Developers See an Ally in Bowser
There's arguably no class of people more divisive in D.C. than developers. While some residents support the growth of their neighborhoods, a more vocal contingent objects to the added density caused by new projects, the noise and nuisance of construction, and especially the sweetheart deals the critics see the city giving to leading development firms. And they frequently vow to give their elected leaders the boot and replace them with people less likely to be under the sway of developers.
Yet if the attendance at Muriel Bowser's election party last night was any indication, we're not about to see any backlash against developers in a Bowser administration.
Stan Voudrie of the development company Four Points was among the early arrivals at the party. Vicki Davis, the president of Urban Atlantic, followed. Chris Donatelli, the president of Donatelli Development, was in the front row as the returns came in, decked out in Bowser green.
There's reason for all of these developers to back Bowser. One of Four Points' big early projects in D.C., The Hampshires, is located in Bowser's home Ward 4. Donatelli has been active in Petworth, also in Bowser's ward. Urban Atlantic was chosen last year to be a partner in the redevelopment of Walter Reed, the Ward 4 mega-project that's long been a priority of Bowser's.
But Bowser was already a favorite of developers before the mayoral campaign began. According to a tabulation by WAMU a year ago, Bowser had received $131,626 in donations from developers who had gotten city subsidies in her time on the D.C. Council—more than any other current member of the Council had received in the past decade.
"I think that she's pro-developer," Donatelli said at the party. "She's always been pro-developer. She sees the benefits of development, but she also appreciates balance in development."
Photo by Aaron Wiener