Remembering the Old Convention Center Site Development Project
2003 -2011

From the first announcement in 2003 when D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced that a group of developers led by Hines Interests L.P. has won the right to build a retail and residential complex on the site of the former Washington Convention Center to the 2011 grounds breaking ceremony, the new convention center was a formidable project aimed to enhance the civic, cultural and economic opportunities of our city and create a vital, all-encompassing community center. The was the official website for the Old Convention Center Site Development project.
Content is from the site's 2011 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

The new owners of this domain wanted to keep as much of the original content as possible for historical purposes since this was an impressive project.

The current website for CityCenterDC is found at


Located at the heart of Washington, DC's northwest quadrant, CityCenterDC will represent the best our city has to offer. It will become a central destination for shopping, offering a unique blend of local and national retailers.

Retail emphasis will focus on a broad range of distinctive restaurants and cafes, grocery/market foods, entertainment and performance venues, fashion and specialty retail, and neighborhood services. Thirty percent of retail space will be devoted to merchants with six or fewer stores in the United States.



2020: When I visited Washington DC on a business trip in the fall of 2019. who would have imagined what would befall the entire world in the the next 12 months. During my time in the capital of the US, I spent several days with my sister who happened to live in t lovely 2 bedroom apartment at CityCenter. Let me first say this development is really impressive from the huge convention center to the hotel with its third floor lounge, bar, restaurants, two outdoor terraces, two ballrooms, a long with multiple meeting and conference rooms, the two towers of modern luxury residences, and all the shops, events, restaurants and even a park. I could have spent my entire week within just CityCenterDC since all the amenities are within easy walking distance even though it covers more than five city blocks. Of course I didn't. I spent several none business days with my sister who took me on a "private" tour of the monuments etc that Washington DC is renown for.

I had planned to return to Washington DC in August 2020 for another convention. Well, that did not happen. As it turned out I was in a complete lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic in Melbourne Australia where I live. We have just emerged from that 111 day lockdown. Melbourne's five million residents saw an end to the strict stay-home orders that put an entire city into a type of protective custody. It was controversial, calamitous for jobs and crushingly hard for many, but Australian health specialists believe it has worked. With the very low case numbers that are now being reported I am cautiously optimism that the worst is over. I was fortunate that I could carry on at home with my work. My sister and I spent a lot of time Face timing, checking in to see that we each were ok. I cringe when I see the horrible Fall surge that is now occurring in the US. My sister assures me that she, unlike it seems many folks, is wearing a mask whenever she is outside her apartment and is social distancing from friends. They sometimes meet outside if the weather is good, but no inside dining or gathering indoors socially. We are all eagerly waiting for the distribution of a vaccine. 

For my entertainment during our shutdown, I depended upon mobile pokies at my favorite online casinos. I found the best pokies at where they update their listings every Thursday. When all the clubs and pubs shut down, Aussie punters really freaked out. Listening to my friends you would have thought it was the end of the world. Shops, cafes, salons, restaurants, bars and places of worship are now opening back up, but I think I am going to continue to play pokies online for awhile. The city plans to continue shedding restrictions in the coming weeks, but I am still a bit concerned that we might see a surge, if people disregard wearing masks and social distancing. Despite key factors working in Melbourne’s favor, including closed borders, an infection count that was tiny by international standards, and a state government with strong public backing, it still took twice as long as anticipated to crush the curve. I worry about my sister in the US. Hopefully in another year we will be able to see each other in person without social distancing and wearing masks.


