CHRS Supports Hunt Development Group as Master Developer for the Hill East Waterfront
by Beth Purcell
The DC government requested expressions of interest from development teams for Reservation 13/Hill East Waterfront. Four teams responded; three teams offered specific plans. In spring 2009, a master developer will be selected.
CHRS believes that HDG Waterfront Development Group team (HDG) should be selected as master developer. HDG demonstrates that it truly understands and respects Capitol Hill’s community, buildings, and traditions. This is reflected in its repeating the traditional Capitol Hill commercial streetscape (with three and four story buildings) and rowhouses, then transitioning to taller buildings at the river’s edge. The lower density build-out (3,040,675 square feet) contributes to the effect of truly continuing the Capitol Hill streetscape and is a key factor in HDG’s favor. In contrast, two other competing developers want to build approximately five million square feet of new space.
Further, two members of HDG, Abdo Development and EYA Development, have already demonstrated that they can work successfully with the community to produce excellent projects.
No other team has both the vision and successful track record in this community. As mentioned, HDG’s plan is a continuation of Capitol Hill, with many three and four story buildings. For example, C Street, SE, offers traditional three and four story commercial buildings of the type found on Capitol Hill, with a village square park in the middle of the street, similar to Lincoln Park.
HDG’s plan has multiple features designed to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. HDG notes that the Anacostia River area is home to many species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish “in greatest conservation need,” as identified in the Wildlife Action Plan prepared by the DC Department of the Environment, Fish and Wildlife Division (DDOE). The Anacostia River is the “highest priority habitat”, according to DDOE. HDG plans to preserve the existing wooded edge of the river. This will help to avoid fragmentation of habitat, one of the biggest threats to wildlife. (See DC Wildlife Action Plan pp. 6-17, 36, 85, left side of this page or www.ddoe.dc.gov.) HDG also plans to acquire additional land offsite (equal to 50% of the development footprint), to be used to protect habitat. HDG plans to achieve 45% tree coverage by 2030 and to plant native trees, grasses, and flowers.
HDG plans to offer dedicated garden space for each household. The Hill East neighborhood has several community gardens currently, and all of them have waiting lists. For this reason, additional garden space would be very welcome and beneficial.
Two of the developers on HDG’s team have a good track record on Capitol Hill. During its Bryan School project, EYA listened to community input at numerous meetings, and responded by making many of the design changes that the community wanted. The Bryan School townhouses are an example of new townhouses that really fit in with and complement the surrounding older rowhouses.
Abdo has done excellent work on the Bryan School and the Children’s Museum. Abdo voluntarily saved three unprotected older buildings on the Children’s Museum site, and successfully integrated these buildings into the project. We believe that this further illustrates Abdo’s respect for the Capitol Hill community’s character and its buildings. We believe that Abdo can be entrusted with renovating Anne Archbold Hall, a historic building on Reservation 13.
For more information on all four teams’ proposals, see www.hilleastwaterfrontdc.com.
November 3, 2008--PRESS RELEASE
District Receives Four Proposals for Hill East Waterfront
(Washington, DC) – The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on Monday announced four development teams submitted proposals to redevelop the District’s 50-acre Hill East Waterfront into a $1.5 billion mix of housing, retail, office and parkland.
“Hill East Waterfront is one of the last major urban waterfront development opportunities in the District,” said Neil O. Albert, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “So it was no surprise to see some of the most accomplished development companies in the region and the country eager to compete for this site.”
The four respondents are:
The District issued the development solicitation in May. It was based on the Hill East Master Plan that was approved by the DC Council in 2002. The site can accommodate up to 5 million square feet of residential, commercial and mixed-use buildings including new primary care health facilities and neighborhood-serving retail. Hill East Waterfront offers an opportunity to become a model for sustainable urban development.
Given the scale and complexity of the project, the District expects the redevelopment timeline will likely span at least 10 years. Hill East is one of three major redevelopment sites that comprise the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative – a 20 year plan to reconnect the District’s residents and neighborhoods to the Anacostia River. Taken together with the Southwest Waterfront project and the redevelopment of Poplar Point, the three projects represent more than 12 million square feet of development potential.
