Capitol Crossing is an ambitious project with 6.8 acres and 2.2 million-square-feet of mixed-use development soaring over Interstate 395. But with that ambition came recklessness as the developer requested to shut down two-thirds of a mile stretch of I-395 between New York Avenue NW and D Street NW for 15 to 18 months without consulting members of Congress. Many Federal officials didn't find out about the plan until news outlets broke the story. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said, "We didn't even get a letter from DDOT and Federal Highway even though they have been exchanging information among themselves for some time now."
While the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the project on March 26, 2012 with a finding of no significant impact (FONSI), the recent request to close I-395 would require a FONSI re-evaluation and potentially an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which could take up to 36 months. The developers will also need a comprehensive study of the potential traffic impact from DDOT. The reason why the developer wants to close the stretch of highway, which carries almost 100,000 vehicles a day, is to speed up the process to constructing Capitol Crossing. With the necessary re-evaluations, though, this could render such a closing useless.
The $1.5 billion project involves the construction of a 247,000-square-foot platform that will be built over a recessed portion of I-395 with the expectation that the development will generate $30 million in property taxes. The development will also reconnect F and G streets between Second and Third streets. The air rights for the development were bought in 2012 for $120 million. According to Capitol Crossing's official website, "This is the largest continuous undeveloped site remaining in Downtown Washington." At this point, Norton has not requested, but demanded a consultation with members of Congress before the FHWA can approve the closure of I-395.
· Developer Won't Be Allowed To Shut Down Portion Of I-395 In D.C., At Least Not Yet [WAMU]
· Study needed to decide on request to close part of I-395 in D.C., federal officials say [The Washington Post]
· Developer wants to shut down critical stretch of I-395 in D.C. to speed up project [Washington Business Journal]
· Eleanor Holmes Norton Slams Proposal to Shut Portion of I-395 [HN]
· Capitol Crossing Will In Fact Be Built Over A Highway [Curbed DC]
· To Shut Down or Not to Shut Down [Curbed DC]
· Eataly [Curbed DC]
· Capitol Crossing [Official Site]