Style Weekly reports on the friction between private developers and the city. While this discussion continues the destruction of a historic part of the canal is for the most part being swept under the carpet.
Love the concept, says Richard Souter, executive vice president of the WVS Cos., which is leading the development of the Locks. The problem is the city’s timing, he says.
“Even though we have this great plan,” Souter says, “it’s been extremely frustrating watching this progress.” The city has long planned to spruce up that section of the Canal Walk, and improvement money to make it happen became available in July. The request for construction bids didn’t go out until last month. Bids are due Nov. 27 and work may begin by the end of the year. This means jackhammers probably will be pounding in the spring, just when the Locks’ first tenants have moved in and Casa del Barco, its flagship Mexican restaurant, begins to offer patio dining.
“It’s this black hole,” Souter says. “Nobody has a real time frame.” If the city had a plan and the money, he asks, why didn’t it make the Canal Walk a priority — instead of focusing on the Redskins training camp? “There’s real economic development potential here,” he says. “Very real. Long-term. Residents and businesses. This really should not take that long.”