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The Past's Frontiers FRANKLIN SQUARE IS A FRONTIER no more: it's development history.
The Washington Convention Center is no longer an oasis in an urban wasteland, but a magnet for new ventures.
The West End, once a problem because of intense hotel development, has disproved the naysayers' talk of overbuilding. Occupancy rates in the area's three new luxury hotels, and Westin, the Grand, and the Park Hyatt, have been rising, and a high-level official of the Kaempfer organization (which built the Grand hotel), says happily, "At inauguration time, it didn't matter if you were a power broker or the pope: you still couldn't get a room. Twenty-fourth Street was one big line of black limos."
But among the frontiers of yesteryear, Franklin Square stands out as the most successful and most innovative. Urban planners and developers speak of it as a model that other cities and communities can use.
The fact that Franklin Square was a joint effort began a new chapter in Washington real estate's history. Developers usually have 11-story egos and try to ignore their competitors, but the conditions surrounding the Franklin Square project forced them to work together, and they even enjoyed it. …