Sugimoto, the architect/poet/photographer who is leading the design group.
National Air and Space Museum Renovation (Opened October 2022)
An extensive, multi-year renovation of the entire museum includes a new learning center, ground-floor restaurant and a third-floor terrace with views of the National Mall and U.S. Capitol. In October, eight revamped galleries opened, including two with themes new to the museum. The collection, including the Wright Flyer, Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit and the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, are in new, inspiring settings. Of the 1,240 artifacts on display, 55 percent of them have never been on display in the museum before. By the end of year, 23 exhibitions will be completely reimagined, with new presentation spaces and attractions.
The design process has begun for a Jeff Bezos-funded addition that will add a 50,000-square-foot learning center to the museum. The center will replace the restaurant space on the east terrace of the museum at 600 Independence Avenue SW. Demolition work will begin this spring, with construction starting in 2024. The Bezos Center will house programs and activities related to innovation and careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. It will include a ground-floor restaurant, second-floor space for programs, and a third-floor terrace (with space for 100-150 people) with views of the National Mall and U.S. Capitol. The Smithsonian is also looking into an outdoor astronomy park on the eastern edge of the site.
Molina Family Latino Gallery of the National Museum of the American Latino (Opened June 2022)
The Molina Family Latino Gallery is the first physical presence of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino and the Institution’s first gallery dedicated to Latino contributions to the United States. The 4,500-square-foot gallery opened in the National Museum of American History in June 2022. The gallery will offer temporary exhibitions and educational programs over the course of 10 years, making it an integral part of the American Latino Museum. Exhibitions in the Molina Family Latino Gallery will present bilingual stories for multigenerational and cross-cultural audiences featuring multimedia, physical objects and first-person voices. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, ¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States, introduces visitors to critical concepts, moments and biographies that shine a light on the historical and cultural legacy of U.S. Latinos.
National World War I Memorial (2024)
The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission finished construction on a dedicated U.S. WWI Memorial. The memorial commemorates the 100th anniversary of the war’s end and honors its 4.7 million servicemen and women. Years in the making, the centerpiece of the National World War I Memorial is a bronze sculpture entitled A Soldier’s Journey by Sabin Howard. When complete, Howard’s immense frieze will tell the story of an American reluctantly answering the call to war. Across five scenes and 38 larger-than-life-size human figures, it will be nearly 60 feet long and 10 feet high. Located in Pershing Park in front of the Willard InterContinental Hotel, the memorial’s massive sculpture will be the highest free-standing bronze sculpture in the Western hemisphere and is expected to be installed in 2024.
U.S. Park Police Horse Stables and Education Center (Opening spring 2023)
The Trust for the National Mall, along with the National Park Service, is creating a state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable horse stable for the U.S. Park Police Horse Mounted Patrol Unit. Located near the Lincoln Memorial, the project includes 14 new stalls for the horses, a medical paddock, covered shelters, a heated wash ad tack room and an office building with meeting space. A new visitor and education center will welcome the public to meet the horses and learn about their history on the National Mall. The project will also create new pathways to connect the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial directly to the National Mall.
Folger Shakespeare Theater (Opening 2023)
The Folger’s 1932 building is undergoing a major renovation to expand public space, improve accessibility and enhance the experience for visitors. The renovation project will add a 12,000-square-foot public pavilion under the Folger’s front lawn with fully accessible entry plazas for all visitors on both the east- and west-facing sides of the building. The landscaped entry plazas will connect with open gardens on either side of the building. When it reopens to the public, there will be permanent and temporary exhibitions available year-round in two large exhibition halls featuring works from the Folger collection. One will be focused on Shakespeare and the other—the Stuart and Mimi Rose Rare Book and Manuscript Exhibition Hall—on other works and items representative of the early modern world. The Great Hall will transform from an exhibition space to a public gathering place. A new Education Laboratory will provide a flexible space for hands-on demonstrations and interactive workshops. Visitor amenities will include café services in the Great Hall and an expanded gift shop.
Dulles Metrorail Project – Silver Line
Recently the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that 88% of domestic flights from Dulles International Airport departed on time in November 2022. The national rate is 81%. Dulles International has the best on-time performance out of 28 cities across the U.S. The 11.4-mile extension of Metro’s Silver Line opened to passengers in November connecting Dulles to downtown DC. Washington Metro riders now have access to six new stations stretching between Fairfax and Loudoun counties: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn. The Silver line is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. MWAA has also recently approved a plan for a $675 million concourse at Dulles. Construction begins in 2023 with an anticipated completion by 2026. The 400,000 square-foot, 14-gate concourse will include new retail and dining options, more seating, airline lounges and other amenities. It also improves the backend operations for servicing planes and moving baggage. Officials hope to build it to the eco-friendly LEED Silver standard.
Union Station Expansion Project
Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Union Station Redevelopment Corp. have joined efforts to expand and modernize Union Station, the landmark transit hub and Amtrak’s second busiest location. The $10 billion project as currently envisioned includes a new east-west train hall and new passenger concourse. The project area is spread across 53 acres and includes the station building, as well as infrastructure such as a parking garage, rail terminal, bus facility, railroad infrastructure and the H Street Bridge. The environmental review and approval process for the expansion is expected to be done by November 2023. Construction is expected to take from 11 to 14 years.
Connected DMV Hydrogen Hub
The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (the DMV) are in the early stages of a major energy transition. Fueled by climate change, technical and process innovation, and a population committed to responsibly stewarding our natural resources, the result will be a healthy and prosperous environment for all who live and work in the region. The DMV can demonstrate strong regional and national leadership in meeting climate goals and objectives by delivering the next generation of the energy ecosystem. The plan will create economic growth and establish thousands of high-quality jobs and safer environments throughout the region, including for the most distressed communities. Deploying hydrogen in the DMV region can abate almost 1.5% of regional carbon emissions in less than a decade, the equivalent of taking 700,000 cars off the road, with greater gains from 2030 and beyond (Source: hydrogengreenprint.org)
The Navy hopes to build a massive new museum along M Street SE to replace a smaller one inside the gates of the Washington Navy Yard as part of a land swap that would set the stage for a larger private development of its campus close to the 11th Street Bridge. The museum hopes to break ground in 2025 to culminate with its 250th anniversary. Development is slated to cost around $475 million.
National Geographic Society – Base Camp
The global science organization recently broke ground on extensive renovations to its headquarters campus near Scott Circle. The $250-million rehabilitation will modernize the three-building block that serves as a headquarters, museum and event space. The future of "Base Camp," as it calls the campus, will tell the story of National Geographic and be an inviting destination for visitors and residents alike. Renovations will include a 23,500-square-foot entry pavilion and plaza that would give the three buildings a more cohesive identity and allow for more outdoor presentations and gatherings, plus an attraction for the museum's users. There will also be a new educational center and interactive displays and media. Green efforts include using recycled materials from the existing buildings, solar panels that provide 25 percent of the campus power and a "gray water" HVAC system that will lessen its environmental impact. National Geographic built its original headquarters, Hubbard Hall, at 16th and M streets in 1904, followed by a 10-story addition around 1963 and a large M Street building in 1984.