Donatelli/Blue Skye's proposal for Hill East
Donatelli/Blue Skye's proposal for Hill East

The stuttering progress on the development of the 67-acre Anacostia Riverfront site known as Hill East that has frustrated neighbors for a decade has finally yielded a winning developer—-if only for a small portion of the site.

After a number of retractions and reissuances, the latest city solicitation for developers of two Metro-adjacent parcels on the site drew just one response by the January 2013 deadline, from a development team of Blue Skye Development and Donatelli Development. Now, after months of deliberation, the city has given the thumbs up to the team’s proposal.

The project manager for Hill East at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Ketan Gada, announced at a hearing of the D.C. Council Committee on Economic Development today that DMPED had officially selected Donatelli and Blue Skye yesterday.

That means a chance to exhale for neighbors who have been frustrated by the lack of development at the site—-but only a brief one. Disappointment remains that only one developer responded, and that no plans have been made for the development of the remainder of the site.

“The idea of having only one response over a Metro station is really hard to believe,” the committee’s chairwoman, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser, said at the hearing.

“We encourage Mayor Gray and DMPED to take steps immediately to prepare for development of the remainder of the site,” said local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Brian Flahaven, who attributed the slow progress to a “lack of political will.” In particular, he called on the city to close the supposedly temporary D.C. General homeless shelter on the site, labeling it “an embarrassment to the city.”

Rendering from Donatelli Development