2003 - 2011

April 11, 2011
Qatar’s $700 million investment in Hines/Archstone’s CityCenterDC project is the first U.S. investment for the real estate unit of the Qatari Investment Authority and plants the tiny Persian Gulf nation’s maroon-and-white flag on an entire block in the center of D.C.
April 4, 2011
During the groundbreaking Monday for CityCenterDC, the mega project that promises to transform the east end of downtown Washington, D.C. Councilman Jack Evans joked about meeting years ago with Bill Alsup of Houston-based Hines Interests LP, former Councilwoman Charlene Drew Jarvis, George Washington and Pierre L'Enfant.
April 4, 2011
A $700 million investment by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will jumpstart Hines/Archstone’s long-planned CityCenter project, the developer said Monday.
March 23, 2011
CityCenterDC, a project nearly a decade in the making that promises to transform the east end of downtown Washington, will break ground April 4, a D.C. official said Tuesday.
February 25, 2011
Just a few decades ago, the idea of creating a “living downtown” in Washington seemed improbable. Many in the city wanted the core to remain a 9-to-5 office zone without residents or night life. Only after a new zoning law narrowly passed in the 1980s — and ensured a critical mass of downtown housing — did pioneering projects begin to sprout.
October 21, 2010
Construction is slated to begin in April on six new buildings and a public plaza on the site of the District's former convention center, a project that city officials say could cost $950 million and be one of the largest active developments on the East Coast.
May 19, 2008
The District will lease the final parcel at the old convention center site to developers Hines and Archstone, which plan to build an upscale 400-room hotel and 100,000 square feet of additional retail space.
May 13, 2008
Hines-Archstone announced plans yesterday to build a luxury hotel and high-end retail on prime downtown property where former mayor Anthony A. Williams had proposed constructing a new central public library.
December 18, 2007
Deal Reached For Mixed-Use Development at Site of Old Convention Center
December 18, 2007
D.C. officials yesterday announced an $850 million plan to redevelop the old Washington Convention Center site...
December 17, 2007
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty announced Monday the financial details of an agreement with Hines and Archstone-Smith for an $850 million development of the old convention center site.
November 5, 2007
Though plans are well under way for most of the redevelopment at the Old Convention Center site, there remains a 53,700-square-foot question: What will the city do with its parcel facing New York Avenue NW, the site once suggested as a future home for the city's central library?
September 4, 2007
The redevelopment of one of the most valuable urban parcels in the country, D.C.'s Old Convention Center site, has slowed as the designs for a half dozen buildings to be clustered on the site idle in the District's development pipeline.
May 2, 2007
Crowded around a miniature wooden model of what will be a soaring complex on the site of the old convention center, developers, architects and others at a recent meeting expressed enthusiasm for the plans.
April 6, 2007
Representatives of the development team for D.C.'s old convention center site said they planned to submit the schematic design, which outlines the design and heights of the proposed buildings, to city officials in the first week of April.
November 27, 2006
With Master Plan Approval, Design Begins
May 5, 2006
Their mixed-use concept lays out nine buildings, housing 300,000 to 400,000 square feet of office space, about 770 apartments and condominiums, at least 275,000 square feet of retail and potentially a $180 million library...
November 6, 2003
Massive Renewal Expected Downtown. D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) plans to announce today that a group of developers led by Hines Interests L.P. has won the right to build a retail and residential complex on the site of the former...




November 6, 2003 | By Neil Irwin and Yolanda Woodlee | Washington Post Staff Writers

Massive Renewal Expected Downtown

Thursday, November 6, 2003; Page B01

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) plans to announce today that a group of developers led by Hines Interests L.P. has won the right to build a retail and residential complex on the site of the former Washington Convention Center, people familiar with the decision said.

The mayor's announcement, scheduled for this morning, would end a fierce contest between some of the country's biggest developers to build a $700 million project that the mayor envisions becoming a vibrant social center of downtown Washington.

"This site is one of the most important on the East Coast," said D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2). "Now that we're about to have a developer picked, it's time to get going on this."

Sources familiar with the decision said last night that the mayor picked Houston-based Hines over a group led by Forest City Enterprises of Cleveland. The Hines group includes Charles E. Smith Residential, part of a Colorado-based firm that is the largest owner of apartment buildings in the Washington area, and several smaller companies. Its architect is Foster and Partners, a British firm that designed the new German parliament building.

The sources said the mayor chose Hines because of its track record in building architecturally significant projects; the group's apparent understanding of the city's goals for the site; and the team's strong participation by small and minority-owned businesses.

Moreover, the mayor and his advisers considered the Hines group's financial arrangement more favorable to the city than Forest City's.

The competition between potential developers did not include a set price for the land, to the consternation of some critics of the mayor.

But the teams were asked to propose a mathematical approach to valuing the 10.3-acre parcel once more detailed plans for the site are complete and final decisions on what will be built have been made. That valuation would determine how much money is eventually paid to the city.

The mayor's advisers favored Hines's approach because it would, in their view, give the city a greater financial payoff if the project is financially successful and less risk if the project does poorly.

A spokesman for the city's economic development office declined to comment on the expected decision, as did Hines Senior Vice President William B. Alsup III. The D.C. Council would have to vote on the development agreement.

The District requested proposals from development teams in May 2002. Seven groups submitted plans in December, and two finalists were chosen. City officials visited projects built by the finalists and conducted repeated interviews with the development groups.The Forest City team included several members with close ties to the mayor, prompting some council members to express concern that the mayor's team would favor it. Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington, did not immediately return phone calls on the expected decision last night.

