WASHINGTON - A $2 billion redevelopment at D.C.'s Southwest Waterfront has erupted into lawsuits and eviction notices between the developers and one of the Maine Avenue Fish Market's long-time tenants. While customers welcome what's to come, there's some concern about what might be lost.
For those looking to buy seafood in D.C., the Maine Avenue Fish Market has been the place to go for decades. To Pete Hill, who works at Jessie Taylor Seafood, it's not just a fish market. It's a gathering place.
"The Wharf is D.C.," he said. "Crabs, fish, everything--it's D.C.!"
But you don't have to look hard to see the rising cranes of a new $2 billion redevelopment called The Wharf.
"Whether there's construction or not, people are still going to come here-- no ifs, ands or buts," Hill said.
But some longtime customers have concerns over the future of the market. Concerns only grew after Captain White's Seafood got an eviction notice, and in a statement they say after 40 years, "…redevelopment is trying to take it all away and throw us out onto the street. It isn't right."
But the developers of the new project will tell you something very different. They say not only is the fish market going to stay, but when they're done with it, it will be better than ever.
Julie Chase, spokesperson for The Wharf, says the eviction notice involved a lease dispute with only one tenant. Plans for the new fish market, she adds, will improve what's already here.
"We're not going to do anything massive," Chase said. "They're on barges. That's very authentic and that's part of the grit and authenticity that we're keeping."
Meanwhile, Hill says he isn't worried--for now--that they'll get an eviction notice, too.
"We gotta go with the flow, take the good with the bad, you know?" said Hill.
The Wharf is expected to open in 2017.