In many ways, the rest of the waterfront redevelopment project is depending on the success of the theater's expansion, according to this piece from The Wall Street Journal.
"On a recent visit, welcome-back signs adorned several nearby buildings.
It is impossible to think of the Arena Stage without taking all this into consideration. And that is what local urban planners and developers have done in counting on the $135 million expansion of the Arena Stage to be the catalyst for an ambitious, approximately $2 billion makeover of the Southwest waterfront and surrounding blocks now trying to get under way.
The Arena Stage, renamed the Mead Center for American Theater, looks ready for the job. It makes a bold first impression rearing up with the energy of a breaking iceberg at an empty intersection surrounded by a halo of leafy oak trees and parking lots. The walloping curve of the roof, with its knife-sharp edge gesturing toward the Washington Monument on the far side of Interstate 395, appears more like a sun hat than a roof. Mr. Thom calls it an umbrella because it spreads protectively over the two Weese buildings."