A third firm, New York-based Related Cos., was eliminated from consideration last summer and has sued the city, claiming it was ruled out unfairly.

The Williams administration has made clear it wants about 300,000 square feet of retail space on the site, as many as 900 apartments and a large public square. But questions remain about what else will be built -- even with the selection of a developer.

Williams is considering proposals to build a public library or a large music museum and auditoriums on the site, in addition to the retail and residential space.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company



Massive Real Estate Project Breaking Ground in Downtown D.C.

By Tim Persinko | Published Apr 4, 2011 |

Developers of a massive real estate project in the heart of D.C.'s downtown will break ground on Monday, in a project bankrolled by a Middle Eastern real estate company.

Ten acres just northeast of Metro Center is slated to be transformed into a mixed use commercial and residential city-within-a-city.  The CityCenter DC project has been billed as one of the biggest urban real-estate developments on the East Coast.  Hines/Archstone, the project's developers, say in the first phase, they'll be putting in 520,000 square feet of office space, 185,000 square feet of retail space, and nearly 700 new apartments and condominiums.  A hotel, more retail, and more office space would follow later, according to the proposed plan.

The site, located between New York Avenue, H Street, Ninth, and 11 Street in the Northwest, had until been very recently been a big parking lot.  Boltbus and Metrobus had used a portion of the lot as an operating hub.  Before that, the space had been the location of the former Washington Convention Center.

Funding to kick-start the project has come from a Middle Eastern investment company, Quatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co.  The group just pushed in $700 million, Washington Business Journal reported, and will be providing all of the project's equity.

Free office space in the nation's capital is on the rise, with ten percent now vacant, according to a recent report by C.B. Richard Ellis.



Qatar fund starts CityCenter project with $700M investment

By Sarah Krouse Apr 4, 2011 |

A $700 million investment by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will jumpstart Hines/Archstone’s long-planned CityCenter project, the developer said Monday.

The massive mixed-use project, scheduled to break ground Monday afternoon, will rise on 10 acres between New York Avenue and H, Ninth and 11th streets NW.

The investor, Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, is the real estate investment branch of the State of Qatar's Qatari Investment Authority. The group will provide all of the equity for the project.

CityCenter will include 1.2 million square feet of office space, 335,000 square feet of retail space, about 674 residential units, a 350- to 400-room hotel, and 1,570 underground parking spaces.

The development team, which includes a partnership between Hines Interests Limited Partnership and Archstone, D.C.’s Bundy Development Corp., Neighborhood Development Co., Jarvis Company LLC, Triden Development Group and The Mayhood Co. of McLean, announced plans to break ground speculatively, or without a lead tenant, in October.

In early 2010, law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates signed a nonexclusive letter of intent to lease 350,000 square feet in two buildings at the project, but the firm ultimately chose to stay at its current offices.

Financing was arranged by Qatar-based Barwa Bank’s investment subsidiary The First Investor.

The development team was first awarded the project in 2003 by former Mayor Anthony Williams. Mayor Adrian Fenty inherited the project and billed it as a top priority, but the economy soured and the project stalled and for years served as a public parking lot, a temporary home to the Washington Kastles, stations for Bolt and Megabus services and a training site for the Trapeze School of New York.

The project will be built by Clark/Smoot, a joint venture of Bethesda-based Clark Construction Group LLC and D.C.-based Sherman R. Smoot Co.


Live. Work. Shop. Celebrate. Learn.

Imagine a place of superior architectural quality, filled with functionality and flair - a world-class destination where culture, business and lifestyles converge.

Imagine this place is here, in DC.

CityCenterDC will activate the block bounded by 9th, H and 11th Streets and New York Avenue, and bring new life to downtown's East End. It will draw upon the rich, diverse fabric of the surrounding neighborhoods and represent the special qualities that make our city unique.

The rebirth of CityCenterDC as a thoughtfully planned urban development signals a dynamic future for our city, a transformation that balances both beauty and function. It will enhance the civic, cultural and economic opportunities of our city and create a vital, all-encompassing community center where we all can live, work, shop, celebrate, and learn.



Hines|Archstone recognizes the importance of community involvement in the design and planning process of a project of this magnitude. We take seriously our commitment to consider input from the community in formulating its master plan, designing and constructing the project and, finally, during ongoing operations of the development. Hines|Archstone has developed a Community Involvement Plan based on the following objectives:

  • To provide complete and understandable information to the community at all stages of the design process as well as during the construction and operational phases of the development.
  • To take a proactive approach to soliciting ideas/concerns from the community at the earliest possible stage so its input can truly be incorporated into the master plan process and subsequent phases.
  • To create a common vision for the development, taking into account divergent interests of both the public and private sectors, by using a proactive approach that involves various community groups in a meaningful exchange early in the master plan process.

