WASHINGTON - The District of Columbia is asking developers to submit ideas for a mixed-use project on the Hill East Waterfront site, which is likely to carry a multi-million dollar price tag and be partially financed by bonds, officials said yesterday.

Mayor Adrian Fenty said at a press conference that the district is seeking "requests for expressions of interest" in the project, which is a portion of the larger, $10 billion Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, a 20-year plan designed to transform land along the Anacostia River in a manner similar to Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Sean Madigan, spokesman for the office of the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said it is too soon for the district to be able to provide cost estimates or to know exactly how much of the project will be financed with bonds. Officials expect the development of the project to span 10 years.

The project includes the former D.C. General Hospital site and 50 acres of land in the Southeast part of the district, which officials want to turn into a mixed-use waterfront neighborhood with retail and affordable housing.

Neil Albert, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development office, is heading the city's effort to seek ideas from developers for the Hill East Waterfront site.

The request for expressions of interest is different from a request for proposals in that it is more "open ended" and comes before officials have established specific requirements for the project, according to Madigan.

"We say, show us your ideas, your vision for the site, in essence, give us your resume," he said. "Show us your financial capabilities."

The district is asking developers to submit their ideas by Aug. 1. After that, Madigan said, officials can either begin working with a developer whose vision they like, or take the ideas and issue a request for proposals specifying what they want the project to include.

This is the last portion of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, which will also include a $2.5 billion, 110-acre Poplar Point project and a $1.1 billion southwest waterfront project. Madigan said in February that the Poplar Point project will include bonds as well, but talks are still ongoing over how to finance that project.

Officials in January said the $1.1 billion cost of the southwest waterfront project is expected to include a total $200 million of tax increment financing and bonds backed by payments in lieu of taxes. District officials could not be reached to confirm the total is the same now.


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