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Capitol Riverfront draws permanent fans

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Photo - New development is under way in the Navy Yard area close to Nationals Park. Another 1,000 new housing units are expected to open in the next two years.
New development is under way in the Navy Yard area close to Nationals Park. Another 1,000 new housing units are expected to open in the next two years.
Local,DC,Liz Farmer

Once a stale, industrial quarter of the District, the Capitol Riverfront has been transformed over the last decade, drawing nearly 4,000 residents in its revival.

And more are expected to move here in the years to come, making it a place where residents live, work and play.

"The next two to three years will be pivotal in our neighborhood's history," said Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, or CR BID. "You're seeing some fundamental pieces coming in the neighborhood."

According to BID, 1,000 units of new housing are slated to open in the next two years, in addition to a new grocery store and health club. At the same time, nine restaurants are expected to open and give the streets some legitimate nightlife in addition to Justin's Cafe, the neighborhood's only existing bar.

Bar owner Justin Ross said more retail can only help the neighborhood and won't hurt his booming business -- especially if the Washington Nationals continue their attendance surge.

"If there's 40,000 people in that stadium, there could be 20 bars in this neighborhood and they'd all be packed and there will still be some left over," he said.

The area was recently identified by the real estate tracking firm Delta Associates as the hottest rental neighborhood in the District, with rents rising more than 10 percent over the last year.

Developers are taking notice. According to Stevens, the developer of a proposed office building at M Street and New Jersey Avenue is considering making it primarily residential.

"It speaks to the strength of the demand," Stevens said.

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

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