The District could select a development partner for the site
by early next year.
by Beth Purcell
Reservation 13 (the DC General campus) is a 67-acre parcel bounded by Nineteenth Street and Independence Avenue, SE. In 2002, the City Council approved a Hill East Waterfront Master Plan for Reservation 13. In the future, ownership of Reservation 13 is expected to pass from the US Government to the District, pursuant to Public Law 109-396.
The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” (RFEI) for development of Reservation 13. Multiple developers and architects attended a pre-proposal conference in June 2008. Responses are due October 31, 2008. The RFEI provides insights into the city’s plans.
Existing drug treatment and STD clinics to remain on Reservation 13
Currently, the District has moved the various building inspectors from the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs into portions of the old DC General Hospital. It is not known if this will remain a permanent addition to Reservation 13. Other existing uses of Reservation 13 include Women’s Services (methadone clinic); separate clinics for STD, HIV, TB, and detox treatment; the Office of the DC Medical Examiner; mental health clinics; and various homeless shelters and a new medical clinic to treat the homeless.
According to the RFEI, existing DC government uses (except the DC Jail) are to be phased out by 2012. However, the city plans to relocate and consolidate most of these existing uses in a new public building on Parcel L (fronting on the south side of Massachusetts Avenue, SE, extended). The proposed zoning will permit all types of DC government uses, including drug treatment clinics. This new public building would place these clinics on Massachusetts Avenue extended, where many had hoped that there would be retail and residential development.
The original master plan for Reservation 13 envisioned 800 housing units. The city now proposes 3,000 “housing units,” possibly including “individual and family housing; intern and/or student housing, a mix of townhouses, apartments, condominiums, redevelopment of Anne Archbold Hall and live/work spaces.” At least 15% of rental and ownership must be for households earning up to 30% of Area Median Income, and 15% for households earning up to 60% of Area Median Income.
Delays in demolishing buildings on Reservation 13
All buildings except Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) (Karrick Hall) and Anne Archbold Hall are to be demolished. Karrick Hall, the 10-story building visible from Nineteenth Street, SE, is a 120-bed residential drug treatment facility operated by CSOSA. The main wing of Anne Archbold Hall was constructed in 1932, and served as the Nurses’ Residence for nurses training at the old Gallinger Hospital. It is a brick and limestone Colonial Revival building, and was designated as a historic landmark in 2006.
The DC government has repeatedly promised to demolish certain buildings on Reservation 13, including Buildings 9, 10, 25, and the north wing of Anne Archbold Hall (built in 1945). As recently as February 2008, a representative from the Deputy Mayor’s office assured the community that all necessary demolition preparation (including asbestos remediation) had been completed for Building 25 and the north wing of Anne Archbold Hall, that there was funding for demolition in place, and that the demolition would occur in fiscal year 2008. Instead, according to the RFEI, DC government will not demolish any buildings on Reservation 13. Demolition work will be left for developers.
Building 9 was partially remodeled in 2007 for use as a 144-bed men’s homeless shelter/hypothermia unit. Building 9 is again being remodeled to include 100 individual housing units for homeless women.
Building 25, a red brick building near the DC Jail and Congressional Cemetery, has been vacant for several years. In 2001, DC Department of Corrections (DOC) planned to use Building 25 as a 250-bed pretrial detention and halfway house. At a public meeting in 2001, called by Councilmember Ambrose at Watkins School, hundreds of community members protested the halfway house. The approximately $14 million needed for the project was stripped from DOC’s budget, and the halfway house never opened. But Building 25 is south of Massachusetts Avenue extended, and according to the Master Plan, can be used for correctional purposes. Many view Building 25 as a threat to the community and want it demolished as soon as possible. Building 25 is apparently being evaluated for other uses. Alternatively, it may be demolished to make way for a new DC Jail building. See www.hilleastwaterfrontdc.com for RFEI.
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HillEast Waterfront/ Reservation 13 Links
Hill East Waterfront Developer's Proposals
Files below are PDFs from the Dec. 11, 2008 meeting
DC Wildlife Action Plan