As The Wharf gets ready to open, Ward 7 residents seek new development in their neighborhood

- One of the largest developments in Washington D.C. is having its grand opening on Thursday. The Wharf along the Southwest Waterfront is made up of fancy restaurants, expensive condominiums and a state-of-the-art concert venue. As one part of D.C. celebrates the new development, another wants in on the action too.

The rush is on and the big day is almost here. The Wharf is planning a big celebration as this massive project filled with great places to eat and world-class entertainment finally gets going. Millions of dollars were invested to transform this part of the District.

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But just a few miles away from The Wharf in Ward 7, the Skyland Town Center was supposed to be the site where Walmart was planning to build a store. However, they later pulled out of the project. The store was going to be an anchor for the project, but it has since slowed down in an area that is in desperate need of development.

“I don't know the reason behind why they backed out, but that was very disappointing to the people that live out here,” said D.C. resident Ronald Richardson. “It would have created a lot of jobs. Unemployment is very high on this end over here.”

The Skyland Town Center project is still moving forward, but residents said development on the east side of the city needs help. There are not enough grocery stores, and sit-down restaurants are few and far between.

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The sales and property tax income generated at places like The Wharf will likely benefit other parts of the city.

“Bring some of that business over here,” Richardson said. “Bring some of that development over here. We are the forgotten people.”

D.C. Councilmember and former mayor Vincent Gray's office said when Walmart pulled out of Skyland, it did slow down the project. However, it is still moving ahead, and there is still a search underway for a major tenant to fill the space vacated by Walmart.

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