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Mayor Bowser and Events DC Break Ground on Streetscape Project at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Thursday, December 12, 2019
Project will Reenergize the Exterior of the Convention Center in Shaw

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser was joined by Events DC, the District’s convention and sports authority, to break ground on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center streetscape project. The streetscape project will feature lighting, art, new retail kiosks, digital signage, planters and furnishings to reactivate the exterior of the Convention Center and Shaw neighborhood.

“It’s now been more than fifteen years since our community worked together to build this world-class convention center. Since then, we have worked hard to attract businesses and amenities that can be enjoyed by both residents in the neighborhood as well as the millions of visitors who come to our city from around the world every year,” said Mayor Bowser. “With the support of Events DC, this project is going to bring in more of what our residents, visitors, and businesses like – jobs, opportunity, and places to enjoy DC.”

The groundbreaking marks the beginning of the Convention Center enhancement project that will transform the exterior of the 2.3 million square-foot building. This project is just another step forward that reinforces the Shaw neighborhood as a convention and entertainment district, full of new retail and restaurants and an Apple flagship store, located at Mt. Vernon Square.

“As the convention and sports authority for DC, it is critical for us to make strategic investments in our venues to differentiate our facilities and city from competitors across the globe – and the Convention Center streetscape project is a prime example of this. We are creating an experience for our customers and residents that is more than a building—we are creating a vibrant space with retail, world-class art, lighting and public space that is connected with and a part of the Shaw community.” said Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Events DC. “Over the past several years, we have worked closely with the community and our clients on the planning of the streetscape project, to ensure it would help serve our neighbors and customers’ needs. And importantly, position our building and our city for years to come.”

The final design for the comprehensive streetscape project will include public art featuring signature pieces and local artists, improvements to the building’s façade, street furniture and an improved retail storefront presence, all of which will incorporate a design emphasis of enhanced lighting and a more pedestrian-friendly experience.

“More than just a meeting facility, over time, we have created a convention and entertainment district outside of the walls of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with local restaurants, retail and diverse businesses. When visitors go to other cities, they want to experience authenticity and through this project and much more, we want to provide that DC experience to our visitors,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “As the convention and sports authority for the District, it remains our top priority to make strategic investments for the betterment of our city and residents – as well as to be forward-thinking and through this project we strive to continue to do just that.”

Alongside Events DC, OMA is the design architect on the project with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners (BBB) as the architect of record, responsible for the construction drawings. Rand* construction is the construction management team, accountable for the planning, installation and construction of the project.

Phase 1 of the project will be completed by the end of 2020 and will include the following:

  • 3 New Retail Kiosks on the 9th street side of South building
  • 4 new retail kiosks on 9th street side of Middle building
  • Rooftop Terrace – approx. 3,477 sq. ft. along the North building
  • Increased paving, planting and seating around the perimeter of the Convention Center
  • Heightened sitewide lighting – entrance pylons, rooftop, perimeter-scape and M street tunnel

A phase two of the project will include better wayfare signage, public art installations and working with WMATA on a new Metro entrance. These streetscape improvements are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The estimated total cost for the streetscape project is $41M. Last spring (2019), Events DC completed an interior redesign of the Convention Center grand lobby and all public spaces throughout the Center to be inclusive of more flexible seating, interactive kiosks and communal spaces.

Renderings of the streetscape project can be downloaded here.