Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hill East - Another Day, Another Waterfront Initiative


A Request for Expressions of Interest was officially issued today by the District of Columbia to attract a master developer for "Hill East," 50 acres of real estate on the former D.C. General Hospital site and Anacostia River. Hill East is one of three major redevelopment sites that make up the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, a 20 year plan to turn the Anacostia River into a thriving residential, commercial and retail center, not to mention place of recreation for D.C. residents. At a press conference this morning at the Stadium-Armory Metro Station, Mayor Adrian Fenty said developers are invited to submit proposals through August. A three month review period will follow, and the selected developer will be announced at the end of the year with major District-developer planning starting in early 2009.
Fenty stated that “The RFEI process is underway and we look forward to announcing a developer whose plan complements what is already here on site and takes advantage of the opportunities of the river. We want the development to serve as a gateway between Capitol Hill and the Waterfront so people can walk down to the Anacostia River, which is hard to do now." As if you would want to.

The Hill East site, which is two and a half times bigger than the development at the old convention center, is intended to be a low-impact, LEED certified mixed-use development. The project will include residential, retail, and office components and will extend Massachusetts Avenue and other streets within the site to tie the new neighborhood into the existing community; including, apparently, the correctional facility, which will remain on site. Councilmember Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, said the District envisions some sort of “health plex”, which could range from doctors’ offices to a specialized treatment facility, but that the decision is a long way off.
According to the RFEI, the development could result in “up to 3,000 new housing units, over 2 million square feet of office and institutional uses, new primary care medical facilities, and over 100,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.”

“It will be a truly mixed-use project,” said Deputy Mayor Neil Albert. “There is a great need for affordable housing in the District. There is a need for a health-plex, and because there are two metro stops [DCmud is still trying to locate the 2nd one], it will be good for office space, maybe some offices that are being forced out of the downtown area because of increasing lease prices,” he said.

“The more we bring to the waterfront, the more time people will want to spend there. We already have a bike path underway. We need to embrace the river as a community asset,” said Wells. Both Wells and Fenty pointed out the need to reduce the pollution in the river and to work with Maryland, the state through which the majority of the river runs. They both said part of the project’s goal is to make the river suitable for canoing and even swimming (cringe).
“It has been a dumping ground for too long. People say ‘who would want to live by the river?’ but what is possible here is a new neighborhood – the Anacostia River as an amenity,” Wells said.

The site is bounded by 19th street, Independence Avenue, the Anacostia River, and the Historic Congressional Cemetery. The entire site is 67 acres, but development will take place on only 50 of those. The land, known as Reservation 13, is technically owned by the General Service Administration, but was given to the District under the 2006 Federal and District of Columbia Government Real Property Act of 2006, a “Transfer Act”. As DCmud reported in April of last year, 12 acres of the property were to be given back to the Federal government for a congressional mail facility. According to Fenty, the District is now looking for an alternative site for this facility and it will not be part of the Hill East development.
For those worried (or happy) about losing their Anacostia River views, maximum building heights for the west portion of the site will be a towering four stories, the central portion, a skyscraping seven stories, and the eastern portion will rise to a stratospheric 10 stories. That's sarcasm, in case you missed it.

7 comments:

Justin on May 14, 2008, 3:46:00 PM said...

The Potomac Ave. Station is about 5 blocks away.. which is a hike but if you're on the orange line already its easier than transfering...

Justin on May 14, 2008, 4:10:00 PM said...

Or not.... since they're both on the orange line (hey, I haven't been on the orange line in a year ok?)... But since it's 5 blocks away, I guess they figure they get the right to list it as an option...

KK said...

This is nice however all the traffic is questionable, Id much rather have a hospital but that doesnt isnt going to happen is it.

DG-rad on May 14, 2008, 11:37:00 PM said...

Poplar Point is larger than Hill East

DG-rad on May 14, 2008, 11:42:00 PM said...

this is only 5 mil SF on 60 acres, Poplar Point is about 6.3 mil SF on 110 acres

Sarah on May 15, 2008, 10:07:00 AM said...

We were summarizing Fenty's words at the event, Poplar Point will clearly be a larger site, but most of it will be park land. Hill East will witness greater construction. My apologies for not being more clear.

Anonymous said...

There are two Metro lines (Blue and Orange) at the Stadium / Armory station, which also has a north and south entrance several blocks apart.

 

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