History

Western Development Corporation (WDC) is a Washington D.C.-based real estate development and management organization with a forty-four year history of innovative mixed-use development. Founded in 1967 by Herbert S. Miller, WDC focuses on mixed-use and retail projects and has consistently found value in non-traditional solutions based on thorough research and unique market insight.

Over the years, WDC has secured over $3 billion in funding and developed over 20 million square feet of retail, commercial, and residential space. Our track record of success has helped reinforce the attraction of the urban lifestyle in the nation’s capital. In both our urban and suburban projects, Western has succeeded in creating opportunity on difficult sites and in transforming that opportunity into reality and profitability through creative public/private relationships.

Initially focusing on the metropolitan Washington area, WDC developed and redeveloped six major office buildings from 1967 to 1985. As these developments proceeded, the company began its long-term interest in value-oriented retail, developing twenty open-air neighborhood and community centers in eleven states. Western’s most notable retail achievement was Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, where WDC’s development enabled this property to become the region’s premier retail venue.

These twin interests in urban redevelopment and retail projects combine in WDC’s mixed-use flagship projects: Market Square, Georgetown Park, and Washington Harbour. Each presented unique site development challenges and required innovative collaborations between WDC and agencies of both the local and national governments. These projects have helped WDC develop a deep understanding of the development process in general and in the District of Columbia specifically.

With the opening of Potomac Mills in 1985, WDC inaugurated the “Mills Concept” of value-oriented super-regional malls. Bringing together quality goods at low prices everyday in a super regional mall format of 1.3 to 1.7 million square feet each, proved extremely successful and revolutionized the efficiency of American retailing. WDC then developed Franklin Mills in Philadelphia; Gurnee Mills in the Chicago/Milwaukee Metroplex and Sawgrass Mills in South Florida. WDC oversaw the listing of The Mills Corporation on the New York Stock Exchange in 1994, with an initial enterprise value of $1.3 billion.

The WDC Team’s ability to direct and manage the development, design, leasing, financing, construction and management of large-scale and complex projects is best illustrated by the examples below.

WDC’s four leading mixed-use projects have each redefined in some way their communities and acted as catalysts for improved living in each neighborhood. In each, WDC has acted as developer — designing, constructing and financing each project.

Georgetown Park is an award-winning two-phased retail, residential, and office project located on a 2.36-acre tract of land at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, N.W., in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. The 450,000 square feet project consists of two buildings that straddle the C&O Canal National Park and are connected by landscaped pedestrian walkways and trestle bridges, creating an integrated shopping and residential complex. It is the City’s largest enclosed shopping complex.

Washington Harbour replaced a concrete plant on the Potomac waterfront with residential, office, retail, and dining, and in the process created one of the best urban experiences in the region. What appears to be a serene waterside plaza is only the external appearance of a complex set of hold-down piles, cofferdams, storm barriers, and floodgates required to create the riverside experience. The award-winning mixed-use project comprises a total of more than 6,000,000 square feet. Washington Harbour is the only commercial development in the City on the Potomac River and as such is a critical piece of urban life in Washington D.C.

Market Square occupies the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, directly opposite the Archives Building. The 700,000 square feet development is comprised of two mixed-use buildings flanking the Eighth Street pedestrian plaza and partially surrounding the Navy Memorial and fountains, creating the leading mixed-use development on Pennsylvania Avenue. Immediately north of the site is the busy F Street retail district, and to the east is the Seventh Street Arts Corridor.

Gallery Place, located at the heart of downtown Washington, DC, anchors downtown’s 7.5 million square feet retail, entertainment and cultural destinations. Opening in 2004, it consists of over 220,000 sf of premier office space, 250,000 sf of retail, 192 elegant condominiums and 690 parking spaces. Gallery Place immediately became the most important mixed-use and retail location in downtown Washington, DC. Tenants include City Sports, Urban Outfitters, Regal Theaters (14 screens), Benetton, and Clyde’s Restaurant Group. It has been designed and developed to compliment and anchor this revitalized part of downtown. Within just a few blocks residents and businesses of Gallery Place can enjoy more than 350 restaurants and 28 hotels; a new modern Convention Center expected to host more than 3 million visitors per year; and over 420 fascinating museums, historic landmarks and art galleries.