The key components of our Community Involvement Plan include: outreach to community groups and stakeholders; formation of an advisory committee; implementation of apprenticeship and internship programs and support of community events.




The developers who have been selected to see the redevelopment of this important site to completion include a carefully assembled and accomplished team of local, national and international firms. They stand united in the belief that the new development must echo the voices of the District's residents and reflect the unique character of Washington DC.

The team's combined professional experience features an unparalleled record of achievements in architecture, landmark development, city planning, urban design, and management of residential, retail, and recreational properties throughout the world.

CityCenterDC Consists of Three Phases.

Construction anticipated to begin: Second Quarter 2011

The project will include the following:

Phase I

  • Retail: 185,000 sf
  • Office: 520,000 sf
  • Housing - Rental: 458 units (20% affordable)
  • Housing - For Sale: 216 units (20% affordable)
  • Parking: 1,555 spaces
  • NW Park (11th and New York Avenue): 29,000 sf
  • Central Plaza: 20,000 sf

Phase II

  • Hotel: 350 to 400 Rooms
  • Retail: 110,000 sf

Phase III

  • Office: 500,000 sf
  • Retail: 40,000 sf

*All numbers and measurements are current estimates and are subject to refinement.


First Source Employment Agreement Program

The First Source Employment Agreement program ensures that DC residents receive priority for new jobs created by development projects.

Hines|Archstone is a participant of this program ensuring that:

  • All job openings created are listed with the Department of Employment Services
  • District residents are given priority for newly created on-site jobs


CityCenter ‘last piece of the puzzle’ for downtown D.C.

By Michael Neibauer – Reporter | Published Apr 4, 2011 |

During the groundbreaking Monday for CityCenterDC, the mega project that promises to transform the east end of downtown Washington, D.C. Councilman Jack Evans joked about meeting years ago with Bill Alsup of Houston-based Hines Interests LP, former Councilwoman Charlene Drew Jarvis, George Washington and Pierre L'Enfant.

Because it's been that long since CityCenter, a 10-acre project on the former site of the old convention center, was first floated. Then-Mayor Anthony Williams awarded development rights to Hines and Archstone in 2003.

But for Alsup, the Hines senior vice president who is widely credited for seeing the effort through to its groundbreaking, there was never any doubt.

"We knew it would happen because of the quality of the site and the quality of the real estate market in D.C.," Alsup said. "It was a matter of timing."

With financing now in place — $700 million for phase one from Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. — it was finally time to celebrate. Under a decked-out tent on the CityCenter site, Mayor Vincent Gray called CityCenter "one of the most important projects … in the history of the District of Columbia."

(The development team touts CityCenter as the "largest downtown development currently underway in any U.S. city." The 104-story One World Trade Center in Manhattan, with its 3 million square feet of office space and 500,000 square feet of retail, easily tops it. But never mind that.)

Used to be, Gray said, "that downtown was downtown and home was somewhere else." CityCenter, he said, is a relatively new concept for D.C., where downtown is a place to work, shop, play and live.

"This is the last piece of the puzzle for downtown Washington," the mayor told a packed house of development, political and neighborhood bigwigs.

Work actually started March 23 on the 4.5-block parcel bounded by New York Avenue, Ninth, H and 11th streets NW. The first phase of the project, scheduled for completion in late 2013, is expected to include 185,000 square feet of retail, 458 rental apartments, 216 condominium units, 520,000 square feet of office and 1,555 parking spaces. A 350-room hotel and another 110,000 square feet of retail are planned for a second phase.

"This project is a perfect fit," said Mohammed Al Saad, vice chairman and managing director of Barwa Bank, whose investment banking subsidiary, The First Investor, put the financing in place. "It is the global neighborhood, the exciting neighborhood that we want to build in D.C."

Alsup ran down the expected benefits of CityCenter.

  • $30 million in annual property and sales tax revenue at build-out.
  • 3,700 permanent jobs.
  • 92 affordable residential units.
  • $9.2 million payment to the District's Housing Production Trust Fund.
  • $200 million in contracts to 95 separate small D.C. businesses.

The CityCenter development team also includes D.C.’s Bundy Development Corp., Neighborhood Development Co. and Triden Development Group and The Mayhood Co. of McLean.