There seems to be substance dribbling out of the McMillan water treatment plant these days, not all of it good. Last month, the District-selected development team tasked with transforming the 25-acre, deteriorating facility into more than 2 million square feet of new mixed-use development presented a fresh round of designs to the local community. New details disclosed at the December 23rd meeting include the possibility of a restaurant corridor and amphitheater at the corner of North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue – new conceptual renderings of the latter are available via the Washington City Paper’s Housing Complex blog.
McMillan was designated as a historic landmark in 1991 and, as such, will be subject to review by the District’s Historic Preservation Review Board as the $500 million project moves beyond the planning stages. The immediate result of this is that that the development team – which includes Vision McMillan, EYA, Jair Lynch Development and architects the Lessard Group – will retain as many of the 107-year-old site’s architectural flourishes as possible, including the distinctive concrete towers that abut the reservoir. Current plans call for those to be joined by 1,170 residential units (with a roughly 50/50 ratio of rental apartments to condos), 684,000 square feet of office space, 110,000 square feet of retail and 63-room boutique hotel rooms, with construction starting as early as next year.
The prospect of such large scale development also seems to have caused some nausea in the community. Just last month, local resident Paul Kirk started up a “No Drilling at McMillan” blog that protests the perceived downsides of the redevelopment – including a presumed rise in the crime rate and traffic, in addition to infrastructural critiques such as a lack of “usable park space.” With four years to go until the ribbon cutting, there should still be enough time for everyone to get a word in edgewise.