Hill East Task Force Recap: Latest on Reservation 13 Development

Around 25-30 residents attended last night’s ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting at St. Coletta of Greater Washington. The main topic of discussion was the status of the Request for Expressions of Interest for Parcels F1 & G1 on Reservation 13. Ketan Gada from the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development’s (DMPED) office provided the task force with an update on the RFEI and answered a number of great questions. Here are the highlights:

  • Gada outlined key aspects of the RFEI – the response deadline (Jan. 7, 2013), response requirements and DMPED’s timeline. He noted that the RFEI requires developers to submit two proposals – one that complies with the full affordable housing requirements on the site (30 percent) and an alternative proposal with the number of affordable housing units the development team feels can be supported on the site without government subsidy (minimum of 13 percent). DMPED’s handout (pdf) and my Oct. 22 post provide additional details on the RFEI.
  • DMPED plans to review all proposals received on Jan. 7, eliminate any non-responsive proposals from consideration and ask development teams to present their plans to ANC 6B and ANC 7F in February. After receiving ANC and community feedback, DMPED will either select a winning development team or narrow the list and ask finalists to submit Best and Final Offers. DMPED’s goal is to select a development team by spring 2013.
  • Gada said that DMPED anticipates receiving 3-5 proposals from development teams. When evaluating proposals, DMPED will consider past experience with the development team, compliance with applicable laws, community feedback, green building requirements and any requests for government subsidy. Not surprisingly, DMPED prefers development proposals that do not seek District subsidy or funds.
  • The District is offering Parcels F1 & G1 “as is,” which means that the winning development team will be responsible for infrastructure requirements, including partial street extensions of Massachusetts Ave. SE, Burke Street SE, C Street SE and the full build out of the “Village Square” around the Stadium-Armory Metro plaza. Gada said the street extensions would be public streets and that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) does not have funding to complete full extensions of the street at this time. I expect the District will have to fund some of the  Massachusetts Avenue SE extension since it would be the main point of access to the DC Jail.
  • Besides funding, Gada said the National Park Service’s ownership of the Anacostia waterfront land may also prevent construction of the full Mass Ave. extension in the near future. The “Monument Circle” envisioned as the termination point of Mass Ave would actually be located on NPS land, and NPS has been unwilling to sell or lease the land to DC. Monument Circle is the only portion of NPS land that is “touched” in the master plan – the rest would continue to be green space. However, DDOT has proposed constructing “Park Drive,” a roadway that would connect Independence Ave, the newly constructed Monument Circle and a newly reconstructed Barney Circle. This proposed roadway is a really bad idea, particularly since it would block Reservation 13 and the neighborhood from the waterfront.  In any event, NPS still needs to be convinced that leasing or selling the their waterfront land to DC is a good idea.
  • The task force and attendees raised concerns about the piecemeal nature of the development and whether DMPED or anyone in DC Government would provide appropriate oversight to ensure that the full vision of the master plan is realized. Gada said that compliance with master plan is required in the RFEI and that development teams would have to comply with the form-based zoning and design guidelines approved for the site. Ultimately, the ANC and the surrounding neighborhood will have to play an active role in ensuring that DC government, DMPED and the development teams are following the master plan.
  • Once construction at F1 & G1 is underway, Gada said that DMPED plans to issue RFEIs for parcels along the proposed Mass Ave. extension and then move north towards Independence Avenue. Of course, further RFEIs would be contingent on DC government relocating a number of the shelters, services and clinics currently operating at DC General. Gada said that DMPED is talking with the Department of General Services and other relevant agencies about relocating their services. Gada could not provide a definitive timeline for future RFEIs.
  • When asked about the status of the deteriorating Anne Archbold Hall, the only building on the site that is a historic landmark, Gada said that the Department of General Services recently sent out an inspection team to determine what needs to be done to stabilize the building and prevent further damage. DGS plans to use available funding to repair the building’s roof and replace damaged windows.

Please post your comments, questions or anything I missed below.

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6 Responses to Hill East Task Force Recap: Latest on Reservation 13 Development

  1. Colleen Garibaldi says:

    Brian, thank you for the meeting, the recap and all the work on behalf of the community. I’d like to suggest that, in addition to encouraging NPS to negotiate with the city on the land required to complete Monument Circle, we take a look at NPS’s track record on local public space to consider whether NPS or the city would make the best steward of the green space connecting Hill East and the waterfront. I don’t have the answer, but suspect that NPS may be a good partner to have for that key portion and would love to have a broader discussion about that when the time comes.

    Thanks again! Colleen Garibaldi

  2. Jim Myers says:

    Is there even the slightest hint about what developers would like to build there — or what city planners hope they’ll want to build? What kind of businesses will this “Village Square” attract? Will it be something like carrryouts to replace for the food truck and tents that park near the DC General bus stop? Will the real projected clientele be workers from city agencies — the jail and the various clinics? Or the daily transient population on Res. 13, including the homeless, the methadone clients, the clients of clinics or those coming to and from their TV visits with jailed friends and relatives? Where might the desires of Hilleast residents for attractive businesses fit into this mix?

    Then, too, what kind of residences will be built — market value? Or will the mix including group homes or residences aimed at stabilizing the lives of the homeless families? Do we have any idea about any of these things? Then, suddenly, there is this talk of having 50-foot high buildings on 19th Street. Does that fit into existing zoning for Res. 13? Back at the time when form-based codes were actually discussed, it seemed the plan was to put lower buildings along 19th Street and higher buildings as you go down the grade to the eastern end of Res. 13. Was 50-foot the height planned for 19th Street all along?

    It seems that the recent meetings do not answer any of the real questions that Hilleast residents might have. Nor will residents and represenentative of ANC 7F have the past history of involvement with Res. 13 to ask such questions, although I have to assume their intentions are honorable. It is, indeed, an odd situation: It appears that the nearest residents of ANC 7F to the site of this proposed mini-development on 19th Street SE actually live more than a mile away. And that’s the NEAREST residents in 7F. Yet 7F has the real standing in these matters. What an unusual world we live in here!

    Jim Myers

  3. Hill Buzz says:

    [...] Commissioner Brian Flahaven shared an update on Reservation 13 development [...]

  4. [...] provided a brief report on the Hill East Task Force’s November 26 meeting on Reservation 13 development. Bidding development teams will likely present their development [...]

  5. Cindy G says:

    Thank you, Mr. Myers, for your comments and questions. I was thinking along the same lines, although I don’t have a history re Res 13.

  6. [...] The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s office has announced a deadline extension for responses to the Hill East Development/Reservation 13 RFEI. Responses to the RFEI for Parcels F1 & G1 are now due by noon on Thursday, January 17 (the original deadline was January 7). You can read more about the RFEI in my Nov. 26 Hill East Task Force meeting recap. [...]

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